baking

the cupcakes that started it all

When I was young, my mom told me that a freckle on your right hand is a sign of a good cook.  As I searched my limbs for this cosmic trait, my eyes widened at the freckle above my elbow.  Does that even count?  It’s on my arm.  In Bengali, haath can mean hand or arm, so I was uncertain of my fate.  My mom deftly exercised her own freckle-power; armed with my grandmother’s million variations on curry, she came to America and added a delectable Thanksgiving turkey, a rustic spaghetti, and my favorite french toast to her repertoire.  In comparison, I’m pretty sure my freckle is too far up to have an effect.  And yet, it’s just too much fun cooking, baking, learning and trying (despite some inedible disasters along the way).

One of my husband’s great loves is the cupcake.  So naturally, I had to master that little harlot if I was going to truly keep his undivided attention.  Six years ago, my friend Julie was living in New york and she told me of this famous bakery that made the most delicious everything.  For my birthday, she sent me The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook with some fabulous raspberry crumb squares that she made.  Two weeks later, I made their vanilla cupcakes for Wes’ birthday and it was love at first bite.  Perfectly moist, crumby, buttery goodness topped with real buttercream – guaranteed to kickstart your own cupcake love story.

Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake

The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torrey

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 and 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a large bowl, one the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Combine the flours and add in four parts, alternating with the milk and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.

Spoon the batter into the cups about three-quarters full.  Bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20-22 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on a rack before icing.

Makes 24 cupcakes or 1 three-layer 9-inch cake

Traditional Vanilla Buttercream

The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torrey

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft

8 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and the vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (you may very well not need all of the sugar).  If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.  Use and store icing at room temperature, as icing will set if chilled.  Can store in airtight container up to three days.

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4 thoughts on “the cupcakes that started it all

  1. Kelly

    I tried this cupcake recipe today, in preparation for my school’s fair tomorrow. (I’m 15)

    The cupcakes were excellent; they weren’t too sweet and tasted great. However, my frosting turned out to be very grainy. I started out using 2 cups of icing sugar and 2 cups of regular sugar (granulated sugar). I beat the icing for around 10-15 minutes however it still remained very grainy. Would it be the fact that I used granulated sugar? Is there any way to fix this?

    Thanks 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Cupcakes That Started it All | Our Best CupcakesOur Best Cupcakes

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