Friday, April 20, 2012

Cake #45 Maple Pecan Cupcakes

I've been looking for a good recipe for a maple pecan cake and while a lot of them have potential, they are consistently not maple-y enough. My suspicion is that the trouble lies in using maple syrup in the batter. Recipes generally called for two cups... TWO CUPS... of maple syrup. Which is crazy, expensive and kind of gross. To add all that and still not be strongly maple-flavored seems like a waste to me. So I went with maple extract, which is very effective in providing big maple flavor. And did it ever deliver... after a half-hour or so. 

Confession: When I dreamt up these cupcakes in the bakery part of my brain I was thinking about pralines and butter pecan ice cream and how I love all things maple. Then they came out of the oven a teensy bit flat (not terrible, just not tall) and I bit into one and it tasted like a bran muffin. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

So I was a little annoyed. 

I ditched my plan to toast pecans for decorating, using baking tips, obsessing... and just slapped on some maple caramel frosting with a butter knife; thinking the boys will be happy enough with them regardless of how they looked. * Then I threw them in the fridge and went to do something else. 

Well, you wouldn't believe how they tasted when I bit into one a half hour later.


Except now, instead of being pretty and fancy they had set up rustically.


Patience is not my strong suit.

So if you want a lovely maple and pecan flavored cupcake please try these. They're a real hit with our crew and they have a lovely flavor and texture. 

And please ignore how they look :-)

Maple Pecan Cupcakes
Makes: 12 cupcakes

1/3 cup frozen pecans
1 cup milk: soy milk, skim milk, whatever you like.
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1teaspoon maple extract

I batch of caramel fudge frosting but replace the vanilla with maple extract.


Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with paper liners.

Chop the pecans in your food processor or blender.

  I was trying to get nut flour but mine started to turn into nut butter quicker then I'd hoped so I went with it. And it's delicious so... YAY! 
Chopped nuts would be great too but my kids don't like the "distracting texture". I've heard you should always add ground up nuts to your sugar to absorb the nut oils but since I was about to toss it all into a bowl, together, I didn't see the urgency.

Whisk the (soy) milk and the vinegar together and let sit a few minutes until curdled.

See, nice and chunky. Ew.

Whisk together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and maple extract.

Mix in the pecan nut bits

Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until no large lumps remain. 

Now I am a lazy baker and I'm always trying to cut time out of recipes. Plus I hate making extra dishes. With all that in mind, I'm asking you to sift your dry ingredients. Yes, you can whisk them together but then you run the risk of someone biting into your luscious cupcake and getting a little pocket of baking soda. Which is gross. And that someone will be me. It always is. And I'm telling you... GROSS! So sift, it's really not a big deal.

And while we're discussing sifting, lots of recipes say to sift into your wet ingredients. Are those recipes written by octopi? I do not possess the manual dexterity to hold a sifter in one hand while scooping and measuring ingredients with the other hand while balancing the whole she-bang over a bowl of wet stuff. Not gonna happen. So do yourself a favor, grab a second bowl and sit your sifter in it. Makes life so much easier and you'll save yourself a mess.

Since this recipe is egg-free you can taste it and see how it's coming along. This batter tasted delicious and the pecans were fine enough that they didn't settle at all. 

Fill cupcake liners and bake for 20 to 22 minutes until done. 

Cool completely before frosting.

See all that gorgeous texture. Yum!

You can see the rest of our 52 Cakes HERE

*Note: I didn't chose to not decorate them because they were 'just for the kids', our family doesn't like a lot of frosting so I usually make a couple thickly decorated for my blog and the rest with a lot less frosting for us to enjoy. Since I thought I'd probably not be blogging these, I didn't make any fancy ones.

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