Recall that I determined that I could do three things to adjust the recipe:
- Add flour, to strengthen the recipe's batter and prevent it from collapsing into a puddle of goop during the cooling process.
- Decrease the amount of sugar, since sugar interferes with egg protein's coagulation and requires more heat to set. Alternatively, I could just bake the cupcakes at a higher temperature.
- Decrease the amount of baking powder in the recipe, to slow down and decrease the batter's rise.
This week, I decided to decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe. According to the oft-cited Pie in the Sky: Successful Baking at High-Altitudes, the reduction of a little sugar may add sufficient strength and eliminate the need to add additional flour. Sugar has a lot of functions in the baking process, but the most relevant in my case are the following two:
- Sugar slows down the coagulation of egg proteins.
Note that the unaltered Hummingbird vanilla cupcakes recipe produced puddles of liquidy, sticky goop. That means that the batter never really fully set in the oven. Reducing the sugar could potentially fix this problem.
- Sugar increases the final product's tenderness.
This is especially relevant in my case since a constant issue I seem to have are the cupcakes overflowing from their allotted space and off the sides of the pan. The recipe might be using excess concentrations of sugar, causing this overflow. Decreasing the sugar could potentially stop this.
Without further ado, here is the amended ingredients list (changes are in bold):
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- a "scant" 3/4 cup sugar minus 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tspn vanilla extract
I thought that reducing the sugar was supposed to stop the batter from overspreading into puddle-like appearances! Reducing the sugar seems to be a REGRESSION from increasing the flour. At least the cupcakes with the extra flour were kept contained in their little cupcake spaces. These seem more akin to the unaltered Hummingbird Bakery recipe results. ESPECIALLY when they cooled:
And what about the taste? To be honest, they tasted severely undercooked and bland -- reducing even just a tablespoon of sugar affected the cupcakes' flavor intensely. The final product tasted too flour-y and ultimately, flavorless.
Sigh. Never again will I mess with the cupcake's sugar content.
Well, it's good to know, I guess? It seems that even increasing flour and decreasing sugar still didn't really do a whole lot to contain the over-rising of the original recipe. I have a sneaking suspicion that the final recipe will contain additional flour, the same amount of sugar, and a significantly decreased amount of baking powder. I guess we'll find out in the next post though -- maybe a decrease in baking powder is all I really need.