After Christmas, I took a break from baking. I have not made any cupcakes since my family left.
Correction: I made chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, but I’ve made those so often that I hardly even count them any more. It would be more accurate to say that I’ve made no new cupcakes this month.
Back in November, I bought a cookbook called Cooking Season by Season. I’m really enjoying the recipes; I’ve cooked something from the book at least once a week since December started. But for the most part, I’ve only made savory dishes. I hadn’t bothered much with the desserts.
Also, until now.
Honestly, I don’t make a lot of desserts. I don’t count cupcakes, because they’re just cupcakes. I make them because I enjoy it, not because I want a dessert. In fact, I usually have one and send the rest of them off to work with Geordie. It’s not that I don’t like desserts – I do. That’s the problem. I find it’s much easier to not make desserts than it is to avoid them when they’re sitting around in the kitchen and looking so very tempting. Nowadays, I only make desserts when they come up for French Fridays or Tuesdays with Dorie. Or for very special occasions, although I try to coordinate those with the cooking assignments.
I really wanted to make cupcakes this week. I’m also making a dessert for Friday (winter’s midpoint), and I decided on a chocolate-pear tart from Cooking Season by Season, since I have plenty of pie crust in the freezer. On the opposite page was a recipe for Spiced Carrot and Orange Cake, and I thought, well, I could do cupcakes from that.
It’s a simple recipe (and, as usual, I’m not going to post it here, it’s just the way I do things). Flour, brown sugar, and spices (cinnamon and apple pie spice) are combined; eggs, canola oil, and corn syrup are also combined and then added to the dry ingredients. Three grated carrots and the zest of an orange rounded things out. Instead of the cream cheese-orange frosting that the recipe gives, I used some leftover orange buttercream frosting I had in the fridge. The cream cheese would have been lighter, yes, but I really wanted to use up that frosting.
Geordie liked this cupcake, but I felt it lacked flavor. The texture was great; it had a nice, light and airy crumb, and moist enough without being overly wet. I just didn’t get much of a carrot taste. Or cinnamon. Or apple pie spice. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t all that wonderful. I’ve made better carrot cakes.
So, not all the recipes are winners. In a book that has about 1000 recipes, there are going to be a few duds. And not all the cupcakes are going to be fantastic. There are plenty of other recipes to try, that’s for sure. Not sure what I’m planning for next week. I have a ton of butternut squash left over from this week’s French Friday recipe. Can butternut squash be made into a cupcake? Do I really want to find out?