Baking Day 6: Ever Microwave a Bowl of Cereal? (Honey Nut Cheerio Cupcakes)

I realize now why people call baking a science. Sure, recipes can be flexible, and you can play with a limitless variety of flavors. As for the basics, they don’t change. Certain ingredients and techniques are like the elements of an equation. Messing with them drastically alters the results. Ignoring one little step can be the difference between a light or dense cake. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Since my last two selections were chocolate, I went with a vanilla cupcake this time. I didn’t want to make plain vanilla though because I’ve already done that. While surfing a recipe app (anyone use Yummly?) I stumbled across cereal flavors, like these Honey Nut Cheerio Cupcakes. There’s always a box of Honey Nut Cheerios in our cabinet so I thought everyone would enjoy it. Other than the cereal, which I knew we had, all the other ingredients were basics. (Note this is not a paid advertisement for Honey Nut Cheerios.)

The recipe was simple, though microwaving the cereal in milk was weird. In case anyone wants to know what that looks like:

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The recipe says to remove the cereal from milk “using a fork or your clean fingers.” I preferred a slotted spoon, but hey, to each their own. It also involved mixing honey and vanilla extract, which is now my new favorite scent. Though Warm Vanilla Sugar was always my favorite from Bath and Body Works.

Here’s the results:

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As you can tell by the frosting can on the counter, I didn’t make my own. In my defense I wanted to use up what was in the fridge and my mom always asks me to leave some without frosting. Good call on her part because we’ve been having these for breakfast as well as dessert – appropriate for cereal cupcakes. The honey flavor really comes through, but again, I wouldn’t be able to tell they were specifically “Honey Nut Cheerio” cupcakes. Which I suppose is a good thing for people turned off by the idea of cereal as an ingredient.

While I loved the honey, the cake itself was dense again. Still enjoyable but very, very dense. This is getting frustrating. When I Googled the problem I came across “cold ingredients” or “overmixing” as the most common culprits. This makes sense because I never leave the butter out long enough, and apparently I overmix the hell out of the batter. Next time, I’m leaving the butter out at least an hour and stopping the second ingredients are mixed.

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