Wednesday, February 21, 2007

And then, we made cupcakes!

As promised to Lisa of Pittsburgh Needs Eated fame, my latest cooking exploit was the other night making Magnolia Vanilla Vanilla 
cupcakes from the recipes posted on  We halved everything due to my only having one muffin tin instead of two, (it being college and all)  but here it goes:

Magnolia Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes (depending on the size of your cupcake papers and muffin tins)


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

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

  4. 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, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. 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 three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

  5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. At the bakery we ice the cupcakes with either Vanilla Buttercream or Chocolate Buttercream.

And then the frosting:
The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.

Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes*
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

The result was a frosting that was a little on the sweet side for someone like me who generally makes a cream cheese icing, but the cake was not overly sweet, the organic sugar was a well-made substitution for the much-cheaper Sav-A-Lot white sugar and gave a less chemicall-y aftertaste than the Sav-A-Lot variety as well. Anyway, the cake was pretty transcendent, though the batter is a little thick, and I had to buy 5 lbs of self-rising flour for the less than a cup that I ended up using.

But, for someone who has never baked cupcakes from scratch (gasp! horror!), this was relatively painless and pretty rewarding. How rewarding, you might ask? Better than going all the way to NYC and standing in line for hours for the same thing! I don't know if I'll go free-range on the eggs next time, as it hurt my wallet pretty bad.

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