My 2015 was full of blunders, both happenstance and maybe not so happenstance.
But my very last blunder of the year came in the form of something I was really excited about.
A brown sugar cupcake with bourbon buttercream.
I wanted a simple cake recipe. Nothing elaborate. Just…brown sugar cake, and I guess that was my first mistake. I should have taken the time to go elaborate.
Go big or go home.
Or in this case, go big, or risk your cupcakes imploding in on themselves.
I’m not listing the recipe, 1. because I’m not confident I have it anymore, and 2, I’m wondering if it was the recipe, or if I skipped a step, but the batter just came out too thick, and the resulting cupcakes weren’t…
They just weren’t.
I wound up making a second round, and they were better, but still sunken in and not the texture I wanted.
You know what saved these?
You know why the frosting saved these?
So you take your basic buttercream:
2 Sticks Butter
2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 TBS Vanilla Extract
1-2 splashes of Whatever Milk is in your house
Combine all at once.
And then what you do is you add bourbon. The recipe I actually looked up for reference called for 1 tbs.
For me, 1 tbs turned into 2…turned into a splash more…and then maybe one more for good measure.
A note on using booze in your cooking/baking: I know it’s tempting to get something cheap, because you’re not drinking it straight. But I’m a big believer in staying away from shitty booze no matter what you’re doing, and I think it makes for a better taste if you’re using something good to begin with.
If you’re not familiar with the alcohol you’re looking for, ask the clerk at the liquor store. They’re almost always chilled out, friendly, and helpful, and they general know a whole lot about what they sell.
(The only time I know of that shitty booze is acceptable is when you’re making beer bread, which is something I’ll go over in a different post, because in that case, the stinkier the beer the better, usually.)
I don’t have any finished product photos of these guys, because I was so frustrated with how they turned out. I made them for a New Years party, and they were gone by the end of the night, and I’m told they turned out better than I thought they did, but I still felt salty about the cake being less awesome than I wanted.
But I’m now determined to get this recipe right. So the next time I try, there will hopefully be lots more photos, with a much nicer outcome.
And if you have a bangin’ brown sugar cake recipe you’re willing to share, let me know.