Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Cupcake, where have you been all my life?
I've been looking for ages for a cake like this. You'd think that a basic vanilla cake would be easy, but no, it's the simple things that are the hardest -- every recipe I've ever tried either came out heavy and flavorless or tasted like chemicals. (Any recipe that uses cake flour is a non-starter for me, 'cause it just tastes bad.) Every attempt gave me another moment of weakness, another time when I thought that maybe I should just stick with boxed mixes -- somehow, they get it right, flavor-wise at least.
Fast-forward to this June, and I found myself in New York City on my birthday, in need of some cake, 'cause hey, what's a birthday without cake? I decided to try the much-talked-about Magnolia Bakery, and I got a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting. And it was awesome. Well, great, it's easy enough to like someone else's cake, but what about mine? Well, lucky me, Magnolia has a cookbook (multiple ones, in fact). And lucky me, my then-boyfriend's sister (we're engaged now, eeeee! :) ) got me one of those cookbooks as a belated birthday present. :)
And yet somehow, amid all of the cookie-baking, I didn't find a good opportunity for cupcake-baking until right before Christmas, when I was supposed to be bringing a desert to a Christmas party, and I'd decided to bring chocolate cupcakes, 'cause my honey's nephew had asked for them and I'd promised. The more I thought about it, the more I saw this as an opportunity to try out the Magnolia recipe and please the non-chocolate-lovers (there are always a few) at the same time.
The results were promising. In my opinion, the frosting was too sweet, overpowering the cake. But the cake itself, eaten alone, was delicious Yay, vanilla cake win! I'll definitely make this cake again, but next time, I'll probably use the chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream from the chocolate cupcakes. I always like yellow cake with chocolate frosting better, anyway. :)
From "The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook"
1 1/2 c self-rising flour (I doubled this recipe, rather than buy a special flour)
1 1/4 c regular all-purpose flour
1 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
1 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 c butter, softened
6-8 c confectioners' sugar
1/2 c milk
2 tsp vanilla
1. Whisk together the flours and set aside.
2. Pour the milk and vanilla together in a large cup.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then, beat in the dry ingredients and the milk mixture, alternating between them, until just combined.
4. Spoon into 24 cupcake papers. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pans, then remove and cool on a rack.
5. Beat together the butter, 4 cups of the confectioners' sugar and the milk and vanilla. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar. Frost cupcakes.