Dogs. Ponies. Pigs. Babies. Isn’t it true that “miniature” versions of nearly anything are doted over more than their regular-size predecessors? I mostly observe this idea in animals, but have you ever been in an uneventful room, and then someone with a BABY enters? You’d think everyone won the lottery.
In general, people just seem to go crazy over tiny versions of things. I’ve concluded that that is why cupcakes are now all the rage – on television, in bakeries, at weddings in lieu of a wedding cake, etc. They’re also portable, equally delicious as a big cake, and they provide portion control (if you can limit yourself to one). So why not? Portion control is never a bad thing.
On our honeymoon to Savannah, Georgia, we sampled some cupcakes from a bakery called Sweet Carolina Cupcakes. They were perfection; each cupcake consisted of moist, flavorful cake and a rich, not-too-sweet frosting. My favorite flavor was what they call a “Sweet Georgia Brown”: brown sugar pound cake with bits of peaches, topped with cream cheese icing. So many icings are often too cloying for my liking, but their cream cheese icing had a bit of tang that balanced the sweetness.
I decided to bake some simple vanilla cupcakes for tomorrow’s Easter lunch. Since we’re doing a mid-afternoon meal, I thought they would be a nicely-portioned, light dessert. The upside to this recipe is that the cake batter and buttercream icing are very quick to whip up; the downside is that this recipe only makes one dozen. Moist cake with a fresh, homemade frosting. Mmmm.
The homemade “stuff” blows Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker out of the water.
We clearly aren’t pastry chefs, but I think we did a pretty decent job on the decorating. My husband actually frosted 7-8 of the 12 cupcakes.
(from Brown Eyed Baker)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg , room temperature
2 large egg yolks , room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.
4. Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.
5. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.
You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using.