I am starting today's post with a long story today! So please bear with me, or just scroll down.
So if you've noticed my not-so-subtle urges for you to follow me on instagram embedded in posts recently (if you've followed me, thank you so much!), then you would know that I've just started owning an instagram account. I resisted owning one for so long because firstly, I don't have 3G and I think you would agree with me that one of the many pleasures of owning instagram is being able to post pictures relevant to your activity on the spot. There's greater enjoyment in posting the picture while you're still "in the moment" so to speak. If I own an instagram account, I would have to snap the picture and upload it when I get home or when I have access to wi-fi. It's not like it's an extremely bad thing but that would mean that I can only post at certain times and not too many at once, or risk spamming my followers.
The second reason as to why I was reluctant to sign up with instagram because I hate all that anxiety that comes with the need to become popular, or having many likes and followers. I've experience it before, and probably still do, with this blog. When I first started, I was obsessed with getting as many posts out and as many readers as possible. Every new high on my stats board sent coarses of adrenaline rushing through my bloodstream; every new follower gained could leave me giddy with happiness for hours. Just as these new "breakthroughs" made me so happy, every dip in readership, every follower lost could send me into spirals of disappointment. The loss of followers had a more profound impact.
Very soon, I found myself blogging just to get more noticed. I posted nearly every day at one point and then I stopped to ask myself, "Why am I doing this?" What is the point of blogging if quantity usurps quality? (I mean, I'm sure that some justification can be found for this but for the sake of argument...) I'm sure I'm not the only one who experiences this when you first own a blog. I actually browsed through some blogs at their very beginning in the past, and I found that people tend to post more at the start.
Essentially, I let the stats board take away some of the joys in blogging by becoming obsessed with becoming more "popular" each day. And as much as I told myself not to let it bother me, that content is more important, I can't help but check the stats board the first thing I do when I log into my Blogger account. (I still do it now.) I didn't want the same thing to happen to me when I get my instagram account. Till today, I feel a small twinge of jealousy when I notice the mountain of comments on a popular blog's post or the insane number of likes a post gets of Foodgawker; I've been blogging for close to three years now so I'm pretty sure I would fall into the same trap with instagram. Plus, I feel that there is more pressure on instagram to rise to fame and popularity. The number of followers is so clearly displayed on every user's profile page it's hard not to notice, and to be jealous about especially if yours is way inferior. Of course, I do acknowledge that not everyone feels this way. Maybe it's a teenage thing.
And you know what? After reflecting so much and trying to stop myself from having a "I wanna be popular" mindset I realised that yes I am obsessed with getting more followers on instagram. Sometimes I find myself subconsciously thinking that liking photos may get users to notice me and like me photos and follow me back (I am quite proud of my photo feed- can I say that?). But the thing is, is wanting to be popular all that bad? Hmm... That's some big plate of food for thought. I shall save my response for the next post.
But as of now, as superficial as it is, I get a heady rush of excitement whenever I gain a new follower. So if you will, you can find me @carramellatte.
I am so not getting twitter.
So hey I nearly kept to my promise! I said that the following post wouldn't feature chocolate and the only chocolate elements here are the chocolate glaze and white chocolate shell of the peanut butter cup. In fact, two of the cupcakes didn't have any chocolate glaze so I would say that I sort of made the mark?
You know that a cupcake is truly photogenic when you can be a crazy lunatic with the camera and manage to capture a beautiful picture every time. These cupcakes are so insanely gorgeous! Maybe it's because I've not baked in such a long time that I'm so overcome with emotion but seeing these cupcakes make me so darn proud of myself! What would my life be without baking? What would I have become? (I'm pretty sure that the answer is useless with a capital u.)
|can we have a moment of silence to revel in the beauty of these cupcakes?|
These cupcakes are so soft and moist I swear I thought I underbaked them. They also have a nice buttery eggy flavour that would make them absolutely. perfect. if not for the fact that they're still a tad sweet even after I'd reduced the sugar. But hey, that's easily remedied right? This recipe is definitely one of the best vanilla cake recipes I've ever tried and I encourage you to try it too!
I'm not so quick to dub being "easy to make" as one of a recipe's merits because I firmly believe that a good recipe is worth slaving over and laboring for. But in cases when you get an urge to bake in minutes nearing midnight (yes this is the story of these cupcakes) and really don't know how soon you will just feel like hitting the sack, leaving a recipe half-finished, this is definitely one you can count on for fast and delicious results.
Vanilla Peanut Butter Cupcakes
cake recipe adapted from here and peanut butter frosting recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen
makes 20 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (reduced from 2 cups)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
For the peanut butter frosting:
2 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
pinch of salt
3 tbsp heavy cream
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the water. Stir in the flour, sugar and sour cream until well blended. At this point, the mixture should be cool enough so as to not cook the eggs when you mix them in. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the vanilla extract, baking soda and salt until evenly combined.
Divide the batter amongst the paper liners and bake for about 16 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out mostly clean with only a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Cream the butter, peanut butter, salt, heavy cream and vanilla extract until combined. Beat in the icing sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Use immediately or chill for a while until firm enough to work with.