For some reason I’ve been on a cookbook craze lately. While I am always reading one cookbook or another, I have actually been trying some of the recipes during the past few weeks. It’s surprising that there so many bad recipes out there in cookbook land. There is one I am going through now that I actually wrote to the editor with discrepancies within the particular cookbook, once in the measurements and another with the photos. I am not saying what the title of the book is because there are some really good recipes in there as well and I wouldn’t want to give it a bum rap, but it was annoying to make a recipe based on the picture to have it turn out to be something completely different.
Meanwhile.. have I mentioned that I received a new digital scale during the holidays? I’ve wanted one for some time for baking bread and now realize how much I love it for everything!
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t whip up almost any recipe without one, but it is true that every cup of flour measures (or I should say weighs) differently. A cup (by volume) of flour is almost 1/2 oz less if it’s sifted versus scooped. Variations in flour weight can effect the outcome so the end result is never the same. If you want consistency, invest in a small digital scale and you will never look back. You will be surprised at how inaccurate measuring cups can be. Keep in mind that it tends to be difficult to weigh small amounts on some scales which is why under 2 Tbsp it is usually given by volume. Anyway, that’s my latest thing…
Back to cookbooks. This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, which is a visually stunning book with some really nice ideas in it. This is the first recipe I’ve made out of it so I can’t comment on the actual content yet, but we’ll see over the next 2 weeks how many I can get through. I did make some changes in the recipes which I will put next to the original recipe. Overall, this was a good cupcake but it didn’t taste very much like chai, which is why I made some revisions to it. See for yourself.
CHAI TEA CUPCAKES
Warm over a stove and let steep together for 15 minutes:
3/4 C milk (6 oz) Milk
2 bags black tea (I used 2 bags of Chai)
Let cool completely
1 C (4 1/2 oz, 250 ml) all-purpose flour
1 C (4 1/2 oz, 250 ml) cake flour (not self rising)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 Tbsp butter (2 oz) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 C (6 oz, 187 ml) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
Pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Line the muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together both flours,baking powder, salt, pepper and spices.
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each one is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. If using a mixer, turn down to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the tea-infused milk, beating until just combined after each. At this point I also added 1/4 C sour cream to give it a tiny bit more richness, but that is completely optional.
Divide the batter among the lined cups, filling each one 3/4 of the way up. I got 16 cupcakes out of mine.Bake, rotating the tins halfway through, until they are a pale golden, about 20 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
1/2 C (4 oz, 115 gl) unsalted butter, room temp
8 oz (250 g) cream cheese, room temp (You could also use mascarpone cheese if you have any on hand)
1/4 C (2 oz) honey
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 c (4 oz) finely chopped crystallized ginger
Blend the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the honey, mix again, then the ginger. This can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.