The Yum Yum Cupcake
Happy New Year and all that. In the post-Christmas haze of cold days and frosty car windows, I’ve been hibernating a wee bit, except to go to work, the gym and the massive Lululemon warehouse sale here in Ottawa. Nothing says, “Go out in the freezing cold and brave insane line-ups,” like discount Lulu. Since I haven’t had any commissions lately, I’ve been trying to let my body recover from the holiday gluttony. However, I have recently taken up my obsession with the Food Network again after a lengthy hiatus. It’s like I’m at the scene of an accident watching Eat St., Drive-Ins Diners and Dives, You Gotta Eat Here and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. I can’t look away and I think there might be drool accumulating in the corners of my mouth. What are they trying to do to me? What am I doing to myself?
I became hooked when an episode of Eat St. featured a honest-to-goodness cupcake truck run by two gay guys in 50s soda fountain gear, called the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck. Totally awesome! I want to go there now! My parents are currently snow-birding in southern Florida and I’ve been imploring them to go to this truck for me. “Try the cupcakes. Send me a menu! Get me a t-shirt!” You’d think I was a Twihard stalking RPatz.
There is some precedence for this behaviour. I visited Georgetown Cupcakes (the basis for TLC’s D.C. Cupcakes) when visiting a dear friend in Virginia over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. I got there early, missed the lineup, and squirreled away with two cupcakes (I couldn’t decide): the Chocolate PB Chip Cupcake and the Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Maple Frosting, complete with a little red maple leaf. How could I resist that? I had heard that their cupcakes were dry, but for my personal taste, they were not dry. I did find that the frosting, which was icing sugar-based, was too sweet for me and I left half of each for my friend, which is a sure sign that I wasn’t completely in love. Since I lean toward Swiss Meringue Buttercream and the ganache frequencies, I would have been much better off with the Chocolate Ganache or the Salted Caramel, but since these are cupcakes that I make fairly often, I thought to broaden my horizons–and I panicked just a little with all the choices available. Maybe there is something to be said for “stick with what you like,” if not “stick with what you know.” Otherwise, how would we ever come up with new recipes? By the way, TV really does make everything look bigger; their shop is so very tiny! When I walked by again later, there was a lineup outside the door. Oh, and lastly, no, I didn’t meet the sisters, who were nowhere in sight.
Back to Yum Yums….the Yum Yum cupcake that really drew my attention is apparently their #1 seller: a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting and a drizzle of chocolate. When I first started making cupcakes, being a lover of peanut butter, I searched out recipes for peanut butter frosting. I noticed that there is a tendency to pair peanut butter with cream cheese, which didn’t get my engines revving. I finally decided last Easter to pair peanut butter with SMB because, you know, SMB doesn’t have enough fat in it already. I was very happy with the result, which was paired with a white cake and caramelized bananas; but I have to say, for cupcake purposes SMB can be heavy unless it is thinned out. I also think that there is a general prejudice against or unwritten rule about using SMB on cupcakes because in most cupcake shops the predominant topping is a frosting or ganache. Maybe it’s a cost thing??? When I had tried PB frosting without the cream cheese I was disappointed because something was missing. Then I met the guys from Yum Yum and they were kind enough to tell North America what they put in their peanut butter frosting: peanut butter, butter, icing sugar and whipping cream. Yum, yum!
This past weekend my diminutive helper, 4-year-old Luca, and I made Devil’s Food Cupcakes from Martha’s Cupcakes book. I love this recipe because it seems to be no-fail, with the big domes that I love and a moist texture. I cored the centre and put some Dark Chocolate Frosting, sort of like a ganachey, truffley goodness, in some cupcakes and in others I put some Chocolate Frosting. Topping all of this salty goodness (no, it wasn’t really salty, I’ve just always wanted to say that) was what I like to think of as Yum Yum’s Peanut Butter Frosting (the proportions having been obtained from an obliging website) and a swirl of homemade Mrs. Field’s Hot Fudge Sauce. I fooled with the recipe a wee bit, so here’s my take:
Yum Yum’s Peanut Butter Frosting à la Christie’s Cakes
1/2 cup Kraft Light Peanut Butter (because that’s what was in the cupboard)
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
Splash of pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
2 cups sifted icing sugar
~2 oz whipping cream
Cream the butter and PB together. Add the vanilla and mix, but don’t worry overmuch if it doesn’t emulsify. Add the icing sugar in 1/2 cup increments, mixing well between each addition (this is the secret to no lumps). Slowly add the whipping cream until the frosting becomes lighter and airier.
As Luca said, licking his lips, “Yum, Yum!”
Addendum: I really should have made a proper shout out to the Yum Yum guys. Not that I want to send you off in the direction of another cupcake shop, but being that they are in Orlando and I’m in Ottawa, I think there is enough cupcake love for everyone. These guys rock, so if you’re in the area, please give them a taste test and let me know what you think.