Ok I know it's been a while since I blogged. Things have been a little crazy lately. First there was finals which is busy season for me since I run a tutoring company. Then I was on vacation in Miami for 3 weeks (I know, tough life) and while I did do a little baking, I didn't take any pictures. Now I'm finally back home and starting to settle into routine again. So I bring you these...
We had some friends coming over the night to play board games and I really wanted to try out a new decorating tip that I got so I figured I'd whip up a batch of cupcakes. To me, finding the perfect cupcake recipe is sort of like finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Everyone has their own favorite and even when you find one that you think is the best, you just can't help yourself from trying other ones. Well, I'm glad I kept trying new recipes because this one is amazing.
The cupcakes came out perfect. I've made cupcakes that have sunk in the middle, that have been dry, that have a top that's too domed, etc. And while they all taste good, I want one that tastes good AND looks good. Really, is that too much to ask? Well this is it. The cake was flavorful, moist, and it rose just the right amount leaving a perfect canvas for frosting.
For the frosting I made a Vanilla Bean Buttercream. I always use Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream recipe which is simple and delicious. However, I had been seeing a fair amount of recipes with shortening in them lately so I decided to add about a tablespoon of shortening to the recipe. This really gives the buttercream some stability. I took half the buttercream and added a vanilla bean and I took the other half an added a few spoonfuls of cocoa powder. The vanilla buttercream was amazing. I could (and perhaps did) eat that stuff by the spoonful. The chocolate? Eh. I don't think cocoa powder is the way to go for chocolate buttercream. Next time, I'll be less lazy and actually use melted chocolate.
I got the recipe from My Baking Addiction who got it from Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America. Be sure to check out her blog because she turns the cake into Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes which look divine! The original recipe is for a an 8" cake, but if you want to make cupcakes just fill the cupcakes about 2/3 full and bake for 18 - 20 minutes. (Note: I cut the recipe in half and got 16 cupcakes)
Recipe: Yellow Butter Cake from Culinary Institute of America
- 3 ½ c cake flour
- 2 c sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 c (2 sticks) butter, unsalted, diced, at room temperature
- 1 c whole or low-fat milk (divided use)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat two 8” cake pans lightly with cooking spray
- Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and ½ cup of the milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- In a separate bowl, blend the eggs, egg whites, the remaining ½ cup milk and the vanilla extract. Add to the batter in 3 additions, mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Scrape down the bowl between additions.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake until the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center, 35-40 minutes.
- Remove the layers from the oven and cool completely in their pans on wire racks. Release the sides and bottom of the layers from the pans with a narrow metal spatula or a table knife before unmolding and finishing with fillings and icings.