Friday, March 16, 2012

The Pudding Cup to Cupcake Experiment

For some strange reason, we had a lot of chocolate pudding cups in the pantry. We are not pudding cup people. Mr. S refuses to take them to work for lunches, and I have no intention of eating them as-is. If I'm going to eat pudding, it's gonna be made from a heritage recipe, with milk and butter, and come from a pot on the stove. I'm not wasting my time on something out of a plastic cup. *snob!*

But, there had to be something I could do with them. And I've been wondering about those "cupcakes for 2" recipes floating around.

Enter the lab, and we'll see what comes!

I attempted 6 different recipes, tweaking each with the amounts of egg, baking powder, and other odds and ends.

I did both chocolate and vanilla versions. They were differentiated by the cupcake liner color. I took serious notes on the process.

After letting them bake for what seemed like an eternity, this is what I got -

See how most of them sunk down? This was after a few minutes of cooling. They just kept sinking! Not a good sign, my friends. But do you see the dark brown ones in the back? We might have a winner. On to the taste test!

Vanilla comes first -

There's what appears to be an open-ish crumb on Cupcake #1v. At least there are some air holes visible. This has an egg white and 1/4 tsp of baking powder. And not much else beyond flour and sugar. Super basic. But kinda gummy. Not something I would eat willingly.

Cupcake #2v is, at best, likened to the Chinese dessert Glutinous Rice Cake. The texture was more gummy than I'd ever consider acceptable in a baked good. It was immediately dumped into the trash can.

The final attempt at a vanilla cupcake fared no better. Cupcake #3v was even gummier. And it had an overpowering vanilla taste. Ewwww. Straight into the trash we go!

Perhaps the chocolate will be better?

First up, the whole-egg-included Cupcake #1c. It was pretty gummy and didn't taste very chocolatey at all. I chewed my bite for awhile and spat it out. Thumbs down.

Cupcake #2c was even worse than the first. It has half an egg and less baking powder. It was so gummy and gross that I didn't even bother past one chew. It went right in the trash can.

I saved this one for last, since it had the most promise. Cupcake #3c didn't sink like all the others. It actually looked, gasp, normal! The crumb was good, and it's super moist. There was only a faint aftertaste of artificial-ness from the pudding cup. It looks like we've got a winner!

Next in the scientific method - repeating the experiment to prove results. 

Mr. S definitely didn't mind. Especially since it came with espresso frosting. 

And, we have a winner! You can make cupcakes with a pudding cup!!

You just need to add a lot of good stuff. 

Chocolate Pudding Cup Cupcakes For 2
Makes 2 cupcakes

1 chocolate pudding cup (I used Hunt's - it claims it's made with real milk)
1 egg white
1/4 c. (heaping) flour
1/3 tsp (heaping) baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, mix together the pudding cup and the egg white. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla. Mix until fully incorporated. 

Put paper liners in two of the places in your cupcake pan. Fill the rest of the places half-way up with water. Divide the batter between the two paper-lined spots. Put the pan in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool, and then frost with your favorite frosting. Mine is listed below - 

Espresso Vanilla Buttercream
Makes enough for 6 cupcakes

3 tbsp butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp espresso powder

Beat butter in a medium bowl with an electric hand mixer. In a small bowl, combine the water, vanilla, and espresso powder. Add to the butter and beat in. Add the powdered sugar, a half-cup at a time, until you get the consistency you want. 

If it gets too stiff, add milk or water by the teaspoon until you get it right. If too loose, add powdered sugar by the tablespoon.

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