No food blog is complete without a basic go-to cupcake recipe. This recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan's "Perfect Party Cake". As its name implies, it makes the perfect cake. I've tried other so called "perfect" cake recipes and they just don't compare. This cake has the perfect level of moisture and a perfect texture. (Have I used the word "perfect" enough yet?)It's very light and airy, but it can still hold up to a heavy dosing of buttercream on top.
The cake also uses lemon zest and lemon extract. I thought it would be really lemony but it wasn't at all. It just added a brightness to the taste.
I chose to throw my favorite buttercream on top. It's the Magnolia Buttercream recipe and in my opinion it's the only buttercream recipe you need. It is so simple to make. It comes out perfect every time and, unlike other buttercreams, there is no cooking or shortening involved.
Cupcake Recipe: Adapted from "Baking: From my Home to Yours" - By Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 20 cupcakes
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter, and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and will aerated.
Fill each cupcake 3/4 full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch- a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool.
Buttercream Recipe: Adapted From Magnolia Bakery
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.