Sunday, January 12, 2014
52 Recipes: Best Vanilla Cupcakes (Week #2)
Wake up without an alarm. (That's key!)
Eat breakfast. (I'm one of those annoying people who wakes up ravenously hungry.)
Brew some coffee.
Read a good book for a few hours. (I finished Attachments this weekend; Oh So Good.)
Cuddle with my dog.
I could happily spend the majority of my weekend baking. I find immense satisfaction in it, in unwrapping bright yellow sticks of butter, measuring out the flour and sugar, cracking the eggs, smelling the delicious aroma of cake wafting through the air, sneaking a few licks of batter, whipping the frosting. It's seriously therapeutic and one of the (many) reasons I would love to open some sort of bakery/coffee shop one day.
So this weekend, for no reason at all, I decided to bake vanilla cupcakes. Now, I'm usually a chocolate girl - I find vanilla by itself to be boring and outdated. But these cupcakes are seriously phenomenal. Surprisingly moist, just the right amount of sweetness, bursting with vanilla flavor (I can only imagine how much better they would be with real vanilla bean in addition to the extract). I paired them with a frosting I've made in the past from Sweetapolita, and they were simply divine. The next time someone I know has a birthday coming up, I'll have the perfect birthday cake recipe to use!
Best Vanilla Cupcakes
Source: Cookies and Cups
Serves: 24 (I halved this recipe and got exactly 12 cupcakes)
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 1/4 all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup milk (I only had unsweetened coconut milk on hand, so I used that, and could not taste a difference)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pan with liners or spray with nonstick spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, salt) and mix on low for just a minute until combined. Keeping the mixer on low, begin to drop the butter in a few cubes at a time, until all the butter is added and the mixture begins to resemble coarse sand. Add the eggs one at a time, keeping the mixer on low speed and scraping down the sides as necessary. Slowly pour in the milk and vanilla. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for 1-2 minutes until the batter is completely smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. I only did this for about 45 seconds; because I live in a higher altitude, my cupcakes already tend to sink in the middle and overmixing can contribute to that.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full (this equates to about 1/4 cup batter) and bake for 15-20 minutes until the centers are set and a tester comes out clean. Mine were ready at exactly 17 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
Whipped Vanilla Frosting
Slightly adapted from: Sweetapolita
Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
2 cups confectioners/powdered sugar, sifted (I was lazy and did not sift mine - ha!)
2 Tbsp. milk (again - used unsweetened coconut milk here)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the softened butter for 8 minutes on medium speed until the butter becomes pale and creamy. Add sugar, milk, and vanilla. Mix on low speed for 1 minute and then increase to medium speed for 6 minutes. Frost as desired. This frosting is delicious. So quick and easy!