Saturday, March 26, 2011

Birthday Cupcakes.

Today's post, loosely related to birthdays, is dedicated to the fabulous Alexandra Whitney, who celebrated a birthday this week AND is the reason this blog exists. You should check out her blog for a photo of the cupcakes I talk about below.

I have always had the best jobs in the world. How often does one get assigned "make cupcakes"? The correct answer is twice--and I'm not even including the number of times I've been asked to make muffins.

On this occassion we were celebrating two birthdays. I find that when I make birthday anything for anyone I always appreciate specifics. Jordan, for example, requested peanut butter and chocolate. It was easy for me to go above and beyond with a chocolate drizzle and some crunchy peanuts (see top image). My friends, those were some bangin' cupcakes.

The other cupcakes were a lackluster vanilla with chocolate ganache. I hadn't yet discovered my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, which I will now share with you.

I have been making these vanilla cupcakes all the ever-lovin' time. They are my go-to, my signature simple dessert. They tow the line between light and airy and rich and dense, living in some kind of perfect cupcake utopia. I often use this recipe for mini-cupcakes, and if I make the larger version, they almost always get some kind of filling (jam, pastry cream, etc). I suspect most of you have a favorite frosting, but the Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Buttercream is to die for (thank God for Martha Stewart).

I still haven't found the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe. Any suggestions?

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes about 2 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. In a small bowl, combine flours; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, and scraping down sides of bowl in between each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

  2. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in tins for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins, and cool completely on rack. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Serve at room temperature.

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