Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Making the Signature Butter Lane Cupcake
This past weekend, my mom and I had the great fun of participating in a cupcake making class at one of NY's best cupcakeries, Butter Lane. I originally bought a Groupon for it back in December, thinking ahead about what a great activity this would be. As is usually the case with my Groupons, I forget about them and in the end am rushing to use them up. This didn't exactly fit that criteria, but regardless, I wanted to use this deal and who better to join me than my food-lovin', adventurous mama?!
Having been to Butter Lane before, I was familiar with the small storefront - very quintessential of the East Village. So intimate in fact that I couldn't imagine where the class would take place. "In the back where the bakery was?" I thought. But it was not until we got there, ready to indulge in all sorts of sugar that we noticed a separate entrance to a private kitchen located next door to the bakery.
Wow - what a setup! Even though the room was narrow, everything was well organized with three prep stations, complete with a Kitchen Aid mixer and all the baking utensils you can ever wish for. We split up into 3 groups of 4, and divided our baking duties accordingly. I liked that everyone had a part in the process, and our lovely instructor, Joe was there to supervise our every step.
Our Cupcake Sensei:
As much as we enjoyed the class, the credit of course goes to our fabulous cupcake sensei, Joe. Not only was he passionate about cupcakes (rumor has it that he has a huge cupcake tattoo on his chest), but he had an uncanny way of describing the baking process and unlocking the secret of producing some really great cupcakes. I like that he wasn't afraid to eyeball things and liked to take risks in the kitchen. His assistant, whose name I forget was also wonderful, and we enjoyed exchanging some fun foodie stories with him.
Cupcakes & Frosting:
Together, we made a total of 108 cupcakes, which we individually frosted. The three varieties included chocolate, vanilla and banana. The latter were my favorite, as they included chunky bananas inside the batter, and luckily our group was responsible for making them.
To get the recipes for all three, check out Butter Lane's Facebook page.
The real fun started when we got to frosting. We all sat at a long communal table in front of the prep stations and dutifully watched Joe instruct us on how to frost a Butter Lane cupcake, in proper Butter Lane fashion. He described the process in a way that made it seem easy but it sure wasn't. According to his instructions, we were to hold the cupcake with our non-dominant hand, spin it and simultaneously frost it. Wowza...a lot to do at once, but we certainly managed. The six types of frosting we made included:
Vanilla Bean - Made with real vanilla beans, this classic shined in taste and its pure aesthetic. Even though it's pretty "vanilla" (pun intended) it stood out as one of my favorites.
Cream Cheese - Consisting of the combination above, this included everything but the vanilla beans. The cream cheese gave it a nice tang and it was the perfect topper for our super moist banana cupcakes.
Cinnamon -I couldn't believe how simple this was - vanilla frosting mixed with a generous amount of cinnamon. It produced a rich taste with a bit of spice to it.
Raspberry - Created by mixing classic frosting with raspberry preserves (made by Butter Lane), I loved the chunky bits of fruit nestled inside the pretty pink frosting.
Chocolate - Classic cream cheese frosting, mixed with good quality extra bitter chocolate - the darker the better. Trust me.
Chocolate Peanut Butter - Made by combining the above mentioned chocolate frosting with creamy Skippy peanut butter. Talk about chocolatey peanut perfection!
Overall, we had a great time in the class and really enjoyed meeting new people and making delicious treats. We walked out with about 15 cupcakes each, which was more than plenty. We're both having fun sharing them with our friends and family who are happily reaping the benefits.
As mentioned, I paid for the class through a Groupon deal, but you can sign up directly through Butter Lane for $50/person. The class schedule is posted here - new classes get added daily. Enjoy the sweetness in every sense of the word.
Butter Lane - 123 East 7th Street, New York NY 10009
6 Train to Astor Place