Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes

It's amazing how one little comment from an innocent bystander can have such a profound effect on my ego.  (Yes, my ego really is that fragile.)

There I was happily handing out vanilla cupcakes to a group of adults at a dinner party when I overheard someone use the word "dense" - I was devastated.  My confidence as a baker came crashing down in the split second that the word dense passed through my ear drum.  (Keep in mind that it's entirely possible that the word was not even used in any relation to my cupcakes.)  My attitude immediately changed from confident, cheerful baker to defeated and embarrassed baker who didn't want to even admit to being the baker of the cupcakes.  ONE WORD was all it took to make me question my competencies as a baker and the vanilla cupcake recipe that I had been baking and serving to people for years.


It took about a week for me to get over the initial shock, but once I did, I decided to look into the claim that my vanilla cupcake might be too "dense."  Could there be some truth to it?  Were my cupcakes "dense"?  Was there something that I could do to make them lighter?  Were they referring to the thick crowd of people in the room and not making reference to my cupcake at all?

Either way, I decided it was time to do some vanilla cupcake research and see where I could make improvements.  I turned to the internet to do some research on vanilla cupcake recipes.   What I discovered was that my portions of ingredients were spot on.  I did find was that people were using all sorts of different flours to change the texture of their cupcakes.  Everything from wheat flours to self rising flour to cake flours to all purpose flour.  After weeding through quite a few recipes, I finally settled on this recipe called Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes.  I was hopeful that this cupcake was going to be light, fluffy, full of vanilla flavor and definitely NOT dense.

Here goes nothing...

Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes
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 vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.
In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. 

Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.

With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. 

I was right - these cupcakes are fantastic.  My confidence has been restored.  I have a NEW vanilla cupcake recipe that makes perfectly light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes.  Yea! 


I will be cheerfully passing out cupcakes again with restored confidence.  (It's really a shame that my ego hinges on the quality of my cupcakes, isn't it?)  I'm kidding of course, but I am super excited about these new vanilla cupcakes.

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