January 7, 2015

Cake Batter Muffins

Once upon a time, there was a food blogger who had been invited to a friend's house for brunch. The food blogger didn't want to show up to the brunch empty handed, as she was kinda-sorta a semi-professional amateur of baked goods. But the food blogger happened to not be in much of a mood to bake (or have much in her pantry to bake with). Something simple would be ideal, something easy that didn't take much effort.

The food blogger spotted a jar of Homemade Yellow Cake Mix she had used the week earlier to make Cake Batter Truffles. What could be easier? She'd make cupcakes!

But, the food blogger realized, a cup of the mix was missing for the truffles, and that would throw off the measurements. Plus, she really didn't feel like making frosting. Luckily, this food blogger lived in the era of "cake batter ALL the things" and knew that cake mix could be used for more than just cake. She decided to use the leftover mix as a muffin base instead. She replaced the missing mix with whole wheat flour. She was low on eggs, so she replaced 2 of them with unsweetened applesauce. She became worried that the whole wheat flour and applesauce would make the muffins too dense, so she used buttermilk instead of regular milk. Then she added sprinkles, just for funsies.

These last minute muffins turned out so good that the food blogger resolved to put them on her food blog, but had no time to take photographs of them. It wasn't until many moons later that the food blogger remembered the muffins and whipped them up again, and they were just as good as remembered.
Okay, fairy tales aside, these muffins are in no way, shape, or form healthy. It's pretty much still cake. I tried to healthify them a bit with the whole wheat flour and unsweetened applesauce, and some of the sugar and fat goes away when you remove that cup of mix, but it's not enough to tick the healthy column. These are not New Year's resolution muffins; these are a way to eat cake for breakfast muffins.

Not that I have a problem with cake for breakfast, I'm just putting that out there.

And these are definitely more like cake than muffins. They are soft and moist, but the whole wheat flour gives them a subtle heartiness. They are denser than cake, but not too dense, and they have that great cake batter flavor which is what makes them so darn special.

Plus, they are so dang easy to make. Even making the mix, it took me maybe ten minutes of prep time. If you have the mix premade, it would take no time at all to get to the oven. Easy clean up too, with only one bowl and one whisk to put everything together.

Now, this recipe only works with my homemade yellow cake mix. I don't know how it would translate with a box mix, or another yellow cake mix recipe. My best guess would be to replace the oil with applesauce, the water with buttermilk, and a cup of the mix with whole wheat flour. But again, I haven't tried it, so you shouldn't take that as gospel. (If you try it, let me know!)
Cake Batter Muffins
Yield: 18 muffins

Homemade Yellow Cake Mix (minus 1 cup of mix)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract 
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cake mix and whole wheat flour. Mix in the wet ingredients until smooth (some lumps are fine). Fold in the sprinkles.

Line a cupcake tin with paper liners and fill 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

Note: you can use the leftover mix to make cake batter truffles

Recipe by Kim