Thursday, March 8, 2012

What's Cookin' Wednesday -- Thursday Edition!

So, about 6-10 times a year I get on a baking kick. Like it will be 9:30pm and I'll NEED a cupcake to save my life. But it's not like we keep cupcakes in the pantry and we don't have the Sprinkles ATM yet..

Therefore, I will browse pinterest and blogs for a couple minutes until I find a recipe worth trying. Then I'll dart out in the middle of the night to buy cupcake ingredients. Yea, it's a little crazy.

I came across Glorious Treats. This chick claimed to have finally found the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. Who doesn't love a good vanilla cupcake? I certainly do. She said she tried and tried, batch after batch all week long until she found it. Please note, she was tweaking her own recipe. I hugely respect bakers who can even make up their own recipes. Like on Chopped, when they don't even measure their ingredients and somehow come out with a cupcake? or crepe? or whathaveyou? That's amazing. I am by the book only when it comes to baking. Or anything, for that matter.

I am pasting this recipe directly from the Glorious Treats blog.

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
1/2 cup buttermilk
(or 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice- add acid to the milk then set aside for 5 minutes before using)

* Preheat oven to 350*F.
* In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
* In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat.
* Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add half of the milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.  
* The batter will be thin.   Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full. 
* Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes. 
* Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.
* Frost as desired when fully cool.  I love to use my favorite Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. 

Mix dry ingredients, minus sugar. Set aside.

Eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil.

Add in the flour mixture. 

Only fill them 1/2-2/3 full. I think I always do more like 3/4 so they are way too full and bubble over.

Taadaaa! I think they looked great!

Now for her American Buttercream Frosting. Again, pasted from her blog.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter (salted, or unsalted)
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (best quality available)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, half and half or milk.

*Optional- As mentioned above, I like a cream cheese version of this frosting best.  The cream cheese adds to the creamy texture, and cuts down on the sweetness just a bit.  If desired, for a very light cream cheese flavor add 1/2 block (4 oz). cream cheese, leaving the other ingredients (as listed above) the same.  For a more traditional cream cheese flavor, reduce the butter to 1/2 cup, and add 1 block (8 oz.) of cream cheese.  If using a full block of cream cheese, you can reduce the cream or milk to 1 tablespoon total.
Flavoring options- An almost unlimited number of flavoring options can be added in addition to, or instead of the vanilla.  Orange and/or lemon zest, citrus extracts, mint extract, coconut extract or the seeds of a vanilla bean are all wonderful options.  In most cases I'll still add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, then 1/2 teaspoon of the other flavoring.  For zest, add about 1 teaspoon fresh zest.  For chocolate buttercream, add 1/2 cup (good quality) unsweetened cocoa powder.

* In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter (on medium speed) until completely smooth (30 seconds to a minute). (If you are adding cream cheese, add it now, then beat until smooth)
* Add salt (if needed).
* One cup at time, add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating after each addition.
* Add vanilla, or other flavorings and beat to combine. 
* Add about 1 tablespoon of cream, and continue beating.
* Add the remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, one at a time.
* Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons cream until desired consistency is reached.  If you want to pipe the frosting on cupcakes, the frosting should be nice and thick.  Continue to beat another minute or so.  The frosting should now be smooth and fluffy.

I made my frosting green. :)

My goofy frosting skills. :)

A couple other trials.

Hubby eating a perfect vanilla cupcake!

Please pardon the no makeup face....... 

And baby boy liked them! *note to self* no more cupcakes before bedtime..

So, these were really good. I think I left them baking for a tad too long. But that's so hard to tell.. 

And another thing. Buttercream. I thought I could never get it right.. that it was always missing something. But you know what? I think I do it perfectly, but that I just don't love buttercream! You know? It is SO buttery. Next time I want to try her Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. 

So, I definitely recommend this cupcake recipe! They were light and fluffy, but mine got a tiny bit crispy around the edges. Hope you enjoy them too!

Happy baking!

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