Quarantine Cupcakes

Okay….not quarantine cupcakes | social distancing cupcakes | stay home cupcakes | hashtag all thing Covid cupcakes | what I can control cupcakes | moral boost cupcakes | I love my friend cupcakes | I miss my people cupcakes | I’m worried cupcakes | wash your hands cupcakes | I need to feel hopeful cupcakes.

These are scary times. These are also hopeful times. I have seen so many people stepping up and being their best selves, unfortunately I have seen the opposite too. We all just need to remember that this is going to affect everyone. It will be in different ways. But it will be.

Being a nurse in this is scary job security. I won’t be quarantined at home. I’ll be at work, praying we have enough PPE, medications, staff, and ventilators. Everyone is talking surge plans. As a nurse in Montana I feel a bit helpless right now. We are anxiously waiting, trying to be prepared, wondering; will it be like it is in the media? Big cities are in the thick of it, right now its just simmering but it is on our minds daily. When?

Baking makes me feel calm, in control, settled, satisfied, effective, accomplished, content, happy. Things I need to keep feeling. These cupcakes are made with things everyone typically has. Just a small batch. My husband’s favorite and ironically the first thing I ever baked for him. I baked them in his kitchen (that could be an entire blog post in itself, just a discussion on cooking in your boyfriend’s kitchen). It was so hard to find things. He actually had almost everything I needed. A guy who has flour, sugar, powdered sugar, butter, eggs, baking soda, baking power, vanilla, and salt. Snatched him right up! He even had a muffin tin. He loves to cook, too. He only had 1 stick of butter though and no cream cheese. He didn’t have vanilla beans and the vanilla he had was imitation vanilla. But, what can you do? I was pleasantly surprised and pretty impressed. It made my baker heart happy. I love to bake for people.

Focus Liz. Cupcakes not love stories. Vanilla cupcakes to be exact. I know right. Im a chocolate gal.

Cupcake ingredients:
3 T butter, softened but not melted
3/4 c sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
pinch of salt
1 c flour
1/2 c milk (any type works, I use almond milk all the time- you can’t tell)
1 egg (today I used a duck egg! I got them from a local farm/B&B- Oddfellow Inn)
1 t vanilla (use the real stuff if you have it, it is so much more flavorful- but if you only have the imitation kind that is ok too)
1/8 t ground vanilla or scrape 1/2 a vanilla bean and use the caviar (yes! the tiny seeds and juice is called caviar) [this is optional- if you don’t have any of this thats ok I did not have this stuff in Matts kitchen]

2- 2 1/2 c powdered sugar ( if I recall Matt didn’t have this much but you need 2 cups)
5 T butter (matt only had 1 stick of butter so I had 8 T to work with)
1 T milk
2 t vanilla
2 oz or 4 squares of white chocolate (melted- let cool)

Have I mentioned that I can be a lazy baker? I can be a lazy baker. I don’t always follow the directions of recipes because I think things can be simplified and I like to use as few dishes as possible. For this recipe I use a mixer. I put all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar (yes sugar), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground vanilla in with the whisk attachment and mix. Then I add my 3 T butter and turn up the speed. While the mixer is working I pour 1/2 cup milk into a clear glass measuring cup, crack 1 egg (today I had a big lovely duck egg), and 1 t vanilla in and whisk with a fork. Then I lower my speed on the mixer and slowly pour in the liquid. I let it mix until everything is incorporated and smooth.

I usually just leave it mixing. The luxury of a kitchenaid. I go do other stuff like preheat my oven to 350 and prep my tins. Today I used leftover liners- the tail end ones, so they don’t all match. When the batter looks lovely and shinny and just a little thin I scoop the batter and pop them in the oven for 18-22 minutes.

Then I watch them… it’s like a stage. The oven light is the spot light and the kitchen towels are the curtains

Then I check them with a toothpick- I check several different cupcakes just to be sure. Then let these babies cool for a while and make some lovely buttercream. Now I was quite restricted the first time I came up with this recipe but it actually turned out so well that I kept it as a note in my phone and have had it since 2014, its my go to vanilla cupcake. Now you know the year I met Matt. Ew I’m being gross, but it feels nostalgic.

Make the frosting. Start with the butter and cream it, I add the vanilla and whip it on high for a few minutes. Then I add my white chocolate and mix, then I start adding my powdered sugar. If you get the consistency you want at this point you don’t have to add the milk. I usually do because a little thinner frosting is easier to pipe out.

Today I did flat tops because I am delivering some to a friend and don’t have containers that are tall enough for lovely swooping piped frosted peaks. Matt likes extra frosting. Sigh. I don’t love cake, but I love frosting. Cupcakes are the thing that I make for other people. Not for myself. For myself I make bread or scones. Cupcakes are too sweet, they don’t go with coffee, and you can’t toast them and put peanut butter on them. Just my rationale.

Be smart. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face.

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