One of my roommate's friends from church used to come over to our dorm last year, often with her 18-month strapped in a carrier behind her. He was at those couple months of early toddlerhood when he had become mobile, but had not yet developed the common sense to match it.
As he came barreling through our rooms in a half-jog, half-waddle, trying to stick his fingers in light sockets, knocking the mirrors askew, and being totally oblivious to the fact that hot ovens are dangerous (and enjoying these Nutella cupcakes!), I remember wondering at the fact that we all managed to make it out of that age in one piece.
I feel a similar kind of amazement as we celebrate our third blog birthday here. I don't know how we've made it this far as we blundered through the Internet and the kitchen alike, but am pretty impressed that we have.
Maybe it'll eventually become routine, and each birthday becomes less of a surprise as we grow out of toddlerhood, so to speak. But for now, it's still worth celebrating the year with some cupcakes.
These cupcakes are beautiful and delicious, their bright spring color (spring is used ironically here) completely natural, thanks to a hearty dose of green tea matcha powder. The tea has a wonderfully earthy flavor that tempers the sweetness of the buttercream a little bit. I'm still not a huge fan of traditional American buttercream, but have found that using salted butter improves the flavor a little bit.
They looked so festive and cheerful with their little green tops, sitting on my windowsill against the cold gray sky last Sunday morning, waiting for me to photograph them. A perfect celebration of three years of dessert without any electrocuted fingers.
For the Cake
2 ½ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup whole milk
For the Matcha Buttercream
1 cup salted butter, cubed, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons matcha powder (culinary quality is fine)
2 tablespoon mil
Preheat the oven to 350. Whisk together the cake flour, salt, baking soda,and baking powder. Set aside.
Whisk together the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk.
Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in the milk.
Evenly divide the batter among 24 muffin tin wells lined with cupcake liners. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before you begin to frost the them.
Make the buttercream. Whip the butter until light and fluffy, then gradually whisk in the sugar, about ½ cup at a time. Whisk in the matcha powder, then about 1 tablespoon of milk. If it is a little too stiff, whip in the remaining tablespoon of milk.
Frost the cupcakes with a piping bag or spatula and spoon. To create the peaked top on the frosting, spoon/pipe a rounded mound of frosting in the center of the cupcake, then pat it with the back of a spoon to created a circle of frosting, then lift the spoon to create a peak.