As I mentioned in a previous post, I love my new book Cake Love. My mom once told me that I should never skimp on good ingredients for baking. She commented that a lot of work goes into baking, so why cut corners? Warren Brown of Cake Love shares a similar philosophy. He also goes so far as to say that cake is a decadent treat, so don't skimp on using butter or sugar.
I found these Paula Deen cupcake liners at Michaels for a dollar!
I made his buttercake recipe over the weekend. Yum yum yum! It made a TON of cupcakes! They tasted amazing right out of the oven sans frosting, too. I just changed it up a teensy bit because I don't keep brandy around the house. Two comments on the ingredients. First, I have a lot of potato starch left over from my Passover baking adventures, but Bob's Red Mill makes it, too (and available online in bulk here). Cake Love recipes ten to exclusively use extra-fine granulated sugar. It might be in a carton where you find the "regular" sugar in the grocery store, or you can just put that "regular" sugar in a blender for a little bit to make the sugar particles extra-fine.
Yellow Butter Cake Cupcakes - Adapted from Cake Love - Makes 24 regular cupcakes and 12 mini-cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons potato starch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups extra-fine granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line tins with paper liners.
- Add the flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients together.
- In a small bowl, add the vanilla and half-and-half.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer), cream together the butter and extra-fine sugar on low speed until completely combined. This will take a while, which is why a standing mixer is nice if you happen to have one.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, mixing well on low speed after each addition.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the liquid ingredients to the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Try to do it in about 4 steps, but being exact isn't necessary.
- Once all of the ingredients are combined, mix for an additional 30 seconds on medium speed to ensure that the batter is well-mixed.
- Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter and bake for approximately 20-22 minutes for regular cupcakes and about 15 minutes for mini-cupcakes. The top of the cupcake should spring back when you push on the top and may turn slightly golden on top.
To continue with the butter theme, I used the Italian Meringue Buttercream recipe from the same book. I have made several kinds of buttercream, but not Italian. It involves creating a sugar syrup, combining the syrup with meringue, and then adding a pound of butter. It was a lot easier to make than I thought it would be. You definitely need a candy thermometer, however, to properly make the syrup.
I am not going to post the recipe because I didn't alter it at all. Martha Stewart has her own version of Italian Meringue Buttercream here. I liked the Italian Meringue buttercream a lot more than Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It still has that light, buttery taste but is sweeter. It's great for piping, too.
I had actually made some of the cupcakes look like little ants on grass carrying raspberries, but I was so annoyed with the fact that the ants were not anatomically correct that I couldn't bring myself to photograph them. I took an entomology class in college, and who knows how baking enthusiast entomologists are out there....