May 14, 2012

Baking with Lady Shortcake: Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

This is the first post of a new baking column by Lady Shortcake. 
Every other week she'll bring you foolproof, drool-worthy recipes to try at home with ingredients you can find at your local store. It's party time, folks!
I've loved baking since I was a little girl. It’s true that many times I couldn't even reach the stage of putting the cake in the oven because my best friend and I had managed to eat the entire batter and lick the bowl clean. With age came patience, and I’m proud to say I can now even manage to restrain myself till the icing process is complete!
For the past few months, the urge to bake has had me spending hours perusing recipes online, in magazines and in cookbooks. I must admit I have a soft spot for cupcakes, pies and cakes, because of which I usually end up trying exciting variations of each. 
This week I decided to bake Cookies & Cream Cupcakes. I got inspired when I came across a packet of Oreo cookies in the kitchen cupboard - the thought of dunking them in a glass of milk (like the cute kid in the tv commercials) and devouring them was extremely tempting, but I resisted. Instead, I began looking for ways I could use the Oreos in my baking. The most appealing vehicle was a soft, crumbly, moist cupcake. I have adapted a dozen recipes to get my version of a perfect cookies and cream cupcake - I hope you try it. It's really easy and the cupcakes look like they came from some fancy bakery!
For the cream cheese frosting I first used Flander’s quark cheese, but found the frosting too runny and had to immediately pop the cupcakes in the fridge for it to set. However, the second time, I used Philadelphia cream cheese and though it’s almost four times the cost there was a distinct difference in the texture of the frosting. I suppose all the fuss many amateur bakers make about using Philadelphia might actually be valid . . . 
COOKIES & CREAM CUPCAKES
Makes 12 divine cupcakes
Ingredients for the Cupcakes
Adapted from Joan’s Food Wanderings 
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup milk 
1¾ tsp white vinegar
2 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
56g butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
12 Oreo cookies halved, keep both sides

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Annie’s Eats and the Hummingbird Bakery Book
1 cup icing sugar
125g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g butter at room temperature
1 tbsp heavy cream

Creating the Magic
CUPCAKES
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (or 350 degrees F) and line the cupcake pan with cupcake liners. 
2. In each of these place an Oreo half with the cream filling side facing up. Break the rest of the Oreo halves into small pieces and keep aside.
3. Make some buttermilk by adding 1¾ tsp of white vinegar to ½ cup milk and letting it stand till the time it is needed (minimum 5 minutes necessary).
4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and keep aside. 
5. Cream butter and ½ cup sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. This is best done with an electric beater or stand mixer, but if you’re feeling energetic and want to build some muscles, you could do it by hand. 
6. Add the vanilla essence to the butter mixture.
7. In another bowl beat the egg whites till foamy. Add the remaining sugar and continue to beat till soft peaks forms.
8. Fold ½ the dry ingredients slowly into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon until just combined. 
9. Add ½ the buttermilk to the batter followed by the other half of the dry ingredients and then the rest of the buttermilk. 
10. Stir the batter gently and only until all ingredients are well incorporated. Remember to avoid over-mixing as this will lead to dense cupcakes; a definite no-no.
11. To this batter add a part of the beaten egg whites and stir momentarily. Then add the rest of the eggs whites and stir till combined. 
12. Finally, fold the roughly broken pieces of Oreos into the batter.
13. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners till about  ¾ full. 
14. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before frosting.

FROSTING
1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on a medium-high speed until smooth. 
2. Blend in the vanilla essence followed by the icing sugar and beat till well incorporated. 
3. Add a tablespoon of heavy cream and whip the mixture till smooth, light and fluffy.
4. Frost the cooled cupcakes with the help of a frosting bag and finish with a slight sprinkling of Oreo crumbs. 
5. Try not to eat all the cupcakes at once!
I'd love to hear from you . . . how did these cupcakes turn out in your kitchen?
Happy baking!

14 comments:

  1. A dozen miss shortcakes, please!
    :)

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha I know - we need a miss shortcake around! Or a dozen.

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  2. God, these look to die-for!!

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    Replies
    1. They ARE. You should make them and see :)

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  3. These look amazing!! You should arrange for purchase and delivery of the finished product too, for those readers who are too busy salivating to even contemplate the preparation process. ;)

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    Replies
    1. That's exactly what we need now. Hmm.

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  4. Thanks Gaurav! Maybe someday soon I will ;)

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  5. I could have Miss Shortcake delishes morning noon and night!

    Gary.

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  6. Hey, this looks great. :)
    Will give these a try for sure!

    And yes, philly cream cheese makes a lot of difference.

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    Replies
    1. Let us know how they turned out for you :)

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  7. They really look deicious! Thx fr dis wondrful recipe, wil definately try them.way to go! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Divya!
      Stay tuned for more from Miss Shortcake next week :)

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  8. YUMMMMM!!!! They look amazing :)

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