I almost never, ever have buttermilk lying around. When I need it for baking, I do the cheat thing (milk + a tablespoon or two of white vinegar, and let it sit for 10 minutes before using).
Then I decided it was time to (wo)man up and buy some real buttermilk so I could make some legit oven-fried chicken (I promise the recipe is coming soon). Yeah, ‘MURICA! (Sorry, “real buttermilk” sounded very all-American-apple-pie to me)
But now I have half a quart left of buttermilk sitting in my fridge. I don’t like pancakes, and I don’t want to make any more oven-fried chicken, so I thumbed through some cookbooks and decided to whip up some cupcakes.
While the cupcakes were baking, I realized I didn’t have any butter or cream cheese to make any sort of frosting. Awesome. We all know that cupcakes without frosting is just really sad, plain muffins. I surveyed my refrigerator and saw half a pint of whipped cream. So… that’ll have to do. And, from experience, when working with whipping cream (I prefer a hand mixer to a stand mixer), cover your bowl with a cloth on one end, so it doesn’t look like someone sprayed white paint everywhere.
The great thing about this combination, which really was just a way for me to use up some perishable ingredients in my refrigerator, is that the flavors are very mild and not very sweet. So basically I can eat this for breakfast.. right?
Buttermilk Cupcakes & Whipped Cream Frosting
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
Ingredients for the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (8 tbsp.) butter, softened to room temperature*
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
Ingredients for the frosting:
1 cup whipping cream, straight from the refrigerator
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Line a cupcake tin, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients with the buttermilk (I like to pour 1/3 in at a time) on low speed.
Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake tin 2/3 of the way full. Once it’s in the oven, turn down the heat to 325 degrees, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs attached.
After 10 minutes of resting in the cupcake tin, place each cupcake on a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting (unless your ultimate goal is for your cupcakes to look like a runny mess).
To make the frosting, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat, slowly increasing the speed to high. Beat for 5 minutes or until soft peaks form. I dolloped mine straight onto the cupcake and used the back of the spoon to spread it around – I love the homemade-look for cupcakes; I think they taste better, but that could just be purely psychological.
* If you are super short on time or you decided to bake on a whim, and didn’t have any time to let the butter soften to room temperature, nuke it at the lowest power for 2 minutes.