Three years ago I started the first online cupcake business in Cape Town called ‘The Cupcake Kitchen’ and I had so much fun with my first little business venture. I had been to London and Anuga in October 2007 and had seen first hand the excitement around cupcakes.
I spent the initial 6 months scouring the Internet and doing research on all cupcake businesses I could click on in the world. I tested dozens of recipes until I found what I perceived to be the best.
I conjured up many exciting variations and combinations, but in the end, over the two and a half odd years I baked these whimsical and magical little cakes, at least 90% of my orders were for chocolate and vanilla.
I needed a recipe that delivered the perfect taste and texture, but one which was also user friendly to make since I baked every single cupcake myself, and sometimes up to 700 per day. I adapted and simplified many of the baking methods, and this vanilla cupcake recipe is one of them.
So many people I meet seem afraid of baking as if it is a mysterious and difficult skill to master. It can be tricky, but I have found that once you understand a few of the basic principles and practice doing it a lot, you kind of develop an almost six sense around it. I love the fact that it is precise, it more or less guarantees the results, and when you have a solid recipe in place, its the base from which you can start playing with variations and flavours.
What you need to make these:
salted caramel recipe
vanilla cupcakes: (I use this recipe to make a standard vanilla sponge cake too)
- 125gms of butter at room temperature (I always use salted butter and whilst many recipes insist on unsalted, I find no difference in using salted. I believe that salt amplifies sweet recipes). I just reduce the salt added to a recipe when I use it.
- 2 cups of sugar
- 4 free-range eggs at room temperature
- 3 cups of flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup of milk
* NB – I only use free-range eggs it makes a big difference trust me on this, and they must be at room temperature.
vanilla buttercream: (this makes a little more than required and freezes very well). I work on a ratio of 2 cups of icing sugar to every 100gms of butter and 30ml of milk. So to make a smaller batch you could use 4 cups of sugar, 200gms butter, 60ml of milk
- 6 cups icing sugar
- 300gms butter at room temperature
- 90ml of milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
How to make the cupcakes: (makes 28 – 32 depending on how you fill the cases)
- pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F)
- cream the sugar and the butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy
- add each egg one at a time, mixing well after each addition * TIP: I always break the egg in a small separate bowl in case any shell breaks off you can fish it out before adding to the mix
- its almost impossible to overmix at this stage – so I let if go until the mixture has become very light and fluffy
- in another bowl sift together the flour and baking powder
- turn the mixer to a low setting and slowly add the milk and flour in 3 parts, allowing it to blend a bit before adding the next bit
- do not over mix! I literally mix until all the ingredients are just combined
- scrape down the bowl with a spatula and mix by hand a few turns to get it all in
- I use an ice cream scoop which makes this step so much easier, scoop the batter into muffin pans which have been lined with paper cups. You want to fill the liner to roughly 3/4 of the way up
- bake for 20 minutes until the cupcakes are just turning golden brown
- allow to cool on the pan before removing to decorate
Icing: place all the icing ingredients into a bowl and mix on medium to high until it becomes white and fluffy
The cupcake revolution has happened and the craze has definitely passed its peak, but these tempting little cakes will continue to delight and surprise us for a long time to come.
I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.
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