Until I created this recipe, I could never understand people who would crave seemingly simple and plain vanilla cupcakes.  I’ve tasted a lot.  I’ve followed a lot of recipes.  But I’d never fallen in love with any – until now.  What I always envisioned the perfect vanilla cupcake to look like was – timeless – with pink frosting, a smattering of sprinkles & a luscious glace cherry on top.  I also knew what I wanted it to taste like.  I wanted the top of the cupcake to have a delicious crumb and the inside to be ever-so-light – almost sponge-like.  This creation came about 3 months ago when I had some sour cream close to expiring in my refrigerator and my mother’s almond meal-based flourless orange cake taking up a little fragment of my brain.  Since then, I’ve been working on it, tirelessly, and this is the end product that I’m divinely happy with.  It’s easy.  All you have to use is good quality ingredients.  The recipe yields 24 regular sized cupcakes or 105 mini cupcakes.  I usually make a combination of regular and minis because my 3-year-old son loves popping the minis in his mouth (plus it means that he gets more of a cherry & frosting to cake ratio – who doesn’t love that?).  I’ll be honest.. usually after making a batch of cupcakes, I sit down with a cup of Earl Grey tea and savour one, once my kids are fast asleep.  But with these, I find it impossible to stop until I reach at least 3.  They are addictive.  They are heavenly.  And they are best eaten on the day you make them.  The next day they are a little denser but still absolutely lovely if eaten at room temperature (a total must).  Don’t keep them longer than 3 days because they will lose their lustre.  If you like, you can freeze them on the day you make them.  Defrost and eat within 1 or 2 days.

Ingredients
Cupcakes
3 cups (420 g) cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
220 g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
500 mL sour cream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites
3/4 cup castor sugar
pinch of salt
500 g (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2 tsp vanilla extract

Optional extras
gel food colouring
edible confetti / sprinkles
red glace cherries

Directions
Cupcakes
Preheat your oven to 175ºC (350ºF). 

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.  Set aside.

In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter.  Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.  Mix in the vanilla and almond extract.  Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of the sour cream, beating until just combined after each.

 

Divide the batter equally amongst 24 cupcake cases (or 105 mini cupcake cases, or a combination of the two).

Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or mini cupcakes for 16 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centres comes out clean – please do not overcook them.  Allow to cool to room temperature before frosting. 

 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the egg whites, castor sugar and salt.  Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk the mixture constantly until the mixture is warm and the sugar has completely dissolved.

 

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Whisk the mixture on medium-high speed until the mixture is cool and stiff, glossy peaks form.  Reduce the speed of the mixer down to low and gradually add the butter a few tablespoons at a time.  Once the butter is combined, increase the mixer to medium speed and mix until the buttercream is completely smooth.  Mix in the vanilla extract and food colouring (optional).

 

To Finish
Once the cupcakes are room temperature, place the frosting in a piping bag with a nozzle attached (eg. Wilton 1M).  Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, sprinkle with confetti and top with a cherry.

My signature vanilla cupcakes - I'm in love!
Yields 24
Until I created this recipe, I could never understand people who would crave seemingly simple and plain vanilla cupcakes. I’ve tasted a lot. I’ve followed a lot of recipes. But I’d never fallen in love with any – until now. What I always envisioned the perfect vanilla cupcake to look like was – timeless – with pink frosting, a smattering of sprinkles & a luscious glace cherry on top. I also knew what I wanted it to taste like. I wanted the top of the cupcake to have a delicious crumb and the inside to be ever-so-light – almost sponge-like.
Print
Cupcakes
  1. 3 cups (420 g) cake flour
  2. 2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 1/4 tsp salt
  5. 220 g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  6. 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  7. 3 eggs
  8. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 tsp almond extract
  10. 500 mL sour cream
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. 5 egg whites
  2. 3/4 cup castor sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 500 g (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  5. 2 tsp vanilla extract
Optional extras
  1. gel food colouring
  2. edible confetti / sprinkles
  3. red glace cherries
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 175ºC (350ºF).
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
  3. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter. Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of the sour cream, beating until just combined after each.
  4. Divide the batter equally amongst 24 cupcake cases (or 105 mini cupcake cases, or a combination of the two).
  5. Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or mini cupcakes for 16 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centres comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the egg whites, castor sugar and salt. Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk the mixture constantly until the mixture is warm and the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whisk the mixture on medium-high speed until the mixture is cool and stiff, glossy peaks form. Reduce the speed of the mixer down to low and gradually add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Once the butter is combined, increase the mixer to medium speed and mix until the buttercream is completely smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract and food colouring (optional).
To Finish
  1. Once the cupcakes are room temperature, place the frosting in a piping bag with a nozzle attached (eg. Wilton 1M). Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, sprinkle with confetti and top with a cherry.
Notes
  1. To portion out the batter for the large cupcakes, I use an ice cream scoop in size 16. For the mini cupcakes, I use a size 70 scoop. Level out the scoops and do not overfill.
  2. These are best enjoyed on the day of making but can last a further 2 days in an air tight container stored in a refrigerator. If you like, you can freeze them on the day you make them. Defrost and eat within 1 or 2 days.
  3. Be sure to consume at room temperature.
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