cupcake extravaganza [with sucanat!]

mission: vanilla cupcakes + white russian butter cream frosting for the 2 Chris’ birthday part-ay!

I know it’s a long one…get over it and just read! ;) I promise you’ll learn something!

I feel like I am decent at baking.  Cupcakes and cakes are always the hardest though.  Making sure it rises correctly and not letting it overcook are my main concerns. I set out to find the best sounding vanilla cupcake recipe I could.  I settled on this one but already knew I was going to  make some substitutions.  This may not be the best idea for the first time trying a recipe, but that is pretty much what I seem to always do! =)

Right off the bat, it says to use a stand mixer.  Well, mine is all packed up, but I convinced myself it was no big deal.  I haven’t played with sucanat too much yet, with more technical baking like this, and I definitely wanted to see how it compared to sugar.  One thing I read was that sucanat will soak up more liquid than other sugars so you might need to add a little more liquid when using it.  Someone out there, please define “a little” for me.  [so.vague.]

The recipe calls for 2c. sugar and 1c. of whole milk.  I used 2c. of sucanat and decided for this recipe “a little more liquid” would be 3T. [kind of a random amount, but whatever] I thought this recipe was a bit odd, because normally you cream the butter + sugar together and then go on with the rest of the recipe.  I thought, maybe this other technique is what sets these cupcakes apart.  I followed the recipe for everything else. 

Here is batter #1 – The sucanat definitely gave it a darker color. The raw batter [yes, there were raw eggs in it..whatever..I ate it and it was delicious!!] was maaaaybe the most amazing thing I have ever tasted! It had soooo much flavor.  The vanilla was there, but it definitely had caramel + maple flavors in there too. [From the sucanat of course…mmmmm]


The recipe said it was going to make appx. 30 cupcakes filling up each cup 2/3 the way with batter.  WRONG. I would think appx. would mean between 28-32.  This made 25 and they were a tad on the small size.  I would have liked them a little bigger to get a better puff on the top!

So, I had to make batter #2.  I cut the recipe in half and wanted to use pure cane sugar instead of sucanat to see how the final result would compare. 

The batter was definitely lighter in color. Pure cane sugar is not quite has stark white as white sugar.  I definitely recommend using this if you don’t want to try sucanat in your baking/cooking.  The batter was again reallly yummy, but I preferred the deeper flavor the sucanat left.


The pure cane sugar batter and the 25th cupcake from the sucanat batter.


So here is how they looked.  The left most cupcake, was the 25th cupcake made from the sucanat batter.  For some strange reason it rose the most!  I filled the cup the same amount, so I’m not sure how this happened.  I was thinking it might have been because that batter had been sitting out for 30-45min and maybe the baking powder was more activated?? 

Obviously there is a color difference.  The sugar cane cupcakes got filled with a little more batter because I didn’t like the small size of the one on the right.

I had 1 of the sucanat vanilla cupcakes with no frosting.  So did the husband [Chris] and our friend Eric.  It held its deeper caramel/maple flavor and was reallllly good.  I baked them for 18min.  It was buttery and moist and had a great consistency.


The finished cupcakes all frosted and pretty and ready for the partaaay! 


Close-up!! Instead of buying blue sugar in the shaky container [because it’s something I rarely use] I put some cane sugar in a bowl and added a few drips of food coloring [not an ingredient I enjoy using…but oh well!]. Voila, blue sugar topping!!


Chris + Chris [my hubs on the right] Yes, they are both wearing goofy bowling shirts.  We had a bowling party and then party at a bar called Lebowski’s.  The theme of the day was The Big Lebowski [if you haven’t seen the need to]. Hence, the white russian butter cream frosting. 


At our favorite neighborhood french bakery, Amelies!! This place is amazing, convenient, not too pricey, and open 24hrs a day!! Nothing like a game of chess and some amazingly delicious samiches @ 2am.


Okay, so the consensus on the cupcakes at the party, was that everyone LOVED them.  Even got a few people hooked that aren’t usually cake eaters.  Everyone loved the frosting because it’s not super sweet like most butter creams, and the cupcake wasn’t over-frosted. 

My main problem with butter creams are that they alwaaaays call for up to EIGHT CUPS of powdered sugar.  I try to never use powdered sugar in the first place, let alone EIGHT cups of it.  I don’t use it because it is processed white sugar + even more insanely processed corn starch.  BLEGH.  I try to keep as much processed corn product out of my diet as possible.  If you want to know more on this read: The Omnivores Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. [amazing book!!!]

THEE best “impress your friends” butter cream frosting EVUR! [sans the powdered corn starch sugar!]

Recipe is enough for about 2 dozen cupcakes, [1] 9x13 cake, or [2] 8x8 cakes.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sucanat [or pure can sugar]
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk [I have used both 2% and whole milk and both have worked]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract [I added 1t vanilla and 2T Kahlua]

-Whisk milk and flour in bowl until smooth

-Add to saucepan and keep on medium heat for about 20min, stirring with a whisk, pretty constantly so it doesn’t burn [insert patience!! I swear it’s worth it!] You want the mixture to be nice and thick. The best thing I can compare the thickness to, might be pudding??

-Once nice and thick, transfer to bowl and let cool to room temp. [I sped this up in the fridge a bit]

-In large bowl cream butter + sucanat [or sugar] for about 5min [stand mixer would come in handy here!] until light and fluffy

-Add in room temp. milk/flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture.  Cream this until smooth and fluffy.  You want all of the sugar crystals to dissolve so the frosting is not crunchy.  I did this with a normal mixer and it took a good 5-8min.  [again, stand mixer, much easier!]

-Add vanilla + any other liquid add in.  If you want almond flavor you could try 1t. vanilla and 1/2t. almond. Just play until you get the flavors right. Fold this into the batter, and only add a little at a time so the batter does not get runny.  I added 1t. vanilla and 2-3T Kahlua and the better was still thick.  You could always put it in the fridge to stiffen for a few.

-Scoop into plastic ziploc or pastry bag.  If using a ziploc cut a small hole in the corner and pipe onto cupcakes!!

I promise the time is WELL worth it and your friends will think you are a baking all-star!

If you want to read more crazy cupcake stories, check out Kath’s blog, when she made cupcakes for Kelsey’s birthday [post on her party and Kath’s cupcakes]!!

Okay…I’m finally done. My apologies for the lengthiness.  This will not become a habit..I just felt like I needed to give all of the experimental information!! I know someone out there will like it =)

I would say we are 35% packed with one week to go!! Off to visit my grandparents [2hrs away] tomorrow and then to the beach for Heather’s wedding!! Action packed!





Laura said...

i read the whole thing! very interesting and entertaining! i think i might have to make these cupcakes. love the bowling shirts...did you make those? see you in A WEEK!?!?!(ish) =)

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