Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's Up, Cupcake?

When the kids are home during the summer, and they don't have preschool, I really try to have a loosely-organized plan for each day. Otherwise, we descend into the madness that is too much TV, sibling rivalry, boredom, and general crankiness. This summer has been INSANELY HOT, so much so that I don't even let the kids go out to play very much. Both of them are fairly susceptible to the heat, and frankly, I don't like sitting outside with them, roasting. So, some days we plan indoor activities. I've also been trying to plan many, many FREE activities, as the ol' cash flow just ain't what she used to be, now that I'm not working full-time.

On today's agenda, we had a trip to the local Barnes and Noble for storytime. I hadn't done that with them yet, mostly because they really could not handle it until now. In addition to the storytime plan, Wren had been begging me to bake a cake so she could decorate it. Today was a perfect day for that, too, so we spent the morning after breakfast whipping up a recipe of my mom's Wacky Cake, and baking it into two dozen cupcakes.

The Wacky Cake was a Loria family staple for years and years. A good chocolate cake, so named because it uses baking soda and vinegar for leavening. No eggs, no milk, either. I remember my mom making this cake for my dad's birthday and my brother's birthday, although never for mine. I was allergic to chocolate as a young child. Horrible, I know, but I outgrew it.
We baked the cupcakes, licked the batter bowl and beaters, made some easy chocolate frosting, then headed out into the tropical jungle weather to go to the bookstore. Wren sat beautifully for two stories, and Noah did fine, although he was far more interested in the train table. After that, we browsed the bookshelves, then endured Noah's screaming fit about leaving when it was time to come home. Not even the promise of frosting his own cupcake would assuage the grief and pain of not getting to read that 100,465th Cars book he wanted.


We got home and commenced frosting. Oh....that frosting! It's an economy recipe, using only one stick of butter, some cocoa and a little milk and confectioner's sugar, but it's heavenly! Soft, so pretty easy for just frosting, but not really stiff enough to decorate with. The kids each frosted two cupcakes and covered them in sprinkles, and I frosted a few more, and put the remaining naked cupcakes in the freezer for later. The kids ate lunch, ate a cupcake, then they swept the kitchen floor and played for a while.

Now it's naptime, and I have a few minutes' peace to eat a gorgeous cupcake and surf the internet.

I'll work later on, and then maybe make some art, and hopefully go to bed early. I bagged on exercising today -- something is wrong with my left hip/butt and it might be sciatica. Or a hamstring issue.

Oh! I almost forgot! The recipes:

Wacky Cake

3 cups of flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 TB vinegar (cider or white)
2 cups cold water

For a 9x13 cake, place all the dry ingredients in a 9x13 pan and mix well together. Make three wells in the mixture, and pour oil in one, vanilla in one, and vinegar in one. Pour the water over all and mix completely.

For cupcakes, mix dry ingredients together with a whisk until combined. Add wet ingredients and mix by hand or with a hand mixer on low until completely combined. Pour into two 12-cup cupcake pans.

Bake at 350 degreesF for 30 minutes (for 9x13 cake), or 22 minutes (for cupcakes).

Makes a 9x13 cake in the pan, or 24-26 cupcakes.

The Frosting

1 stick of softened unsalted butter
3 cups confectioner's sugar
6 to 8 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
3-6 TB milk (depends on how you like your frosting)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and vanilla with a hand mixer til softened. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the dry mix to the butter mix a little at a time, alternating with spoonfuls of milk. Mix constantly til you get the dry ingredients completely incorporated, and the frosting is a consistency you like. I prefer to chill mine for an hour or so before frosting COMPLETELY COOLED cupcakes (or a cake!). :)
Lick your fingers and the beaters and bowl, but don't lick the spreading knife til you're all done!
This makes enough to frost about 18 cupcakes, or one 9x13 cake.


1 comment:

  1. Loving the wacky cake

    Your comment on my paradox blog post (about parties) nearly made me fall off my chair with laughing, thank you so much!