Baking with Erin: the Beginning

September 27, 2009

I almost called this new project Cupcake Love, but that blog name was taken and, well, Baking with Erin seemed more appropriate.

So, here’s the deal. I love baking and I want my kids to love baking too. I also love lists. So how about baking my way through a list of recipes in a cookbook? And why don’t I do it with my oldest daughter Erin (2 years) at my side? I was inspired by 52 Cupcakes who has announced that she is working though all 175 of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes recipes.

I’ll admit. 175 seems daunting with a toddler. Plus there’s the whole fingers in fancy batters filled with uncooked items like eggs issue. That’s when it came to me – vegan cupcakes. Vegan cupcakes don’t contain raw eggs so their batters are perfect for little fingers going into mouths. And I knew about a book that was perfect for this venture – Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. There are 39 cupcakes in the book, plain to fancy, and I know people rave about them all. So, there you have it: 39 cupcakes with a toddler. Yes, it was 1am when I came up with this and I was both fatigued and having difficulty sleeping, but still, I liked the idea.

The other part of the project is to give the cupcakes away. Maybe to someone having a rough week or month or year. Maybe to a friend who needs perking up. Maybe just as a whimsical how-do-you-do to a neighbor, acquaintance, teacher or colleague. And after all, we don’t need to be eating 39 different varieties of cupcakes all by ourselves.

We started today with the first recipe in the book: Golden Vanilla Cupcakes.

Erin + ingredients
Erin + ingredients

I started while she was finishing lunch, knowing that toddler time is a fickle thing. We got out all the ingredients and looked them over.

This is the oil.
This is the oil.

Note the quesadilla still in hand. She put it down to fill the cupcake pan with cute little pink and green plaid cupcake liners, counting all the way to ten as she went. Eleven and twelve just sort of took care of themselves.

Erin was actually very interested in the process. She helped measure and stir, and since standing on a chair near the sink is one of her most favorite activities of all time, she mustered the courage to face the dreaded Kitchen-aid Mixer. Once we started adding oil and soymilk and flour and vanilla, she and the mixer were at a truce.

The batter looked too runny so I stopped beating it to take a look and curious about how it would suit up in the little paper liners, I went ahead and poured it in the pan. I glanced at the part of the recipe that said beat it until there are no lumps, or something similar, but didn’t think it would work out anyway so I forged ahead. I forget these are vegan cupcakes and may look, batter-wise, different than what I’m used to. Runny seemed to be okay, but, yes, the batter was lumpy. Here’s what they looked like 20 minutes later:

a dozen freshly baked 'cakes
a dozen freshly baked ‘cakes

Up close:

single cupcake
single cupcake

Even with the lumps, they baked up to a lovely golden brown and smelled divine (we added both the vanilla and the almond extracts and that little kick of almond ratcheted the beguiling smell factor just over yummy!).

Erin and I thought they tasted pretty good. So we set them aside to cool on racks. I frosted them later with VCTOTW’s basic vegan “butter”cream frosting after Erin went to bed. The question now is: should I allow her to have one for breakfast?

Recipient of this recipe: none, since this was our first foray out in the baking-with-toddler world, we’re playing it a little safe and keeping our slightly lumpy, slightly chewy, but yummy smelling Golden Vanilla Cupcakes out of the fray.

Up next: Basic Chocolate, and we WILL share these (and I WILL make sure I follow the recipe and beat the batter just as long as I’m supposed to).

Welcome, Autumn
Welcome, Autumn