Finally! The days are getting just a little shorter and the temperatures are getting just a little cooler. The air conditioner is off, the windows have been thrown wide open, the sky is a crisp, clear blue. Autumn has arrived!
There are so many reasons this is one of my most favorite times of year – yes the cooler temps, the beautiful colors, but also post-season baseball and the World Series – Let’s Go Red Sox! – the return of Patriots football (and football food!), pumpkin infused everything with cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger, comfy clothes, and most especially, getting back to baking.
Let’s face it, when it’s 95 degrees outside, the last thing you want to do is have your oven set at 350 degrees for 20 or 30 minutes or more. But now that there’s a little nip in the air, it’s perfect baking weather.
When I was little, fall meant the return to cookie baking with gusto. It seems we always had some type of homemade cookies waiting for us in the cookie jar – and oh, what a cookie jar that was! This was the 1970′s – nothing was too big or too loud. So we had a big, bright, round ceramic orange (as in color) orange (as in fruit) shaped cookie jar sitting atop the fridge. Don’t laugh, it looked absolutely fab with the avocado appliances.
I’ve loved baking for my family for as long as I can remember, and they in turn have suffered through my endeavors at self-expression and creativity stoically….although they’re still talking about the mace-spiced chocolate brownies (epic fail). But I’ve learned a lot, including that sometimes simple is best. Like my snickerdoodle cookies – a basic sugar/butter cookie with enough cinnamon thrown in to create a perfect little treat. The recipe is so easy and yet so good, who knows how many dozens I’ve pulled out of the oven over the years.
But why limit that deliciousness to just a cookie? Wouldn’t all that cinnamon- sugariness be awesome as a cupcake? I certainly thought so, and apparently so did Brown Eyed-Baker, who posted this fabulous recipe. Of course, I had to add my own special touch, so I topped it off Rumchata frosting – the perfect cinnamon-y compliment to what has to be the Best. Cupcake. Ever.
So crank up the oven, pull out those spices from the back of the cupboard and give these a try. I promise, they will become your favorite too.
from a recipe posted by Brown Eyed Baker
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
Sift together both flours , baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In large bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla. Turn the speed to low and add the flour in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.
Fill cupcake tins 3/4 full. Bake for approx. 20 minutes, or until tester comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through.
Cool completely before frosting.
from the RumChata website
1 cup unsalted butter
3 – 4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
up to 4 tablespoons RumChata
Cream butter at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix at low speed until incorporated. Add vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons RumChata and mix at high speed for 3 minutes, adding more sugar and RumChata until desired consistency is reached. Frost as desired.
I finished my cupcakes by sprinkling with a little cinnamon sugar.