Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oatmeal-Raisin Cupcakes

I messed up. I knew it was going to happen, but frankly I thought it would happen with a seemingly more difficult cupcake. Apparently I've met my match with oatmeal raisin. I don't think my final product was that far off. As you can see they do still look like cupcakes.

Basically what happened was I skipped over a line in the recipe. Before you ask, yes, I did read it through once beforehand. But, once I got into the recipe I became sidetracked and missed a step. I do have an excuse, it's not great, but it's an excuse nonetheless. Long story short, in the middle of my baking a thunderstorm rolled in and I kept getting distracted having to run around the house closing windows and making sure we weren't taking on water. Oh, and the power went out once. I know it's not the best excuse but in the words of my dad... excuses are like a certain part of the body, (I'll let you guess which one) everyone has one. So what I missed is crystal clear, please note the highlighted portion from the recipe below.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Beat in sour cream. Stir in raisins by hand. Transfer 2 3/4 cups batter to another bowl, and stir in remaining 1 3/4 cups oats and the coconut; reserve for topping.

In other words I went right from beating in the vanilla to beating in the sour cream. Then I stirred in the raisins, transferred the batter and stirred in the remaining oats and coconut. While clearly I can't read it was almost like I was trying to tell myself something when it came time to transfer the batter. I was looking at the counter and contemplating what bowl to put the batter in. The Pyrex bowls I hadn't used yet weren't going to be big enough to hold the batter with the oats and coconut. I even remember thinking to myself, "Man, if only I was done with the flour mixture I could use that bowl." Hello! See, I knew something was off, my brain just didn't get me there in time.

When I got to the part of the recipe where I was supposed to fill the cupcake liners, but still had my flour mixture to put into the batter my brain finally caught up. I realized that somewhere along the line I had missed a step. I backtracked and realized what I had done. After cursing myself (I have seriously never done this before) I started thinking if there was any way to fix the problem without completely trashing the batter and starting from scratch. There wasn't. I didn't have enough ingredients on hand to make a whole new batch, and I wasn't interested in taking another trip to the store (it was still storming outside). So I carried on. I had the "topping" done minus the portion of the flour mixture that was supposed to be in it. And, I had the regular batter without any flour mixture at all. I left the topping as it was and combined the flour mixture with the rest of the regular batter knowing that it would probably be really stiff, and end up being more dry than it was supposed to be. But at this point everything had become an experiment to see if I could come up with an edible finished product.

With my 2 different types of batter I followed the recipe like I was supposed to the rest of the way. I probably used more batter than I was supposed to to fill the liners, but again, I was pretty much off the script at this point. I baked the cupcakes according to the recipe, 20 total minutes with a turn halfway through the baking time. The tops of the cupcakes were starting to get a little brown at that point, and the toothpick tester came out clean so I figured that was enough baking time. I let the cupcakes cool completely in the tins to give them as much baking time as possible.

They looked nice and full so at the very least I gave myself some style points, but the truth would be in the taste test. Truthfully, they weren't terrible and had I followed the recipe correctly they probably would have turned out pretty close to awesome. The flavor was good, the bottom portion was just a little dense and dry. Like I figured it would be since there was too much flour in that portion of the batter. The tops were pretty crumbly and probably would have held together better had they had more flour than they did. Again, something that would have happened if I knew how to read and follow directions.

I was happy that this wasn't a total loss, but to be honest when I first realized the mistake I had made I was pretty mad. Because it was such a waste of money, time and energy. Because I had done so well up to this point and because part of me thought I would get through this whole project and each cupcake would come out exactly as it was intended. Yes, I know that last part is ridiculous, but I have great expectations. I'm hoping these cupcakes will just be a minor blip on the radar and that I won't inadvertently deviate from any future recipes. At some point I may try to make them again the right way, but for now, it's full steam ahead for project cupcake.