Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Wacky Cupcakes #OXOgoodcookies

The Cookies for Kids' Cancer campaign sponsored by OXO is one of my favorite feel-good things every year. Bloggers who participate get a few free products from OXO, but the money goes to charity. How awesome is that?

Maybe you've heard of Wacky Cake. I have a vague memory of bringing home a copy of the recipe and making it at home, which must have been a huge event since my mom never baked anything.

The major selling point that must have convinced my mom to let me make the cake was that it didn't require eggs, a mixing bowl, or a blender. The recipe was mixed by hand and baked in the same pan.

The problem with that recipe was that it was hard to mix the ingredients evenly in a cake pan, without scraping off the butter or shortening that was greasing the pan.

I've seen a lot of wacky cake recipes since then, but I hadn't given it much thought until I ran into yet another recipe in a community cookbook. And then I thought ... hmmm ... I wonder if this would work as cupcakes.

While I was thinking, I also decided to cut the recipe in half, and I made a few other little adjustments as well. Because, what the heck. Might as well have some fun, right?

Wacky cake is normally left unfrosted - maybe just dusted with powdered sugar. But I decided the cupcakes needed frosting, so I made a simple chocolate ganache and used the cool decorating tool that OXO provided to swirl the ganache on top of the cupcakes.

So pretty! So easy! Not messy!

They also sent me a really nice 12-cup muffin pan - looks pretty with a gold-colored finish, right? And they sent silicone baking cups as well. The muffin cups are pure genius, since they have little "ears" on two sides that makes it really easy to get the cupcakes out of the pan.

Wacky Cupcakes
Adapted from Favorite Recipes from Quilters by Louise Stoltzfus

See the "ears" on the muffin cups? Really handy!
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cold water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place cupcake liners in 12 wells of a muffin pan.

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer at high speed until well blended, about two or three minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the cups - they should be about 3/4 full.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 18-20 minutes, or until the top of the cupcakes spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and remove transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. Here's where those little ears on the cupcake cups really came in handy!

When the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost as desired. Or, if you want to stay true to the original wacky recipe, just dust them with a little powdered sugar.

About the frosting:

For my frosting, I used a basic ganache with 6 ounces of cream, heated to boiling, poured over 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, broken into chunks.

At this point, you have a ganache that you can pour onto a cake to make a smooth layer of chocolate. But that's not what I wanted.

After the mixture was completely smooth and starting to cool off a bit, I started beating it with my hand mixer until it was thick and fluffy and the color had lightened a bit.

I piped the frosting on the cupcakes. YUM.

NOTE: after seeing someone else post a vegan chocolate dessert recipe, I realized that the cake part of this recipe is vegan. Not that it's trying to be, it just is. It was thought to have been first developed during WWII, when dairy and eggs were rationed. That's why it uses oil. And it works really, really well.

The frosting I made included dairy, so that's not vegan, but that's easy to swap for something else, like a faux-buttercream made with either vegetable oil or a non-dairy butter substitute. Or ganache made using a non-dairy cream (although I've never tried that). Or whatever vegan frosting or icing you like.

OXO sent along some info about the products they sent. Here's what they had to say:

Muffin Pan
The Non-Stick Pro Muffin Pan features a unique micro-textured pattern that ensures even baking and adds structural rigidity. It's made with a ceramic-reinforced, two-layer, commercial-grade coating that provides ultimate non-stick release and is scratch-, stain-, corrosion- and abrasion-resistant.

Baking Cups
The BPA-free Baking Cups have handy tabs to help remove them from muffin tins without making a thumbprint, and the inside of each Cup is smooth and non-stick to release your treat easily. With a fill line, your cupcakes will be consistent every time.

Baker's Decorating Tool
Our easy-to-use, easy-to-fill Tool is designed to give you complete control while decorating. The unique trigger provides a smooth stream of icing for clean lines, and the comfortable handles ensure a steady grip and protect icing from warm hands.