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Friday, March 21, 2014

my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe

I like my cupcakes simple and delicious.  And I've found (and perfected) a recipe that gives me just that.  I don't share recipes often on here, but this was just so good I needed to shout this cupcake recipe from the rooftops (blogtops?)!  Hope you enjoy and please be patient with my venture into recipe sharing.

Vanilla cupcakes: adapted from Martha Stewart.  Makes 24 cupcakes. 

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter (I used salted, but recipe called for unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with liners. 

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and add vanilla.   Mix together flour, backing powder, and salt in seperate bowl.  Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour.  

Divide batter evenly amoung liners, filling each about 3/4 full.  Bake about twenty minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (my cupcake liners were taller, so my cupcakes took closer to twenty-five minutes to bake).  Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. 

Buttercream Icing with a Twist: adapated from the Food Network.  Enough icing for 24 cupcakes.
(spoiler alert: the twist is cream cheese)

3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter (softened)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk or whipping cream
4 ounces cream cheese (softened)

Beat together butter, cream cheese, and sugar.  Add vanilla and milk.  Beat on high for 1-2 minutes until icing is light and fluffy.  Taste and add various ingredients until you like your consistency and taste.  The beauty of any icing recipe is that you don't have to worry about the amounts of each ingredient being exactly right like you do for something you'd bake.  Icing is all about what tastes good.  Play around with it until it tastes delectable (although you shouldn't have to do too much since I've done a lot of the tinkering for you - the addition of cream cheese does wonders for this recipe).   
To get the purple color above I added 16 drops red food coloring and 12 drops blue food coloring.  To get the piped icing look without an actual piping bag, I added the whole batch of icing to a large ziplock bag, pushed as much air out as I could, then cut off the very tip of one of the corners (I always start small and gradually work bigger if I want more icing to come out).  Then youtube a video of pastry chef adding icing to something and do your best impression of them (here and here).  I start my icing swirl on the outside, then twirl my wrist around to get the slight pyramid shape on top of each cupcake.  Add some sprinkles to the top and you're set! 

*If your icing seems to be sliding or not sitting well on your cupcake, first check to make sure your cupcake is completely cooled.  Don't want your icing melting!  Second, check the temperature of your icing.  If it's too warm, let it cool off in the fridge for a bit then try again. 

Happy baking and happy spring!

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