Who doesn’t love a cupcake?!!! With its name originating from the cup in which it was baked (before the time of universal muffin trays), this perfect portion of moist cake dripping with sweet sugary frosting was first mentioned in Amelia Smith’s 1796 cookbook, American Cookery. Despite their long history, the trend for these personal cakes has increased over the past decade or so, with cupcake shops popping up everywhere – some even point to a so-called cupcake gentrification as noted in this BBC article from 2009 – The Cupcake Revival. Whether cause or result, no matter – I’d eat these tiny cakes any day of the week.
One of the leading names in cupcake culture is Magnolia bakery in NYC – and, even though I’m partial to Billy’s on 9th ave, the frosting for this recipe is adapted from Magnolia’s cookbook More From Magnolia: Recipes From The World-Famous Bakery and Magnolia’s Home Kitchen. If you’re feeling creative, add some food colouring to the frosting and decorate with white chocolate stars or other fun designs. These cupcakes are perfect for any party or special occasion – the sugar rush will keep you going all night.
Vanilla Cupcakes with Creamy Vanilla Frosting
2 sticks/ 1 cup/ 226 g unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups/ 193 g flour
1 ½ cups/ 167 g cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups/ 350 g sugar
4 large eggs
1 ¼ cups/10 oz milk
1 vanilla pod, seeds only
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 176 C and prepare cupcake trays with paper liners. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and then beat in the vanilla seeds. Switch the mixer to a low speed and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk; beat until well combined after each addition.
- Pour the batter into a spouted jug and then pour the batter ¾ of the way into each cupcake mould.
- Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (15-20 min). Transfer the cupcake tray to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before frosting.
2 sticks (1 cup)/ 226 g butter
1 cup/ 8 oz milk
1 cup/ 225 g superfine sugar
¼ cup/ 32 g confectioners sugar
½ vanilla pod, seeds only 3 tablespoons flour
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the flour into the milk until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture becomes thick and just starts to bubble; stir constantly. Place a piece of waxpaper directly on the surface and cool to room temperature (20 min).
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter for 2 min until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar until it becomes fluffy – then add the vanilla. Add the cooled milk and flour mixture and beat until it develops a whiter color. Add food colouring if you wish (I added pink) Cover and refrigerate for 15 min while the cupcakes are cooling.