I can hardly look at them. Each one is worse than the next – as though I’m receiving increasingly stronger currents of electric shock as I view each subsequent image.
I know I need to finish editing the pictures, but it’s killing me – numbing my mind and body with a craving so vicious, I’m tempted to go into the kitchen and upend an entire back of C&H sugar into my mouth.
“Why, why, why did I not take a peach cupcake back with me?” I think, the wrath of regret upon me.
I’d made the cupcakes in question for my mother’s birthday the previous day with no intention of liking them. Even though the grammatically incorrect e-mail handle I use for my blog is “ieatcupcakes,” a hold-over from my Hollywood industry days when I really did eat a lot of cupcakes, since that time I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the overtly sweet treat.
It either moves me to desperation, or completely disinterests me.
As such, I’ve only eaten one chocolate soufflé cupcake and part of one red velvet cupcake during the entire course of 2010. Not exactly the cupcake-chomping madness one would expect from a girl who answers to e-mails sent to “ieatcupcakes” rather than “idonteatcupcakes,” or the less succinct, “DianaTakesaBiteofsomethingthatisntacupcake.”
When I set out to make my mom’s birthday dessert on Saturday using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for peach cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting, I never imagined that it would be the causation for my current tortured state. While Deb’s recipes never disappoint, I wasn’t confident that I could administer the same results. I’d never made cupcakes before – even the from-the-box variety – and was fearful of it being too dry, too dense, too sweet, too bland. People have wars on the Food Network over the humble baked good! It couldn’t be a “piece of cake” to make.
But the recipe didn’t fail me. And, most importantly, I didn’t fail it. The cupcakes were perfect – light and delicately peachy with a tender crumb that didn’t leave a sand-like trail on my plate. The sweet peaks of brown sugar cream cheese frosting were the perfect accompaniment to the fruit-filled cake underneath. I didn’t hesitate to scrape the leftovers from the bowl for a post-cupcake frosting shot, and even contemplated going back for a second cupcake.
But I’d ignored the cupcakes.
And continued to ignore them even though I’d woken up that morning with the strong urge to have one for breakfast instead of my Greek yogurt with fruit.
“I don’t eat cupcakes for breakfast.” I’d thought smugly. “I eat yogurt. And oatmeal. And sensible things that do my body good.”
I ignorantly feigned disinterest, unaware of the torture I would experience later in the day.
“How could I be so stupid?” I think now as I scroll through yet another picture – this time an overhead shot of the frosted beauties.
“Everyone should eat these cupcakes for breakfast.” I decide.
And everyone should boldly announce as much in their overly verbose e-mail handles.
Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 12 to 14 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
1 1/2 large peaches, peeled, cored, and chopped smallish
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition, and then the vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the peach chunks.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup powdered sugar
8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the sugar-cornstarch mixture and vanilla, beat until frosting is smooth and light. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator until it thickens back up a bit, about 30 minutes, then spread or dollop on cooled cupcakes.