Cookbook Review: The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook

I was so incredibly excited to learn that my favourite local cupcake hotspot, Prairie Girl Bakery located in Toronto, Ontario was coming out with a cookbook with all the recipes of their cupcakes! I have been a huge fan since its opening back in 2012 and an even bigger fan throughout my pregnancies! For those of you who do not live anywhere near a Prairie Girl location, this is your chance to make these phenomenal cupcakes right in your own home.

The cookbook begins with a section outlining a couple pantry item staples to recreate these recipes, baking tools and equipment. If you want to create quality cupcakes and have the best outcome possible, I would highly recommend reading these sections as there are some very helpful tips. Recipes are divided into the following:

  • Everyday Cupcakes
  • Everyday Icings
  • Treats of the Week
  • Fruity Treats
  • Decadent Treats
  • Adults-Only Treats
  • Seasonal Treats
  • For the Kid at Heart
  • Gluten-Free Cupcakes
  • Vegan Cupcakes & Icings

The end of the book takes us to a useful mini section on toppers, favors and gifts, and displays all appropriate for the home baker.

The Recipes

Recipes are easy to follow and well organized. Ingredients are listed in order of use. All of the icings are made with brick cream cheese. (which I love!) My husband hates cream cheese (childhood trauma) but I just wont tell him it’s in the icing and he likely wont even know the difference. Ha!

Majority of the fruit icings require freeze-dried fruit in powder form. Since I am obsessed with the raspberry icing I went on a mission to find out where I can purchase it. It was a little more challenging than I had expected. I did seek out the recommended site in the book, nuts.com, which did carry all the powders. The downside- the shipping costs almost the same as the amount of product I was going to purchase and I just couldn’t justify it. (Cost of products:$16, shipping: $13) However, if I do have a special occasion to bake for, I would definitely consider purchasing…or better yet I’ll just call the bakery for the exact same price! I have also had issues finding malted milk powder in the past and likely wont attempt looking again as tasty as those Malted Milk Cupcakes look! One last ingredient that may be a challenge for the home baker to locate- all the extracts mentioned in various icings including natural coffee extract, toffee extract, caramel extract, maple extract.

That being said, you must know that Prairie Girl Cupcakes are among the highest quality, best tasting cupcakes you will ever have. These ingredients all attest to that and if you go out of your way to grab them, you will recreate the best cupcakes you have ever had in your life!

I managed to tackle the Dark Cocoa Cupcakes with Classic Vanilla Bean icing. Recipe and pictures below! The outcome was PHENOMENAL. They tasted EXACTLY like the famous Prairie Girl Cupcakes and they were ridiculously easy, which is why I only ended up taking pictures of the finished product. Comment below if you try.

DARK COCOA CUPCAKES

Yield: 36 minis, 18 regulars or 12 Prairie Girl-size cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the guar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Blend on low speed for 1 minute or until well mixed.
  3. With the mixer stopped, add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer twice during that time to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. With the mixer stopped again, pour in the boiling water. Blend at the lowest speed until combined, stopping the mixer once to scrap down the sides of the bowl. This batter is fairly thin.
  5. Place cupcake liners into the cupcake pan(s). Using a large measuring cup with a pouring lip, pour the batter into the liners. If making mini or regular cupcakes, fill each liner three-quarters full. If making Prairie Girl-size cupcakes, you can fill each liner right to the top (the “crown” in the pan allows the cupcakes to rise and not overflow)
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes for mini cupcakes, 17 to 18 minutes for the regular size, and 21 to 23 minutes for the Prairie-Girl size cupcakes. When done, the cupcakes will be rounded and the tops will spring back when lightly touched. If there is a raw circle in the centre, the cupcakes need a minute or two of additional baking time.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes until they can be easily removed to a rack. Cool the cupcakes completely on the rack before icing them.

 

CLASSIC VANILLA BEAN ICING

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups salted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 oz (3/4 of a 250g package) brick-style cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp whipping cream (35% fat)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 6 cups icing sugar

Directions:

  1. Place the butter, cream cheese, cream, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, and 3 cups of the icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  2. With the mixer on medium speed, add the rest of the icing sugar 1 cup at a time. Stop the mixer twice to scrap down the sides of the bowl, folding from the bottom until everything is blended together. This should take about 5 minutes in total.
  3. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat the icing for an additional 4 minutes.
  4. Frost or pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and enjoy.
FullSizeRender-9
Dark Cocoa Cupcakes with Classic Vanilla Bean Icing. I love that the vanilla bean seeds are visible!
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Dark Cocoa Cupcakes with Classic Vanilla Bean Icing

Overall, I absolutely loved this cookbook and I was super pleased with the quality of ingredients that go into each cupcake. I think The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook would be a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for the baker in your life..and if you live in Toronto, pick up a box of cupcakes, attach this cookbook, wrap in cellophane and voila, you have the perfect Valentine’s Day gift!

**All opinions and thoughts in this blog post are 100% my own. I received a copy of this cookbook from the most generous Appetite by Random House to give an honest review. You can purchase The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook by Jean Blacklock from Chapters.indigo.ca for $17.75 CAN. Price is subject to change.

To learn more about Appetite by Random House and other books they publish:

http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/imprints/appetite-random-house

Prairie Girl Bakery:

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