Yes folks, in addition to celebrating the nation’s birthday, my blog is turning 1 today! It all started with a cupcake, so it’s only fitting that we come full-circle here.
I love anything, sweet or savory, that features cinnamon. Often, it’s used in small amounts to give a hint of warmth to a dish, but I like it as a feature flavor too. My mother-in-law makes an amazing savory stuffing with cinnamon, and my favorite gelato flavor here features the spice as well. Bottom line: I’m not afraid of a bold cinnamon flavor. So I was excited about these cupcakes from Annie’s Eats.
I set about to make these babies, diligently mixing the batter, which was super simple. They bake really quickly and thank goodness for that. No less than 2 minutes after I put them in the oven, my entire apartment smelled like heaven. In that moment, I knew I was on to a good thing. Do you ever just know, in the process of making it, that a recipe is going to be even better than you hoped? That’s how I felt about these, and thank goodness, because I was bringing them to share with friends.
Once cooled, I went with a standard vanilla butttercream, though I bet chocolate would taste amazing as well. Annie uses cinnamon frosting, but I spent my last teaspoon of cinnamon on the cupcakes. And I have to say, I’m usually all about the frosting, but using vanilla made the cupcakes the star of this show. They taste so rich and warm, and they are the absolute perfect texture.
For the cupcakes you will need
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- ½ cup whole milk
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature (Not sure why this needs to be at room temperature because you are going to melt it. But I didn’t read that in advance, so mine was, in fact, softened.)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. grated orange zest (Please don’t neglect this one. It’s what keeps the cinnamon flavor fresh. I promise, it won’t make your cupcakes taste orangey.)
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 and line 12 muffin tins with liners (though I only got 11 cupcakes out of this recipe).
Melt the butter in a saucepan with the milk. Set aside. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt) in a small bowl. Then, beat the eggs and sugar in a mixer on medium-high speed until the batter falls in a heavy ribbon when you lift the beater. This took me a little longer than 5 minutes. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla until incorporated. Add the flour, beating until just blended and do the same with the milk mixture. Make sure you are scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you go.
Pour the batter into the tins, until each tin is 2/3 full. Bake for 16 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely.
For the vanilla frosting, you will need:
- 2 sticks of butter, softened
- 3 C powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 T milk or cream
Cream the butter using a paddle attachment on your mixer. Add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 C at a time, until incorporated. As you add more sugar, the mixture becomes harder and harder to beat. When this happens, add the vanilla, and later, the milk until you have the consistency you want.