Well, I did.
Here are the facts:
1. I do not live in a big ole city with lots and lots of people in and around it (thank goodness…zombie apocalypse, hello?).
2. I have to ship a lot of gifts, which can be really expensive.
3. I usually order all of my gifts online because shipping is almost always completely free.
4. I heard that in-store Black Friday deals were better than online ones, or Cyber Monday ones.
5. I had no way of knowing if this was true or not without going in and seeing for myself, because stores are, like, really super secret about their sales. Like, really.
6. It’s not true. Online shopping is the same. Really. Sometimes, it’s better.
7. But it was still kind of fun to go in and shop at 5 a.m.
8. I now have to pay for shipping for all of the gifts that I bought and saved no extra money on.
Moral: Online shopping is still my very best friend in all of forever and the interwebs, but for the stuff I don’t have to ship, Black Friday is not so bad.
Of course, if you’ll revisit fact numero one, then you’ll see that that is probably why. I’m in a little city where most people probably just want to keep sleeping in, so while the mall was pretty darn busy for 5 a.m. on a Friday, it was no busier than a typical 5 p.m. Friday.
The worst thing about the whole experience was going into, or even just walking by, Abercrombie or Hollister.
They both had half naked man-children greeting people.
It was humiliating.
I was completely mortified…seriously.
It felt so wrong and dirty.
They were so young, it was just…not ok.
I wanted to throw my coat over their bare chests and call their mothers.
I should clearly be kept far, far away from strip clubs.
Anyway, I decided that next time I decide to do Black Friday, I should be more prepared, physically, for the toll that it takes on me. I need a super special breakfast of champions.
I need cupcakes.
Breakfast cupcakes to fuel my sale shopping rampage.
Enter French toast cupcakes. And try not to die, because they are a-flipping-mazing.
**I should clarify that I did very, very little toy shopping, so if you’re curious about Black Friday shopping for little ones…I can’t help you. All I can say on that note is that the one toy that my youngest nephew has literally just been completely and utterly dying over, that one was 50% off. So…good, eh? My nephew can live to die over a new toy another day.**
For the cupcake part of these, I decided to start with a basic yellow cake recipe, but I spiced it up a bit. You’ll need all-purpose flour, sugar, sour cream, unsalted butter (at room temperature), baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and eggs (at room temperature).
I was inspired by my trip to Charleston to add streusel to the top of these. When I visited the cupcake bakery there, they had done this with their French toast cupcake, and I loved it. My streusel has all-purpose flour, cold unsalted butter, brown sugar, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in it.
It is super easy to make, but make sure that it’s very cold before baking it. I mix mine up first, then freeze it while I mix the cupcakes up.
The cupcakes crowned beautifully in the oven, and I love the look of the cinnamon streusel on top. Once they were cool, I frosted them with my maple buttercream frosting, and tried really hard not to eat them all on the spot.
I wanted to dress my cupcakes up a little bit, so after I got them frosted, I rolled the edges in some cinnamon-sugar. Just tilt the bowl slightly towards the cupcake and gently roll the bottom edge of the frosting int he sugar. If you want it to be even easier, simply sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar on top.
I like what the cinnamon-sugar adds to the look of these cupcakes, but flavor-wise, you can definitely skip it, if you like. I didn’t notice much of a difference between a cupcake with the edges coated, and one without. If you want to add a little something, I say go for it, but it’s not a necessity.
Plus, it looks pretty.
The cinnamon and nutmeg in these cupcakes is wonderful…the perfect complement to the frosting, but what I reall love is the streusel topping. It adds such a delightful, almost crunchy texture to the tops of these, while the remainder of the cupcake is soft and light. Each element of these cupcakes is fantastic on it’s own, but together they create a seriously sublime cupcake. No, really. They seriously, seriously do.
I was really hopeful for these cupcakes, but also really worried that they would maybe be too sweet or too spicy. Instead, they were utterly perfect. They are on the sweeter side…once you roll them in cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar…but you can totally skip those steps, if you want to. These ended up beinf absolutely what I was going for, and I adore them. The cake is like a slightly sweeter, caky slab of French toast, while the frosting is the perfect cupcake version of maple syrup to go on top. These have proven to be one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever made…all of the cupcakes, save a couple, were eaten in one day. One. Day. And we thoroughly enjoyed them. Then…we got all depressed because there were no more to eat. But they’re so easy, it’s a cinch to make more…so I did!
You won’t regret making these. Well…until they’re all gone, but then you’ll make more, and be happy again. Enjoy!
French Toast Cupcakes [Printable Version]
Makes 24 standard cupcakes
FOR THE STREUSEL
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
FOR THE CUPCAKES
3 cups (381 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
To make the streusel: In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix the cold butter into the mixture by hand, squeezing the pieces in to mix it.
Cover and freeze while you prepare the cupcakes.
If you’re not using the streusel right away, refrigerate it until ready to use.
To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and mix well, until the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Get rid of any remaining flour by stirring the mixture by hand, with a spatula.
Place three tablespoons of batter in each prepared baking cup. Divide the streusel evenly among the cupcakes, and sprinkle it on each one. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Maple Buttercream [Printable Version]
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (4 cups or 500 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and syrup. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for 4 minutes.
Recipes by Darla