I have an issue with vanilla cupcakes. I once made Magnolia vanilla cupcakes but they were so grainy and oily and they tasted like sugar cookies! Nothing like the Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cupcakes I'm used to. At first, I thought I was doing something wrong. Because on marthastewart.com for one of the vanilla cupcake reviews (I think it was Billy's) a person complained that it tasted like a sugar cookie, but on How to eat a cupcake, she told the person for Billy Reece's vanilla cupcakes that it was supposed to taste like a sugar cookie. So I figured what the heck, I'm the weird one.
I know that the storebought mixes are full of shortening and but I have an issue with shortening. I once made cream puffs and it had shortening in it. The result was a good cream puff but the smell of all that oil in the kitchen was so unbearable that it gave me an upset stomach and a headache for the night. Plus, shortening is not that good for your body. I mention this because I found another recipe at Recipezaar and those cupcakes had shortening in it. I really wanted to try it because everybody raved about good they were but I resisted.
Anyways, I wanted a good and simple cupcake recipe and I really wanted to try Billy's, but I didn't have cake flour, and on Recipezaar Amy Sedaris' vanilla cupcakes got higher ratings than Billy's vanilla cupcakes. Plus, I wasn't sure if it was 1 tablespoon or 2 tablespoons of baking powder so I just went along with Amy Sedaris' cupcakes. They tasted like sugar cookies but as I was eating them without frosting, I told myself that they were supposed to taste like this and just swallowed half of it. The next morning, they smelled so good! Very sugary smell. Anyways, I also made Sprinkles vanilla frosting and it had a funny texture. I was creaming the butter and sugar together and then adding the powdered sugar, but it got very stiff so I wasn't sure if I was supposed to beat for an extra 5 minutes, so I just beat for 2 minutes and the result was a very powdered sugary taste. Can powdered sugar go old? I'm sure mine was only a few months old.. Maybe I didn't blend it enough. But in the end, the cupcake and frosting complimented each other nicely and it was good.
Amy Sedaris' Vanilla Cupcakes; makes 24
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, two teaspoons vanilla, salt and baking powder. Add flour and milk in batches, starting and ending with flour. Stir until batter is smooth and satiny.
3. Fill paper-lined muffin tins with batter. Bake at 375° for 18- 20 minutes.
4. For frosting, whip together the box of confectioners' sugar, half-and-half, and one teaspoon vanilla until smooth and fluffy.
5. Allow cupcakes to cool about 45 minutes and frost.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (From Sprinkles Cupcakes);enough to frost 24 cupcakes
2 cups butter, softened
7 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.
2. Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.