Crumbly Blueberry Muffins

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I started my adventures in the kitchen as a baker. Mostly because I loved the product. But as I have been cooking, I’m developing a love for the process. I love the steps it takes to create a meal. Not that there aren’t steps in baking, but a good portion is hands off.

This morning I woke up in a hands off kinda mood. So I threw some dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another, combined to make a batter, and baked up 12 delicious muffins. I define hands off as less time prepping than baking, you may define it differently. Tip for baking: Get all of your supplies together before you begin, it will take 2 minutes at the start and save you 5 to 10 during.

Brian loves the Starbucks blueberry muffins with the crumbly tops so I put a little streusel topping on before baking.

1 c. + 2 tbs. white sugar

2 tsp. vegetable oil

2 c. + 1 tbs. AP flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. butter (1 stick); softened or pop it in the micro for 15 seconds

2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 c. half and half

1/4 c. skim milk

(if you have whole milk, use 1/2 c. instead of skim and half and half)

2 c. frozen wild blueberries (fresh would be amazing, also wouldn’t turn the batter purple)

Begin by preheating to 350.

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Prep the pan by using cupcake liners or spraying the pan with nonstick spray. Make the streusel by tossing together 2 tbs. sugar, 1 tbs. flour, and 2 tsp. vegetable oil. Set these things aside.

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In a small bowl (or not your largest) dump the 2 c. of flour. I like to whisk the clumps out, you don’t have to.

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Add the baking powder and salt.

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Whisk together and set aside.

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Into a bigger bowl, add 1 c. of sugar.

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And the stick of butter.

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Beat together until creamy. My mixer makes little balls, that’s fine, too.

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Beat in the eggs, one by one. Mix just until incorporated. If you mix too long you will over beat the eggs. If you don’t mix after each one you will over beat the eggs later when adding the flour trying to incorporate everything later. A good rule of thumb is to mix everything until it’s just incorporated. If you see flour or sugar later, you can always use a spatula and hand mix.

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Add the vanilla and mix.

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Then pour in the milk. This will make a very runny mixture.

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Slowly add the flour while the mixer is running. I added it in three parts. Again, if you add it all at once you will over beat the mixture trying to get everything incorporated.

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Pour in the blueberries! No need to defrost. In fact, if you defrost them they will turn your batter completely purple with their juices.

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Mix together gently, less purple the prettier!

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There is enough batter for 12 nice sized muffins. I skimped a little, leaving me with a couple small muffins and extra batter. I used heaping tablespoons to fill the cups.

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Top each with the sugar mixture from earlier.

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Bake on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. At 20 minutes, I noticed my tops were not getting crispy so I turned on my weak ass broiler and let them brown for a couple minutes. You probably won’t need to do this. Check the muffins with a cake tester, it should come out clean.

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See my raw sugar? It’s still delicious. But the ones where it caramelized were heaven!

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Cool them in the pan for a couple minutes before moving to a wire rack.

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I ate one before that last step. It was steamy. It was delicious. I ate two. 🙂

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Pumpkin Layer Cake

Personally, I think it is a little early for everyone to be so pumpkin crazed. While it is fall, I associate the pumpkin flavor with November. HOWEVER, I need to decide on the batter for my Thanksgiving pumpkin cakes. So I don’t tire myself out on pumpkin, I am spreading out my pumpkin baking sessions across the next few weeks.

So after looking through tons of recipes and the required ingredients, I finally found one that I have all most of the things required to make: Jill’s Junction Pumpkin Cake

I really hope this first cake is a winner! There are A LOT of ingredients here, the only thing I’m lacking is cardamom but I think the results will be the same. I want to jazz it up so I am going to make a layer cake with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting tying my layers together and enveloping my cake!

pumpkiecakeingredients

3 cups of cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar (I have light & dark)

3 eggs

1 can of pumpkin

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

Jill gives a really great recipe for a buttermilk syrup topping, I am going to go a cream cheese frosting route though. Recipe to follow.

Let your refrigerated ingredients come to room temp on the counter, take this time to decide how you’d like to bake your cake – bundt, round, rectangle, layered, cupcakes… After much deliberation I think I am going to make a round layer cake. Seems like a lot of work for a Tuesday night!

Preheat your oven to 350F and butter and flour your pan of choice.

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Combine cake flour, salt, powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, & ginger in a medium bowl (save the large one for your wet ingredients!). You can sift them, whisk, or use a pastry blender. If you aren’t using a sifter, I recommend a glass bowl so you can see what is going on inside!

Smells so good already and I’ve only added the spices! Go ahead and put all of those ingredients away, you won’t need them again, and set the bowl aside. Grab a big one and add the sugars and butter, with a hand held mixer blend together on medium for about three minutes (you want to smooth out all of the butter balls, nice creamy looking mixture – mine looks like peanut butter.)

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Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture one at a time, until all are incorporated. Then turn the speed from low to medium-high for a minute or two until the mixture turns light and fluffy.

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Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Then back away from the mixer, we’ve been beating those eggs a lot, and fold in the flour mixture with a spatula.

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Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in preheated oven.

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For Jill’s bundt cake she recommends 45-50 minutes. Cupcakes will take about half that. Just make sure to keep and eye on them and test them with a knife or cake tester, seeing that the tester comes out clean. Since I divided my batter into two pans, I am going to check on them in about 30 minutes.

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Beautiful! Now I am going to get started on a yummy cream cheese icing recipe from SimplyGloria. She makes this icing for snickerdoodle cookies but think it will be amazing with my cake!

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8 oz. (1 pkg) cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

3 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup whipping cream

Holy crappola. That is some yummy frosting. I threw all ingredients in a bowl and mixed with my electric mixer on low until completely combined. Wow.

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Here comes the fun part, ICING! So I waited until both of my cakes were completely cooled, at least an hour out of the pan. I hate to cut my cakes to get them to sit nicely so instead: flip one upside down on the plate, with the pan side facing up, ice the top, then place the other cake right side up on top of the first, ice the whole cake. 2013-10-15 22.13.11 2013-10-15 22.23.53

REMEMBER because this is cream cheese frosting, you need to keep the cake refrigerated! After a few hours of chilling, this baby should be ready to slice in! 🙂

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Update!! So I have now tried the cake and I have thoughts! First, very pumpkiny. Second, I definitely need a second opinion. Third, it is a tad crumbly – this quite possibly could be user error. Fourth, with some vanilla ice cream this cake would be perfected. And final, what an amazing start to my pumpkin experimenting; this cake is yummy. I worry I will have this cake for weeks IT IS SO HUGE!!! 🙂