Okay. I eat out a lot. That translates to I don’t cook a lot. I bake even less. In my year and a half in this apartment, I have never opened the oven door once! I don’t use it for storage, but I also don’t use it for baking either. (Just to clarify, I do use the stove top, and I am also very proficient with the microwave.)
But recently, I took a cupcake class with a girlfriend, and it was an absolute blast! I’m no master baker yet, but I did make a mean cupcake – at Butter Lane cupcake.
We met up at the Park Slope, Brooklyn location of Butter Lane cupcake shop. As soon as I entered the cupcake shop, I was welcomed by Olivia, our instructor. We had a choice of the chocolate table or the vanilla table. I picked the vanilla table, and my friend didn’t mind.
The class started with the handing out of aprons. That apron had some transformative power. I felt more like a baker with one on
First step toward making a cupcake was making the cake batter. The very important tip here is to keep the mixer at speed one, so it doesn’t over mix. The second tip is to slowly add one thing at a time. For example, add one egg, let it mix, and add a second egg, so on and so forth. This contrast with making muffins where you just dump everything into the bowl and mix away. Making cupcake requires patience. One thing at a time. You can’t hurry cupcake making. Let me tell you, I loved cupcakes before. But now, I have a whole new appreciation for them. I learned that each cupcake is really made with love.
After we had the cake batter, we scoped them into a lined muffin tin with basically an ice cream scooper. Here’s another tip, put in a full scoop. If you don’t, you’ll end up with pancakes, not cupcakes. So, don’t be skimpy with the batter.
Olivia put our cupcake babies into the oven. As the cupcakes were baking, we made frostings. For frostings, you can go on a much higher speed to make it all “creamy and dreamy” as Olivia would say. Through this class, I also learned that cupcakes are definitely not guilt free. The recipe called for a lot of butter and sugar. But then again, that’s what makes it oh-so-yummy. Oh well, you only live once – hand me a cupcake. Since we were at the vanilla table, Olivia also told us that vanilla is the most versatile frosting of them all. You could mix all sort of flavors into it. You could mix jams in it to make fruit frosting. You could put cinnamon in and make cinnamon frosting. You could mix peanut butter in and make peanut butter frosting. The possibility is endless.
As we were finishing up our frosting, our cupcakes came out of the oven. Olivia put our cupcake in front of a fan to cool. You cannot put frosting on hot cupcakes. The frosting would just melt. Then, Olivia showed us how to frosting the cupcakes the old fashion way, the Butter Lane way. Butter Lane doesn’t use a piping bag, but uses a spatula. You would first smooth out the frosting by spreading it against the side of the bowl. This would smooth out any air bubbles so the frosting would go on smoothly. Then, you would scoop up the icing into a ball with the spatula. Hold the spatula firmly in your prominent hand (which for me is the right hand), and hold the cupcake in your other hand. You would then put that ball of frosting onto the cupcake. Then, use the spatula and pat the frosting down as you spin the cupcake. Keep patting and spinning till the frosting would reach the rim of the cupcake. And viola! Cupcake glory!
Final step: eat and enjoy.
- Cupcake classes are available daily in the East Village location, and weekly in the Brooklyn location.
- Classes last about 2 hours in the evening, and cost $60.
- You will leave the class with 3 cupcake recipes and 4-6 cupcakes.
- More information is available at www.butterlane.com