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I'm Baking… Thursdays #2 {Vanilla Cupcakes}

May 9, 2012
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It’s time for some sweetness. Who doesn’t love a cupcake. That perfect piece of cake goodness with rich frosting and some colorful sprinkles. So many possibilities, so many variations… but always a contended sigh after that first bite.

A few years ago, I started making cupcakes for the kids for their birthday parties. Each child was able to have his/her own piece, all the same size and same amount of frosting… less fighting that way. I would usually make a batch of yellow and a batch of chocolate depending on the kids preference. And they always came from a boxed mix.

I didn’t realize how easy it is to make cupcakes from scratch and how much better they taste. This recipe is very simple and straight forward but is easily adapted to other flavors.

I love the cupcake tower.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup milk, at room temperature

Frosting for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium high, or with a hand mixer at medium high, until fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed.

Beat in the vanilla.

Reduce the mixer to medium low, beat in half of the flour mixture, then all of the milk, then the remaining flour mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Rotating the pan halfway through.

Remove cupcakes from pan after about 5 minutes and let cool completely. Top with frosting.

Frosting:

Mix together 1 egg white, some milk, powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. The amount of powdered sugar varies, depending on how thick you want the frosting.

I piped the frosting on with a pastry bag and attachment. Middle daughter added the sprinkles and also used some food coloring to color some of the frosting.

*Note: Recipe courtesy of The Food Network Magazine.



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I'm baking… Vanilla Pound Cake

April 21, 2012

A few weeks ago, the week before Easter to be precise, I got the urge to try my hand at baking again. Not just the quick out of the box kind of baking. I wanted to start from scratch, measure the ingredients myself and try my luck.

My first project (for Easter)  were Hot Cross Buns after seeing recipes on both The Momalog.com  and The Pioneer Woman.com. I was kind of scared dealing with yeast for the first time and was afraid the dough wouldn’t rise properly. I needn’t have worried, things worked out beautifully and my love for baking was re-awakened.

I love the step by step process, the measuring and sifting and mixing. It relaxes me.

 

For my next baking recipe I chose one of my favorite cakes–a vanilla pound cake–that’s also easy to make and uses only a few basic ingredients. The recipe I used is from Food.com.

Ingredients: 

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of unsalted butter, melted

4 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

 

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine sugar and melted butter in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beat until well mixed.

3. Stir together flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Gradually add flour mixture alternatively with milk, to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well mixed. (This is were a stand-mixer comes in handy. I did it with my hand-mixer and it worked ok because I’m able to crack eggs with one hand but it does get a little dicey at times.) 🙂

4. Pour batter into greased and floured 10-inch Bundt cake pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for ten minutes. Remove from pan.

Frosting  recipe thanks to the lovely Giada De Laurentiis.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

In a medium bowl, using an electric hand-mixer, beat the butter until light and smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

 

I took this Pound Cake to my neighbors for Easter and everyone loved it. I like the fact that I can change the flavor of the cake by substituting vanilla for another flavoring but use the same basic recipe.