Kim Watkinson of NinjaBaker.com shares a tender egg-free vanilla cupcake recipe from The Cookies & Cups Cookbook: 125+ sweet & savory recipes reminding you to Always Eat Dessert First along with her positive review of that cookbook. What better end to a Weekday Supper than a sweet treat?
To quote Julia Child: “A party without cake is a meeting.” Quite sure popular Cookies & Cups blogger and cookbook author Shelly Jaronsky agrees. “Why does someone have to have a birthday or get married to get a dang slice of cake?”
Shelly decries the “injustice” of most cookbooks, which sedately reserve a few measly pages for desserts. “Miracle Foods…meals the whole family agrees on” are delegated to the back of the book. Chicken Fried Steak Meatballs and Gravy is one of the featured mains. Secrets to stellar pizzas and Mac ‘n Cheese are also revealed.
Shelly is a mother of four boys. Her love of family and home state of Texas are evident. Texas Sheet Cake in a Jar anyone? Shelly swears allegiance to Imperial Sugar from Sugar Land, Texas. (Texas Sheet Cake Cookies are one of her most popular blog recipes.)
The Cookies and Cups Cookbook is kid-friendly. Cookie recipes, which incorporate Oreos, marshmallows and chocolates, are the rule not the exception. (Shelly also has fabulous cookie recipes starring fruit. Glazed Lemmies, Key Lime Cookies and Strawberry ‘n Cream Bars are just a few of the featured fruity gems.) “My house is for hugs and cookies,” she says. “I plan on being not only the Gram who always carries candy in her purse but also has cookies on her counter.”
Open to any page in The Cookies and Cups Cookbook or her blog. It’s like dropping in on a friend for coffee. The plan is to chat and catch up for five minutes. An hour later you’re still there, mesmerized by Shelly’s beautiful sweets, humor and bold opinions.
On the subject of butter for baking, Shelly favors salted European butter over the traditional unsalted butter. To the critics, she says, “#sorrynotsorry.” Shelly is also a devotee of the browned butter trend, which offers up a nutty essence to baked goods. “The joy of life is exponentially more delicious with browned butter.” (You’ll agree after devouring one of Shelly’s Salty Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.)
Like many of us, baking lessons started as a small child next to Grandma. Shelly also credits her grandparents for a past and present love of Pop-Tarts. (Side note: This writer is decidedly a fan of any grown woman who confesses she still eats Pop-Tarts, too!)
Shelly’s attitude is relaxed but her position in the food world is serious. For starters, she has over two million followers on Facebook. She dabbled in the trade of professional baking for a few years. When the joy for the business left, she did, too. Shelly seems to adhere to the same policy as Julia Child who said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
In 2008, her Cookies & Cups blog was launched. Why the title? “Cookies are my game.” And cups are what bakers use to measure. Another reason for the title (and another reason to love Shelly) is a passion for Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups!
With the publication of The Cookies & Cups Cookbook, and even more exposure, Shelly’s online celebrity star is bound to burn brighter. After seeing the Birthday Cake Krispie Treats in the cookbook, this writer visited the Cookies & Cups blog. I was curious to see what other Krispie Treat offerings were available. A treasure trove of Cinnamon Toast, Red Velvet, Cookie Dough and Krispie Treat Roulade beckoned. This Auntie will probably make the Birthday Cake Krispie Treats recipe first. Confetti cake mix and sprinkles are generously incorporated. And my great-nephew loves sprinkles! (Don’t all small children?)
After spending time and “study” of Shelly’s cookbook and blog, this writer is also convinced that “happiness resides in a 9 x 13 pan.” Still cupcakes are the seductive Sirens, which sway me into bakeshops. So, my first foray into baking fromThe Cookies and Cups Cookbook was Shelly’s Egg-Free Vanilla Cupcake. As my husband tends to veer towards the vegan trend, coconut creamer was substituted for the whole milk. They were divinely moist. The crumb was tender…just like a “regular” vanilla cupcake.
The Cookies & Cups Cookbook is brimming with wonderful frostings. (Looking forward to giving the Pretzel Frosting a try.) However, Japanese food and language were all I knew until age five. Tokyo was my hometown until age 18, so flavors of home such as matcha green tea are my go-to. My vegan vanilla cupcake was topped with matcha buttercream frosting. As homage to Shelly’s Fruity Pebbles Cake recipe in the cookbook, I sprinkled the cupcakes with the colorful cereal. (You can imagine the result. Yes, heavenly!)
As Julia Child said, “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Certainly, Shelly Jaronsky andThe Cookies and Cups Cookbook are the best company for anyone who loves to bake.
- Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
- 3 cups cake flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup vegan butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1½ cups coconut creamer
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Japanese Green Tea Matcha Buttercream
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ vegan shortening (available in health food stores and online)
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup pure high quality matcha green tea powder
- ¼ cup matcha latte mix (major health food store chains carry the mix)
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Set the oven to 350°F.
- Line muffin tins with cupcake cases.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Set aside.
- In the bowl of a kitchen stand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy.
- Pour in the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes.
- In another bowl, stir together the coconut creamer and vanilla extract.
- Keep the mixer on low speed and spoon in one-third of the flour mixture.
- Carefully pour in half of the creamer and vanilla combo.
- Scrape the bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.
- Add another third of the flour bowl followed by the rest of the coconut vanilla creamer.
- Empty the remains of the flour mixture and beat until the batter is smooth.
- Fill the cupcake cases 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.
- Whip together the butter and shortening in the bowl of a kitchen stand mixer.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, matcha and matcha latte mix.
- Gradually pour the sugar / matcha combo into the butter bowl.
- Beat in the cream and extract.
- If you find the frosting too thick, add more cream. Or sprinkle in a bit more powdered sugar and matcha mix if the frosting is not thick enough for piping.
- Fill a pastry bag with your favorite tip and swirl the frosting atop the cupcakes!
Editor’s note: This recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher, with adaptations. No compensation was received. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
Many thanks to the publisher Gallery Books who is sponsoring one copy of this wonderful cookbook for a giveaway, open to US residents only. Please check out the book on Amazon and leave a comment on the post – What recipe from The Cookies and Cups Cookbook would you try first? – to enter. The rafflecopter has several options for earning more chances to win! The more you do, the better your chances. No purchase necessary. The winner will be notified by email. If the winner does not respond in 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.
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Weekday Supper recipes are great for when life gets busy! It’s easy to find them. Search the #WeekdaySupper hashtag across social media or click here for more on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Weekday Supper Pinterest board for plenty more ideas and inspiration.