Vanilla Squared Cupcakes

I recently got a request for a basic yellow cupcake with vanilla frosting. No sprinkles, no additional flavors or anything, just plain vanilla. I can understand… One of my favorite desserts is a yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting. It’s such a simple and satisfying combination and sometimes that simplicity is a better dessert than something intricate and complicated in flavor. It’s a comfort and familiarity. For the cupcake, I tried out a vanilla cupcake recipe I got from an issue of Food Network Magazine quite some time ago and for the frosting, I whipped up half a batch of my favorite vanilla frosting from Martha Stewart. Final result, the perfect Vanilla Square Cupcake.

 

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk*

*I used whole milk

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

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

In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and continue beating until creamy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time and then beat in the vanilla extract.

Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk. Beat until just combine and then divide the batter among the muffin pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cool rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and transfer them to the rack and allow to cool completely.

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

 

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. After adding the first cup and then second cup increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat for 10 seconds to aerate the frosting.

Add the vanilla extract and beat the frosting until its smooth.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Enchanted Castle Cake

First it was an Elmo Cake, then a Minnie Mouse Cake and this year my friend’s daughter requested a “princess cake.” I stretched that idea a tad and made an Enchanted Castle Cake which I then surrounded with her Disney Princess figurines. My reasoning… Princesses usually live in castles! The most important thing though…. She loved it. And while last year I opted to rent the Minnie Mouse pan this year I just went ahead and purchased the Enchanted Castle Pan from Wilton. Luckily Wilton has numerous different ideas for that pan so I am sure I will get a few more uses out of it. I will say that I did cheat a bit for this cake by using a Betty Crocker Yellow Cake Mix and a few containers of Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting which I tinted in the appropriate colors.

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The before picture of the cake. Luckily the important aspects of the cake were visible for me to decorate, but, I did have to freehand the windows.

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Little by little the castle came alive. Of course I had my doubts along the way.

Enchanted Castle Step by Step

But, at this point of the decorating I was very happy with the outcome.

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All that was left was to add flowers to the castle. Since I have never been that good at making flowers, I decided to make them separately and then add them to the cake. I made simple drop flowers on wax paper and then let them set for a while before placing them in the freezer for a few minutes to make transferring them to the cake easier.

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I then “glued” them onto the cake with green tinted icing and then piped in some leaves for the final touch.

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And you can’t have a princess cake without some princesses.

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Along with the cake I also make Vanilla Squared (vanilla cake with vanilla frosting) cupcakes which I baked in Disney Princess cupcake liners and sprinkled with pink and purple cake sparkles then displayed on a Disney Princess cupcake stand.

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I wonder what next year’s theme will be….

Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 12 Cupcakes

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 whole milk, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat the 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 fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed 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 three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes to the rack to cool completely. Top with frosting

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.