We're doing things a little differently today with a brilliant guest post brought to you by Pearce Corbin. Arming all you non-bakers and box-bakers with the know-how to bake from scratch. He's decided to share with you a couple of base recipes you can use to easily create any kind of muffin, cake or cupcake your heart desires - the possibilities really are endless!
****Baking your own muffins, cakes and cupcakes from scratch can be a very rewarding process. From scratch baking need not be complicated either, no more so than any cake from a box and you can genuinely tell people that you made it yourself instead of Mrs. Crocker or Mr. Heinz. I'll include some simple and easy recipes for you to try, but first I think it is far more important to lay down some ground rules for scratch baking.
To some people this will be an obvious step, to others it might seem pointless. Sifting your flour will prevent so many headaches and ruined or lumpy batches down the road that it is always better to take the extra step. Sifters are not expensive and worth every penny.
This might seem cruel, but if your diet can't handle real butter, you're better off not baking at all. While oil is sometimes necessary for a recipe, substituting margarine or oil based spreads when a recipe calls for butter will ruin the flavor of your baked goods. Besides, with all those strange chemicals floating around in them, how can they really be healthier for you anyway?
It's a good idea to keep all purpose and self raising flour on hand if you plan to bake a lot, but self raising might be hard to come across in some areas so here's a freebie: One cup all purpose flour + 1 1/4 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp salt = 1 cup self raising flour. Just mix it all up thoroughly and for 99% of recipes you need it for you'll never know the difference.
On to the good stuff:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients until everything is just moist. Now you can insert the special ingredient of your choice, about half a cup of berries, chocolate chips or whatever your heart tells you. Try canned pumpkin, pureed fruits or even applesauce. Pour the batter 3/4 of the way in a greased or lined muffin tin and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. This recipe will make a dozen muffins, or you could pour the whole thing into a loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes.
BASE CAKE AND CUPCAKES
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
In a medium bowl, mash the sugar and butter together. Whisk in the eggs and stir in vanilla. Combine the flour and baking powder, then mix in with the egg mixture. Stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour the batter into a lightly greased and floured 9x9 inch pan or cupcake pan with liners and place in a 350 degree preheated oven. Bake time for cake is 30-40 minutes, cupcakes are only 20-25 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back to the touch. Add your favorite frosting when cool enough to handle.
Pearce Corbin is a regular in local flea markets and vintage furniture shops, always on the look-out for that perfect end table. When he's not bargain-hunting, he is an interior design student and writes freelance for MyProjectorLamps.com.
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