Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sugar Low Cupcakes

This is an entry in Sugar High Friday, hosted by Sam at Becks and Posh--but this time it's Sugar Low. The idea was to use less fat and sugar, and possibly to experiment with other sweeteners.
My idea was to make some low-sugar cupcakes, using staples that I already had in my kitchen. Toward that end I browsed around the internet and my cookbooks, looking for a recipe that used honey, found a few, jotted down some notes, and started to get out the bowls and spoons. Many substitutions and mistakes later, I had the above not-quite cupcakes--really more like muffins. I'll give the recipe, but I don't recommend using it w/o changes.
First, I discovered the honey was almost gone, so I decided on maple syrup. Then I remembered that I had a big container of whole wheat flour that I'd been meaning to use up, so I got that out. Finally it turned out I only had one egg. (A less determined or smarter cook might have given up here.)
Even though these weren't an unqualified success, they weren't bad, especially if you said "muffin" to yourself, firmly eschewing the idea of "cupcake."
Whole Wheat Maple Muffin-Cupcakes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
zest of one orange, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice
1/8 cup yogurt
about 1/2 cup chopped 70% chocolate
Mix first 6 ingredients in a bowl. In another, cream butter, add first the egg, then after whisking a bit, add maple syrup and vanilla, finally orange juice. The mix looked really unpromising at this point, grainy and not quite together. But I persevered, and added the dry ingredients.
The batter looked a little dry to me, so I added an eighth cup of yogurt, on the grounds of why not. At this point I tasted the batter, and it tasted very uncake like. So I decided to add the chocolate, on the grounds that chocolate improves everything.
With some misgivings, I filled the muffin cups (I used paper liners), and baked them at 375 for about 28 minutes.
How were they? As I said, not bad, in a muffin kind of way. There was really too much wheat germ, and it gave them a undesirable grainy feel in the mouth. The tastes were good though--the maple syrup, the hint of orange, and the chocolate--which might make me try them again. If I do, I think I'd substitute white flour for half the whole wheat. I'd use a second egg. I'd reduce the wheat germ or maybe get rid of it altogether. The orange juice didn't seem to make any difference--all the orange I tasted was from the zest, so I'd get rid of that.
I made an icing which tasted wonderful, but was a) too gloppy, and b) tasted better on its own than top of the cupcake-muffins. It was a yogurt and butter mix, flavored with maple syrup and a bit of ginger. I found that I had to put two tablespoons of powdered sugar into it to make it come together, which it then did miraculously--a little chemistry lesson, which if I'd read Harold McGee's book, I'd understand more deeply.
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erieblue said...

Well, now I feel hungry.

Sam said...

bravo to you - for making something out of what you already had available. Good job!!

thanks for taking part


Paige said...

I admire how you experimented with this recipe! The maple syrup in a baked item (whether it's a cupcake or a muffin) sounds like a great idea!

lucette said...

The experimenting turned out to be the fun part of it! I definitely think I'd make this again, with, as I said, some major changes. But the chocolate plus orange taste was too good to abandon.