In an effort to force myself to actually make some recipes from the cookbooks I buy (instead of watching them collect dust on the coffee table), I’m committing to a once-monthly blog post I’ll call “Cook The Book.” Not to be confused with my other monthly “If I Liked It, Then I Should Have Put A  Ring [Binder] On It” posts, these dishes may not necessarily be ones I’ve made again and again (yet). This is just my effort to try out some cookbook recipes and share the results with you.
As I mentioned earlier when I was sharing my favorite cookies, I’m absolutely happy to leave the baking recipe development to the pros. Sometimes I adapt them a little bit for my particular tastes or needs, but when it comes to baking, Martha Stewart is my pal. We couldn’t be friends in real life of course, because she’d probably hate my “less is more” approach to cake decorating and homemade crafting.
Be that as it may, the next entry in my “Cook The Book” series is an ode to Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book. I’ve tried about 15 of the recipes in this book, and I’ve been really happy with most of them.
Here are a few of my favorite cupcakes, and a story about one that wasn’t my favorite but how I adapted it to make it work:
Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes (Martha doesn’t have the recipe online, but you can find a version of it here) - These were supposed to be mini-cupcakes, but I just went ahead and made them full size. I made these for the adult contingent at my niece’s 1st birthday party, and they were a hit. The classic chocolate cupcake is filled with salty, sticky caramel and topped with the most chocolatey chocolate frosting I’ve ever made. These also gave me a chance to break out the Maldon sea salt to sprinkle on top.
Stout Cupcakes (find a version of the recipe here) - I’m sure my husband’s friends thought I was crazy – I was THAT wife who was making them cupcakes for their poker night. Oh well – I wanted to bake something and I didn’t want to buy many new ingredients. And what group of men doesn’t want BEER CUPCAKES, right? These were also a hit, and luckily, none of the men treated me like I was insane.
While most of Martha’s recipes turn out flawlessly, I have noticed that I have to make adjustments to a few of her recipes – especially because Martha seems to like a denser cupcake than I favor. A lot of her cupcakes seem to have more of a heavy muffin consistency, but since I’ve been raised on light and fluffy cake-mix-consistency, I’m not a fan! Case in point:
Triple-Citrus Cupcakes - I wanted to make these for my best friend’s baby shower. And because I’m a Type-A personality, I decided to give these a trial run before the big event. Well, just as I suspected – dense dense dense! But the flavor was outstanding. So you know what I did? Shhhh – I just took some boxed white cake mix, and added Martha’s citrus flavors to it. Done. And nobody ever knew. Until now.
- For the Cupcakes:
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic White Cake Mix
- 1-1/3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest, plus extra for garnish
- 3 tablespoons lime zest, plus extra for garnish
- 3 tablespoons orange zest, plus extra for garnish
- For the Citrus Glaze:
- 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon, lime and/or orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon, lime and/or orange zest
- Make Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with liners. In large bowl, blend egg whites, cake mix, water, oil and citrus zest with electric mixer at low speed 30 seconds or until moistened. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide into muffin liners.
- Bake 14 to 19 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
- Make Citrus Glaze: In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
- Immediately dip tops of cupcakes in glaze, then turn over and garnish with zest. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- Martha Stewart’s Cookies: Iced Hermits, Cream-Filled Chocolate Sandwiches, Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing, Chocolate-Ginger Brownies, Pecan Tassies, Gingersnap-Raspberry Sandwiches
- Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Creme Brulee
- Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: Chocolate-Salted Caramel Cupcakes, Stout Cupcakes, Triple-Citrus Cupcakes, Blueberries and Cream Cupcakes, Streusel Cupcakes, Raspberry Marble Cheesecakes, Chocolate-Mint Cupcakes, Mocha Cupcakes, Strawberry Cupcakes, Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes, Mint-Filled Brownie Cupcakes
- Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts: Coffee Cream Pie, Chocolate Pear Tart, Strawberry Icebox Pie
- Michael Symon’s Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen: Sweet Corn & Wild Mushroom Soup
- Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi: Asparagus Mimosa, Very Full Tart
- Tyler’s Ultimate: Chocolate Banana Bread