Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Introduction, and a Cupcake (Or Dozen)


Have a look around.  I'm just starting things off here, but here are the basics: my name is Bonnie, I bake, I cook, I wear vintage clothes, and I do acrobatic pole dance.

Before I begin, I would like to note that I am just as surprised that I cook as I am that I pole dance.  Just a few years ago, I did neither and didn't intend to.  I could cook a mean macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, but that was the extent of my culinary exploits.  And I hadn't hung upside down from a metal pole since grade school monkey bars.  But now that both are in my life, I feel that it is a much better life indeed.

Why, yes, I did match the cupcake liner to my outfit.

Burlesque and cooking aren't really so different.  Both are colorful, both can be sweet or spicy, both are helped along by a nice presentation and good music.

And, when done well, both should make your mouth water.

St. Louis is the perfect place to be inspired, both by food and burlesque.  There are so many little restaurants, and so many amazing burlesque acts that keep showing up.  I'm not entirely certain this is pure coincidence, because if there's one thing I've learned about burlesque girls and boys, it's that they love good food.

So, good food is, of course, where we will begin.

First up, we have one of my new favorites, based on one of my favorite cookies.  This is the snickerdoodle cupcake, and I think I mainly love it for its sweetly simple presentation.  And for the cinnamon.  They are featured in a pin-up shoot I did with the wonderful Rebecca Lenk (see first picture, above), which is also why I picked them to be my first post.

My husband thinks they're more muffin-like because they "don't have enough frosting," but I think they are perfectly sweet without sending you running for a glass of milk.  These tend to disappear whenever friends are around, so make sure you grab one or two before you serve them.

Now, onto the recipe!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes, which is due back at the library, and which I must go out and buy my own copy.
(Makes 28 cupcakes)

3 cups all-purpose flour*
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaping tbs ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 tsp for dusting
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 c. sugar, plus 2 tbs for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
Seven Minute Frosting (recipe follows)

*Martha calls for using half all-purpose flour and half cake flour, but I've always just stuck with the all-purpose and everything's worked out fine for me.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and heaping tbs. cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.  Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding another.

Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two addition of milk, incorporating each addition before adding more.

Fill lined muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes (I always find that they're done a bit sooner, so keep an eye on them), rotating tins halfway through.  A toothpick should be able to come out clean from the middle if they are done.  Let cool fully on wire racks before removing cupcakes.

Seven Minute Frosting**
3/4 c. plus 1 tbs sugar
1/3 c. water
1 tbs light corn syrup
3 large egg whites, room temperature

*This is half of what the original recipe calls for, but that makes 8 cups of frosting, which you certainly won't need for these cupcakes.  And since this frosting doesn't keep... why bother?

Combine 3/4 c. sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Continue boiling, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 230 degrees F.

While the syrup is boiling, whisk egg whites in a mixer on medium-high until they form soft peaks.  (A good way to test for soft peaks is to dip a spoon into the egg whites and pull it out, holding the spoon straight up.  If the egg whites hold a peak that droops slightly, you're perfect.  If they don't hold a peak, keep on beating, doing the spoon test periodically.)  Add the remaining sugar and beat to combine.

As soon as the syrup is hot enough, remove from heat.  With the mixer on medium-low, pour the syrup into the egg whites in a slow, smooth stream.  Raise the speed to medium-high and whisk until the frosting is completely cool and stiff peaks form. (Testing for stiff peaks?  Again, dip in your spoon and hold it up straight.  If the peak can stand upright without drooping, you have stiff peaks.  If not, keep going!) This should take about 7 minutes, hence the name.

Immediately pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Martha recommends using a Wilton #1A tip, but any large, round tip should do.  I even used a non-round tip the last time, and liked the effect.  You want to form a large dome of frosting, topped by a perfect little peak.

Combine remaining cinnamon and sugar.  Dust on to the tops of the cupcakes with a sieve (I used my fingers).

These are best eaten shortly after frosting, while the frosting is still moist and creamy.  Since it's a slightly meringue-ish frosting, it gets dried out after a day or two.  But I still haven't had complaints.  Keep in an air-tight container, if there are any left!


  1. these look so delicious! i also love the idea of mixing baking and burlesque - two of my favorite things :) adding to my bookmarks for sure :)