Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vanilla-Vanilla Cupcakes


I've really become quite fond of making cupcakes. Well, and eating them too. They are quick to make and easy to eat. A cupcake a day keeps all your blues away (but not your waistline). My favorite is a yellow cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting, which is also my basic (foundation) yellow cupcake and frosting recipe. The recipes can be modified to make chocolate or several other types of flavors.

I dubed this my Vanilla-Vanilla Cupcakes (or Vanilla Squared Cupcakes) and used vanilla sugar in the batter. Vanilla sugar is easy to make if you have a vanilla bean. Combine the vanilla bean and sugar in a jar with a lid. Close lid and let sit for several days. Sugar will smell and taste (a bit) like vanilla. I try to keep some on hand for baking.

I kind of switch back and forth in the type of flour that I use, depending on the type of cake I want. If you prefer a slightly crumblier type of cake, use only all-purpose flour. If you like more of a cakier, pound cake like texture, substitute 1/2 cup of the flour with cake flour. The recipe below is for the latter. I really enjoy pound cake and find that this vanilla frosting goes very well with the cake. The vanilla frosting is sweet but not overly sweet like many of the ones out there. I have yet to try the recipe with all cake flour.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (vanilla sugar if you have it)
1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, softened (I like to use LAND O LAKES)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (I use whole milk)

Vanilla Frosting:
1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, softened (I like to use LAND O LAKES)
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 pinch of table salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Note that I actually use 325 degrees because my muffin pan is the non-stick, darker kind. By turning down the oven temp and "maybe" extending the cooking time (just a wee bit) will prevent the cupcakes from getting a little too dark on the bottom and sides. Keep them light and tender!

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat sugar and butter on medium speed until creamy, scraping bowl occasionally to ensure thorough mixing. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each one. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to slow and alternately add flour mixture and then the milk, mixing after each addition. I add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix, followed by half of the milk and mix, then anther 1/3 flour mixture and mix, then the remaining milk and mix, and finally the remaining flour mixture and mix just until everything is incorporated. (Did you get all that?) Don't over beat the batter or the cupcakes can get tough. Scraping down the sides of bowl down as needed will help. Remember, keep them light and tender!

Divide batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4th full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. This will be about 18-20 minutes. If baking at the lower temperature, I still recommend checking the cupcakes around 18 minutes but it usually takes 20 minutes in my oven in my pan.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the rack and cool completely. You can use a butter knife to help get the cupcakes out of the pan. Cooling can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

Prepare the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling. Put the butter in a bowl and beat on medium-high speed until the butter is creamy and pale in color. This may take up to 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Mix well after each addition, scraping the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and salt. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until smooth, for about 1 minute.

Frost the cupcakes. I like to use an open flower tip to create various decorations just because I suck at frosting with a small offset spatula. I also don't mind too much on cleaning. I'm still practicing with other type of tips, too, just for the fun of it.

Frosted cupcakes can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Now go and eat well.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I made the cupcakes over the weekend (thanks for sending the recipe to me). I think you nailed the recipe with using the cake flour. These are the best yellow cupcakes I've had, no kidding! It reminds me of a type of Filipino cake that I love. I love poundcake and this one is awesome. Tastes just like it! And it was so easy to make, too. Love it! --Kim

Barefoot Plumies said...

Hey Kim! I'm so glad you like the recipe. Being an easy recipe is like a double edge sword. So easy that I whip up a batch when I'm out. lol! Let me know if you decide to try different flavors.

Nicole said...

Yum! I don't make cupcakes very often but I'm thinking that might have to change! Yours are very cute :-)

Barefoot Plumies said...

Thanks, Nicole! I didn't make them much either until a couple of months ago. You can say I'm kind of addicted to them now. :-D

KirkK said...

Hi CAB - Those are mighty good looking cupcakes.....I wouldn't blame anyone for drooling on their keyboard after looking at your photo.

Barefoot Plumies said...

Thanks Kirk! These are very addictive. I've already gotten a few requests to bake some more. Thank goodness they are easy to make.

mothermayi said...

i love cupcakes! i'm going to make some this weekend. where did you get your flower tip and for how much? i don't have one, but i was thinking about something i read, putting the frosting in a plastic bag, cutting a small hole at a corner and squeezing it out. have you ever tried that/does it work?

thanks for another recipe i can put in my personal archive

Barefoot Plumies said...

Hi Sawyer! I have used a ziploc bag with no tips before. It's not as pretty but works okay. Great for filling stuff too. Start with a small cut first and test the size of piping.

I just got the Wilton Master Tip set. Comes with 52 tips, more than I'll ever need. But there are smaller and cheaper sets (Michael's, Jo-Ann crafts, some Walmarts). Wilton or Ateco are the most popular, both are good. Wilton has a nice cupcake decorating kit (5 tips I think) for about $8.

I don't have a pastry bag but will probably pick one up. I just had a ziploc bag explode on me, hehe.

I hope you like the cupcakes. Let me know how the cupcakes turn!

Barefoot Plumies said...

I should mention in case anyone is interested in adding color to the frosting. This frosting takes food coloring pretty well, doesn't become as runny as other recipes. But I recommend color gel if you got it. I also found that the frosting tends to get a bit thick to pipe if overmixed when adding a lot of gel coloring. If this happens, add a tablespoon of milk (maybe 2) and then beat. This will help thin the frosting.

Anonymous said...

Guess I know where I stand since Kim got the recipe first. But I'll still make these because they were good (Kim brought some over, lol!).

sherry

Barefoot Plumies said...

You're too much, Sherry. I'm glad you liked them. Maybe we should do some kind of cupcake exchange program.