As you've probably gathered by now, I tend to invent things as I go along in the kitchen rather than following a recipe. And when I do follow a recipe, I find myself compelled to change it somehow to make it my own. That's what happened when I embarked on a cupcake-making journey yesterday. I set out to make the Repressed Pastry Chef's Lemon Glazed Cupcakes. But as I was making the cake part, my eye fell upon this ripe mango I had sitting on the counter. And I thought, hmm…mango cupcakes sound really good. So what follows is mostly her recipe, but with a few modifications of my own. How did they turn out? Read to the bottom, because this baking experiment definitely fell into my "lessons learned" category.
To make the exact cupcakes pictured here, here is what you will need:
1.5 sticks butter, room temp
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup plain yogurt (this is a substitution for buttermilk in the original recipe)
1 mango, pureed
1.25 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Preheat your oven to 350. Then line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners. Set aside for now.
Cream together the butter and sugar until combined, and add the yogurt and mango.
Beat to combine. Now add the eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients and then gradually add them into the eggy mixture.
Divide the batter amongst the muffin cups. It doesn't rise much, so fill as much as you need to—mine were about 4/5 full.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean (with no goey bits clinging to it). Remove from the oven and let them cool off.
Now, since I hadn't made these before and didn't want to go to the trouble of frosting them if they tasted horrible and deserved to be turned into bird food, I ate one as is. Here's where the lesson learning comes in. Holy BUTTER, batman! There is simply way too much butter in these cupcakes. They are very moist, and that's great—but not when your fingers are coated in grease when you peel off the cupcake wrapper. This ostentatious butteriness also completely obscured my mango! I might as well not have put it in there at all, for all the difference it made in flavor. If I make these again, I'm going to cut the butter in half and increase the yogurt. I think this will make them both healthier AND better tasting-and what a rare opportunity THAT is!
So now I faced a dilemma: to ice or to toss? Well, the original recipe called for a lemon glaze icing but I had thought to pipe buttercream on instead to be more festive. Obviously THAT plan wouldn't work now. So I decided to go with the lemon glaze, thinking that maybe the acid in it would improve the cake's heaviness enough to make it palatable. I also shamelessly copied the repressed pastry chef's mode of decorating, making two batches of glaze in different colors.
To make the glaze:
Mix 1.5 cups powdered sugar and the juice and peel of one lemon together. That may sound like a lot of lemon, but I wanted this glaze to pack an acidic wallop that would cut right through all that unwanted butter.
Divide the icing into two bowls and add a different color to each (I use gel food coloring).
Now frost! I tried to get fancy with this one and go all abstract:
Now stick them in the fridge for a bit to allow the glaze to firm up. One hour later, taste test time! The verdict: they are MUCH improved by the glaze, which is mouth puckeringly lemony-sweet. But I still feel slightly uncomfortable eating them, because I *know* all that unnecessary butter is lurking in there. I'm not one to shy away from fat in food, but I *do* want to make it count for something when I consume it. Fat is about making things taste better, not just adding grease. So, if you decide to make these, I hope you'll take my mistakes into account and make your own batch that much better. Enjoy!