Sunday, October 10, 2010

Barefoot Contessa Cupcakes (at high altitude)

I don't normally cook from mixes, but sometimes they're worth testing. In this case it was a Barefoot Contessa mix for chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.

There were no special instructions for high altitude, so I proceeded with the directions that were there. It was easy enough. Cream some butter with some of the mix, add two eggs, water, the rest of the mix...the usual.

The mix was supposed to make 12 cupcakes, but to me it looked like too much batter for just 12.

At high altitude, cakes tend to rise too much and they don't set well, so I figured I'd be best off if I made a few extra cupcakes. I made 14.

Fourteen wasn't enough. I should have made 16 or 18 instead. They would have been smaller, but they wouldn't have risen over the top. Oops.

Here's an up-skirt view of a cupcake:

Taste-wise they were pretty good. The texture suffered a bit from the over-rising, but it wasn't terrible. I've had a lot worse results from some scratch recipes I've made. But frankly, they were a little ugly. A nice domed top would have been more attractive, but these were flat on top with that overhang. Cutting off the overhang didn't help, since that left me with crumbs to deal with.

The frosting ingredients supplied looked like just powered sugar and peanut butter, and the recipe called for butter and heavy cream. Pretty simple. By itself, it tasted pretty sweet to me, but with the cupcakes, it was good.

Would I recommend this mix? At lower elevations, I'm sure it's fine. I guess it depends on the price, and whether a dozen cupcakes makes sense for you.

Up here, there would need to be some adjustments to get a nice-looking cupcake, and there aren't directions on the box for high altitude. There are some basic rules for adjusting baking recipes for high altitude, but even with those basic rules, it might take some experimenting to find exactly the right adjustments for this particular mix.

If you live at high altitude, it might be wiser to find a mix that has those adjustments figured out and on the box, or just make your own cupcakes from scratch with a high-altitude tested recipe.


Anonymous said...

I always have to adjust Ina's recipes for the altitude otherwise they won't work. I have learned my lesson. I am sorry to hear the cupcakes didn't come out correctly. I think you adjust a mix by adding one more egg and 1-2 more tablespoons of flour. Would you have one more mix to give it a try?

Donna Currie said...

Hi Kitchen -

I really don't do mixes a lot, so I'm not that interested in tweaking one unless there's something really different about it. This was fine, but exciting in any way.

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