Saturday, March 8, 2008

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

I knew the key to get Evan to eat was to make something sweet. He has a sweet tooth almost as bad as mine, plus he needed to make his tummy happy again, and what better way to do that than a luscious home made cupcake?

As I was searching for a vanilla cupcake recipe, I came across a video on of baker Billy Reece of Billy's Bakery in New York City. I guess Martha sent her "people" out to find the best vanilla cupcake in NYC and Billy won, so I thought I'd give them a try. As far as cupcakes goes, this was a pretty simple recipe which yielded fantastic results. A moist and tender cupcake with a rich vanilla flavor. He does recommend using non self-rising cake flour, so check your package. They suggested Softasilk, which I just happened to have in my pantry.

The double Vanilla names comes from the vanilla he uses in the cupcake and also the frosting (which I did not use). I wanted a chocolate topped cupcake this time. The boys happily gulped down a cupcake as soon as I had them frosted.

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

The Frosting:

I got this frosting recipe from Nosh with me, who got it from 52Cupcakes. I was looking for a recipe that had the ingredients that I had on hand, so this one was it.

Chocolate Frosting
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 to 5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the butter and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the mixture is soft and well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute.

Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons more milk if the frosting is too stiff. Store these cupcakes, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze them, wrapped in aluminum foil or in a cake saver, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cupcakes overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

It always cracks me up when they give instruction on how to freeze cupcakes. I have never frozen a cupcake in my life. My co-workers would kill me. They look forward to all my leftovers. Freeze a cupcake…that’s just crazy talk.

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