Black & White Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

Say what you want, Seinfeld fans, but my mom calls black & white cookies “Baltimore cookies.”  Growing up in Clarksville, a small town in Howard County, Maryland, Genny likely encountered such treats in Baltimore-area bakeries.

Yesterday I baked almond cupcakes and intended to frost half of them with chocolate buttercream and the other half with vanilla almond buttercream when I thought…why not make a cupcake version of the Baltimore cookie?

A note about the frostings: it may be necessary to add more powdered sugar (and cocoa powder, for the chocolate buttercream) or milk to either batch to reach the right consistency.  You want the frostings to be easily spreadable, like very soft peanut butter, in order to create the half-vanilla, half-chocolate design on the top.  Always sift the powdered sugar before adding more to avoid lumps, and if you add more to the chocolate buttercream, add a bit more cocoa powder as well.

Almond Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening for about 30 seconds.

Add sugar and vanilla and beat well.

Add egg whites, one at a time, until well combined.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively in small batches until just combined.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, fill cupcake liners about half-full.

Bake 20-22 minutes until the tops are very, very light golden brown.

When cupcakes are completely cool, frost one-half with vanilla almond buttercream and one-half with chocolate buttercream.

Vanilla Almond Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, cream butter for one minute.

Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed to incorporate into the butter; this takes a few minutes.  I cover my mixer with a kitchen towel during this step to prevent a sugar storm.

Add salt, vanilla extract, almond extract, and one tablespoon milk; beat on medium speed for three minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.

Check the consistency; you may need an additional tablespoon of milk to reach an easily-spreadable consistency.

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk (you may need an additional teaspoon as well)

In a medium bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter for one minute.

Add powdered sugar/cocoa mixture and beat on low speed to incorporate as much into the butter as possible; this takes a few minutes.  I cover my mixer with a kitchen towel during this step to prevent a sugar storm.

Add salt, vanilla extract, and one tablespoon milk; beat on medium speed for three minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times.

Check the consistency; you may need to add an additional 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.  If this addition makes the frosting too thick, thin it slightly with one additional teaspoon of milk.

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2 thoughts on “Black & White Cupcakes

    • Quite right! There’s actually a story about Berger cookies with a recipe that I have for what King Arthur Flour calls Baltimore Black & Whites, which are apparently based on the Berger cookie. I often wonder how many years it’s been since my mom actually ate chocolate. Never in my lifetime, that I remember.

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