Hey! Fancy meeting you here. I know I’ve been out of the game for a couple of weeks. I’ve been busy, work’s been cutting into my blog time, and honestly, summer’s sort of gotten the better of me. In a good way, for sure, but still, I really miss blogging so I’m going to try to make an effort to do better on that front. It’s just been so nice outside, all I want to do after work is grab a drink with friends and sit on a roof or in a backyard or something, not sit inside on my computer after doing that all day at the office. Not that I’m necessarily staring at a screen all day at work, though, I do have a pretty sweet gig. You can follow me on Instagram to see what I’m up to most days. It’s exciting, and it’s usually to do with some kind of delicious food. For example, yesterday, I went to a spot called Emmy Squared and did a video about their delicious gochujang-marinated fried chicken sandwich, followed by–get ready for this–a Rice Krispie treat ice cream sandwich. So yeah, I filmed that, interviewed the adorable married couple who own the restaurant, went to work, edited a video, wrote a script for another video, then did some recipe research, because today, I’m going into our test kitchen to work on some recipe videos. So yeah, life is good, but you can also imagine why the last thing I sometimes want to do when I get home is do more editing and more recipe testing. Summer’s coming to a close, though, so I imagine that means more indoor time and more cooking time. I do love cooking at home, obviously, but when you live somewhere with a summer as short as New York’s, there’s a slight pressure to enjoy it to the fullest before it’s allllll gone. AND guess what? I am low-key tan this summer. I’m not T A N, per say, but for me, I have some color for the very first time in my life, and I am extremely proud of myself for it. It’s the little things, ya know?
One of the perks of being a blogger-slash-video producer is that sometimes people send you random stuff. Nothing crazy, but occasionally I’ll get an unexpected package of, say, five pounds of fresh black cherries (that happened) or, in this case, a box of General Mills cereals. They were doing some kind of contest involving dressing your pets up, but I don’t have any pets, so I just figured I’d make something fun with the cereal. I got a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a box of Cocoa Puffs (still thinking on that one), and a box of Honey Nut Cheerios which I generously gave to my friend because I’m a good person. If you’re looking for cereal, come find me! Either way, my friend Ashlee was having a birthday party a few weeks ago, and while I r-a-r-e-l-y make cupcakes, like very rarely, I decided to give it a go. I wanted to use the CTC, after all, and Kramer was on a business trip at the time, so I had a free afternoon with nothing really going on. The verdict on these cupcakes? They’re freaking awesome. The cake was spongy and moist, and I loved the little surprise of cinnamon-sugar and cereal in the middle. I was going to go for a simple buttercream for the frosting, but at the last minute, switched to a 7-minute frosting, which is actually a lot easier than it sounds and creates this lovely marshmallow-like fluff that spreads like a dream and goes perfectly with the cereal. It’s almost like the milk you’d normally be missing, so I dug it. I topped everything with more cereal and cinnamon-sugar, and ta-da! Cupcakes I can be proud of, which is not something I can say very often, as I am terrible at decorating cupcakes, generally, but these turned out great, so hey! Sometimes we even surprise ourselves.
My true form.
You don’t need much!
Once you’ve got your batter done, fill up the cupcake liners about 1/3 of the way.
Then add your cinnamon sugar and CTC pieces.
Then top with more batter and cinnamon sugar and bake.
All ready and time to frost.
The 7-minute frosting was perfect for these. It’s nearly marshmallow-y in texture and flavor, so it’s sort of like the milk for your cereal.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, combined
- ¾ cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup water
- 6 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
- Let's start with the cupcakes. Whisk together your flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, beat together your 1 cup of granulated sugar and ½ cup of butter, until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating each one in fully before adding the next. Add the flour and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Line your muffin tins with liners and spray with non-stick spray, if you have it. Start with one 12-cup tray, and then fill up an additional tray as you can (this recipe made about 15 cupcakes for me, but sometimes ratios can be a bit different for everyone). To start, fill each liner about ⅓ of the way up with batter. Mix together your ⅓ cup granulated sugar with your 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, then sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the mixture on top of each cupcake. Top that with 3-4 pieces of CTC, then fill the cupcakes with another tablespoon or two of batter, smoothing the top down with a greased spoon.
- Sprinkle the tops with an additional teaspoon or so of cinnamon sugar. Continue until you've used up all of your batter. You may have extra cinnamon sugar left over - that's fine. Bake for 18-21 minutes, until lightly golden and springy but not browned. Let the cupcakes cool for at least an hour before frosting.
- Set up a double boiler if you have one, otherwise make a makeshift double boiler by placing a small pot of water on the stove, then place a mixing bowl over the top of it, making sure that the bowl is secure over the water but not fully submerged (do a little bit of Googling on double boilers before if you've never used one before).
- Bring the water to a simmer, then combine your sugar, cream of tartar, ¼ cup water, and egg whites. Whisk to combine. Continue whisking over medium heat until the mixture reads 160 degrees F on your thermometer, which should take about 3-5 minutes, depending. If you don't have a thermometer, the sugar should be fully dissolved after 4 minutes, so you'll probably be safe to take it off then. Just make sure you're whisking the entire time so that the egg whites cook but don't scramble.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and beat on high speed with your whisk attachment until thick and glossy, about 6-7 minutes (hence the name). Beat in the vanilla and whisk again. Use immediately to frost your cupcakes. I like to simply spread this frosting on, as it's a huge pain in the ass to try to get it in a piping bag (trust me - I've tried). It's got a lovely marshmallow texture, though, and is totally worth making!
- To frost, scoop a dollop of frosting onto your cupcake and smooth down. Place a few pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch on top of the cupcake, then sprinkle a little extra cinnamon sugar over the top. You can make the cupcakes a day ahead of time and then frost the day you plan to serve them, if you like.