Among few American-based foods that manage to successfully satisfy Russian appetite, cupcakes stand on the uppermost of the list. Busy cupcake shops are appearing here and there on the street of Moscow. American restaurants and bakery shop in Moscow are providing cupcakes as unmissable offering on the menu for every season. If those do not prove the popularity of cupcakes, then nothing will.
As time goes on, Russian people also create their own twist on the delectable mini treat to make it their own. Currently, the term “Russian Cupcakes” has become synonymous with a separate kind of mini cake which contains different ingredients compared to the original cupcakes from American cookbooks. Not only it is a favorite among Russian families, many other foreigners who have tasted it will be hooked by its decadent qualities too.
What makes Russian Cupcakes become one phenomenal cake? There are various reasons. In addition to the ingredients which are uniquely Russian, it is also said to invoke nostalgic feelings of the far away childhood and mothers handmade cakes. Russian unparalleled love for rich and creamy desserts also helps to put cupcakes into the list of most favorite confectioneries of all times for many people.
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How to Make Russian Cupcakes
Outwardly, Russian cupcakes can be distinguished by its white frosting. Although it can be glazed and garnished with different colors, but white frosting is still the most popular preference. There are also dozens variations on how to make Russian cupcakes, from the easiest to the most arduous recipes, with one similarity: the inclusion of typical Russian liquor such as Vodka and Kahlua (White Russian) for the cake and buttercream batter.
Here is a five-step recipe that you can try at home to actually understand what makes Russian Cupcakes become one phenomenal cake. Don’t worry because they are very easy and you will only need ordinary baking ingredients that can be found in any grocery stores. Probably, these stuffs are even available in your own kitchen cupboards already!
- 2 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of Vodka (or other type of liqueur you like)
- 1/4 cup of Kahlua (or other type of liqueur you like)
Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
- 2 sticks of butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar (to taste)
- 4 Tablespoons Kahlua (to taste)
- To make the cupcake, mix all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Leave it aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar in another bowl, add eggs and egg whites one by one. Add vanilla, Vodka, and Kahlua, blend well. Put in the flour mixture little by little, alternating with milk until they are mixed well.
- Pour the cupcake mixture into the mold and cook in the oven. After they are cooked well, leave them to cool.
- To make the white frosting, beat butter until creamy, then add sugar and beat again. Put in the Kahlua, then beat again till you reached the right consistency. In this step, you can increase or decreas the portion of powdered sugar and Kahlua in accordance with your own taste.
- Glaze the cupcake with the frosting mixture. You can use piping tips to make it prettier. You can also add chocolate shavings, chocolate powder, colorful sprinkles, or other decorative items as garnishes.
Intangible Qualities of Russian Cupcakes
Looking at the recipe, you may not think the Russian cupcakes are especially exquisite. However, try make one and eat it, then you will understand why so many people can’t get enough of it. Aside of its deliciousness, Russian cupcakes has grown its own formidable characteristics that makes many bakeries gravitate around it. What are they? Here is some of them.
First, decorating cupcakes is an art on its own. As Russian cupcakes grow into a household favorite, so do the number of Russian piping tips and techniques that can be used to frost and decorate the cupcakes. There is even an article that promotes 70 different Russian piping tips! Starting from ordinary star and clam-like pattern to the more complicate nozzles that may result in delicate rose, tulip, and magnolia petals. Although the Russian piping tips are not actually made in Russia, but the huge variety of piping tips contribute to the Russian cupcakes phenomenon.
Second, American cupcakes do not necessarily require any liquor in its cake and cream frosting mixture, but Russian cupcakes do. This may make them less favorable for you who avoid liquors for religious or health reasons, but this is one of the main qualities that makes Russian cupcakes addictive for some other people. Just consider that you can adjust the proportion of the liquor quite easily, also use any liquor you want. Other than Vodka and Kahlua, Russian cupcakes also can be made using Baileys, rum, or red wine.
Third, Russian cupcakes may be an impressive and inexpensive option for adult parties, as opposed to American cupcakes which is more of an asset for children parties. How come? Exactly because of the liquors. It is a pretty handy choice for birthdays and wedding anniversaries, also Christmas and any other dinner parties. They are not difficult to make, also can be personalized with different liquor fillings and decorative frosting. What more do you need? Well, if cupcakes are not enough, you may choose other Russian cakes for your birthday party like the Prague cake or Medovik Cake.
Lastly, when you are older, Russian cupcakes become the dessert version of comfort food. It may bring you back to the glorious feeling of youth and the warmth of a family. As mentioned by CEO Steve Abrams in an interview to mark the opening of a branch of Magnolia Bakery in Moscow, “Why do people like cupcakes? I don’t know. They’re small and cute. People have different tastes, and there can be as many cupcakes as there are tastes. They remind you of the childhood, of grandma’s and mama’s cooking, of something nostalgic. Cupcakes create an emotional bond.”