There are two kinds of childhoods in this world: the kind where your mom will buy you sugary breakfast cereal, and the kind where she won't.
Which kind did you have?
We mostly had the latter. As a general rule, our mom refused to buy us any of those classic kid's dream/dentist's worst nightmare cereals (you know the ones I'm talking about - Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, Reese's Puffs), although she would make exceptions on special occasions like birthdays or the first day of school. (Same rule applied to that other mother's bane/child's dream, Pop Tarts.) The funny thing is that as we've gotten older she's become more and more lax about it. And, of course, now that we're allowed to eat that stuff, we no longer want to. We actually would rather eat oatmeal than Cocoa Puffs.
I see what you did there, mom. Well played.
If you, like us, lived a childhood deprived of "that sugary crap" all your friends were eating, this recipe is your chance to fulfill your sugar-addled childhood yearning.
In her most recent post, Audrey told you about our new inspirational ingredient challenges. This recipe also emerged from one such challenge. I didn't know what to bake, so Audrey gave me two ingredients to somehow turn into a single baked good: coffee and cereal.
The coffee factor stumped me at first. I could think of a lot of things to do with cereal and a lot of cereals I might do with them, but I was having a hard time thinking of a way to incorporate coffee without it feeling random. How could I make a recipe using both coffee and cereal taste cohesive and not like two unrelated flavors thrown together for some unknown reason? It is my mission to please, not confuse, your tastebuds.
Then I got sneaky. Maybe the coffee didn't need to be an overt flavor in the final product. Maybe it could be more of a behind-the-scenes player rather than a starring lead. I decided to take a basic vanilla cupcake recipe (specifically, the Hummingbird Bakery's recipe) and swap the milk for Starbucks vanilla frappuccino bottled coffee drink. The result wouldn't be a coffee flavored cupcake; it would be a vanilla cupcake with the essence of coffee in it.
I have to say, the cupcakes turned out pretty swell. Hummingbird Bakery's recipe produces a cupcake that is moist without being too soft; it manages to be sturdy without becoming dry. The frosting I made by pulverizing fruit loops in a food processor, then stirring the powder in to a vanilla frosting. It produced a kind of ambiguous green/brown color which may not make it most visually appetizing cupcake you've ever seen, but I think the multicolored flecks of fruit loop that speckle it are pretty in their own way. In certain light. With whole fruit loops on top.
I don't know; I'm biased. You tell me. Pretty or pukey?
On second thought, maybe don't answer that.
These may not be the best cupcakes I've ever made, but they are one of the most fun. If people are turned off by the chromatically ambiguous nature of the frosting, they'll be turned on by its whimsy and the novelty. ("Fruit loop frosting? Get out of town." - their reaction, probably) And if you take Freud at his word, we're all just victims of our childhood, stumbling around looking for ways to relive it in our adult lives. So if you, like us, came out of childhood with a Sugary Cereal Deprivation complex, here's your chance to indulge it. I'm not going to recommend that you eat these for breakfast...but I'm not going to stop you, either.
(p.s. Come to think of it, Audrey's Childhood Sandwich Supreme Cupcakes were all about reliving your childhood, too. Maybe we do have complex...)
"All Part of a Complete Breakfast" Cupcakes
Cupcakes adapted from Hummingbird Bakery; frosting original recipe
Vanilla Frappuccino Cupcakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
scant 3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/2 cup Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino coffee drink
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a medium mixing bowl and beat on low speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the frappuccino and beat until just incorporated.
Whisk the egg, vanilla, and remaining frappuccino together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the batter is smooth. Do not overmix.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated over for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the cake bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Fruit Loop Frosting
1 stick butter
4 tbsp Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino
1 cup crushed Fruit Loops
1 1/2+ cups powdered sugar
Cream butter, frappuccino, and crushed fruit loops until completely blended. Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Continue to add more powdered sugar, in 1/4 cup increments, until frosting reaches desired consistency.