Monday, June 5, 2017

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes


  If you've ever done a show with me, you know that I like to bake for the cast. Whether it's for a long rehearsal or for a double performance day, I like to bring some oven lovin', just because those kinds of days can be tedious and exhausting, and a little treat can help everybody get through it. Not only that, it really helps to unite a new cast.
  Since I mainly audition at only a few local theaters, (and have been doing so for many years), it's not uncommon for me to be in a show where I go into it already knowing most, (if not all), of the cast members. A few months ago, though, I found myself in the lovely situation of not knowing many of the people in my new cast at all. How exciting! This was my golden opportunity to not only work with an entirely new group of gifted individuals, but also to laugh and bond and artistically grow as we all worked toward our shared common goal.
 When I asked my friend Anthony what his favorite dessert is, he said that he loves cinnamon rolls. Alrighty then! Lets run with it! And btw, honestly, who doesn't love cinnamon rolls? They're warm and gooey with a fabulous cream cheese glaze pored over the top. So I thought, "ok, what can I make for my fabulous new friends that involves cinnamon rolls?" I wanted a small two-bite picky uppy something that one could just grab while getting ready for a performance or during the show when one has down time between scenes. Then I found this recipe on a blog called Lady Behind the Curtain. How perfect! This was CLEARLY the right recipe. So I made them for the cast and crew, and everyone LOVED them! They were easy to do, plus they were everything I was looking for in a small picky-uppy treat.
 Over the course of the show's run, I baked several times for the cast, and I'm happy to say that the show was a huge success! I think, for me, the bigger success was that my life was made richer just for having worked with this wonderful wacky hilarious group of artists who are now my very close FRIENDS. It's pretty amazing to think that something as simple as a tray of cupcakes can help to turn a newly assembled cast into a family of friends. Pretty cool, huh?
 So whether you're making these cupcakes for a party or a new cast or for friends or family, I'm absolutely certain they'll also be a huge success! Oh, and don't forget to take a bow because you will most definitely deserve a round of applause!




Filling:
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cupcakes:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 cups confectioners' sugar




For the filling:
In a small bowl stir together brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spoon a heaping 1 tablespoon of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon brown sugar mixture over batter in cups. Spoon another heaping tablespoon of batter evenly over brown sugar mixture in cups; add another heaping teaspoon of brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture over batter in cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely in muffin tin then remove to be frosted.

For the frosting:
Mix together butter, cream cheese, cinnamon, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. If the frosting is too thick add milk 1 tablespoon at a time to reach spreading consistency.



Tips:
I made them as mini cupcakes instead of regular cupcakes. If you do this, just be sure to adjust your baking time! Since all ovens are different, I like to test for doneness with an inserted toothpick.
As much as I love pecans, I decided to omit them because I was making them for a new group of friends and I was concerned that someone might have a nut allergy. I try to keep this sort of thing in mind when I'm baking for a crowd. Just sayin!

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