I'm incredibly happy to be back in Portland for a bunch of different reasons -- one of them being that I can bake at sea-level. Do you know what that means? The ability to just simply follow a recipe without having to think about adjusting batter moisture or leavening agents! No pesky trial and error! No going through multiple batches of failed baked goods! No more waste!
Ahh... I am in bliss.
So in order to mark the occasion of my return, I decided to dedicate my first sea-level recipe to Portland, Oregon. What better than a batch of Hummingbird Bakery Rose Cupcakes to celebrate my beloved City of Roses?
This recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery's second cookbook, Cake Days. I don't actually own a physical copy of Cake Days -- instead, I own the iPhone app. You can read my review of the app here. As for the cupcakes themselves, they were a little too floral for my liking but they smelled delicious and were incredibly pretty. So pretty. Next time though, I might pair the cupcakes with some lemon frosting instead to tone down the intense rosewater flavor.
Without further ado, here is the Hummingbird Bakery's Cake Days recipe for Rose Cupcakes... NOT adjusted for high-altitude. Weird, right?
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- a 'scant' 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
For the Rose Buttercream Frosting:
- 3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 teaspoons rosewater
- 3 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 375 (F) and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
- Using a handheld electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, whisk the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together on a low speed until the mixture has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
- Mix the rosewater with the milk in a Pyrex measuring cup, then add the eggs and whisk together by hand.
- Pour three-quarters of the milk-rosewater-egg mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix on a low speed to combine.
- Once the milk mixture has just been incorporated into the flour mixture, use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the remaining milk mixture. Mix on a medium speed until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth once again.
- Divide the batter between the muffin cases, filling each case until two-thirds full. Pop in the oven and bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until well risen and the cupcake tops are golden and bounce back when touched.
- Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Rose Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows) on top.
- Using an electric whisk or a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together on a low speed until the confectioners' sugar and the butter until well combined.
- Mix the rosewater with the milk in a small ramekin, and, keeping the whisk/freestanding mixer still running, slowly pour into the sugar-butter mixture. Once added, increase the whisk/mixer speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).
- Rosewater can be found in herb shops, specialty baking shops, or most easily, the Asian/Indian section of a major supermarket. I used Nielsen-Massey rosewater that I found at my local New Seasons.
- All spoon measurements are level and unsifted, unless otherwise specified. To level the ingredients, take the back of a knife and run it across the top of the measuring cup until the excess ingredients are scraped off.
- Liquid and dry measuring cups are different; please make sure you use the appropriate measuring cup for each ingredient.
- After adding the rosewater/milk/egg mixture to the flour mixture, don't overbeat as this will overwork the flour and make the cake dense -- simply beat until the milk and eggs have just been incorporated. In my opinion, making sure you don't overbeat the batter is one of the hardest parts about baking.
- I like to use a 1-tablespoon sized cookie scoop to divide the cupcake batter evenly between cupcake cases. For this recipe, I put 2 tablespoons of cupcake batter in each case.
- Do not open your oven until at least the minimum time recommended has passed. Too much cold air coming from a frequently opened oven door causes irregular oven temperatures, which then affect the baking process.
- Specifically for the Rose Buttercream Frosting: the longer you beat the frosting, the fluffier and lighter it becomes. I recommend a beating time of at least 5 minutes.
- Again, to ensure consistency, I like to use a 1 tablespoon-sized cookie scoop to measure out 1 tablespoon of frosting for each cupcake.
- Frost your cupcakes immediately after you have made the frosting. If you let the frosting sit out too long, it will start to crust and you will have a hard time frosting your cupcakes. However, make sure your cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting, or they will get soggy.
- To decorate my cupcakes, I divided the frosting into three different bowls. I added a couple drops of pink food coloring to one bowl, a couple drops of purple food coloring in another, and left one bowl white. I then piped the rosettes you see in the picture. For a tutorial on frosted rosettes, check out my tutorial here.