My “Big Boy” Vanilla Cupcakes
These beauties deserve the highest respect. I decided to photograph them in the “nude” just so you can see the light-airiness. Let’s just consider this a “boudoir” photo shoot for my delicate cupcakes. My Big Boy Vanilla Cupcakes got their name because when I make them in mass quantities, I must use my “big boy” mixer. Ya know, that mixing bowl that holds up to 14 cups of flour? Well, I have 3 wonderful mixers that I hold just as close to my heart as my daughters. No joke. Mishandle one of those bad boys and there will be hell to pay! Can you see all of those wonderful little holes, resembling a sponge? My Big Boy Vanilla Cupcakes are extremely moist and feel like you are holding feathers in your hands. This recipe has gone through many alterations, until I finally created the perfect chemistry. Vanilla cupcakes have made me cry for years, too flat, too dense, too dry, sunk in the middle, etc. But now when it comes time to prepare a vanilla cupcake for any occasion, I find comfort in my Big Boys. This recipe is the base to many flavors I have created. The base can easily be altered to an array of flavors. My Big Boy cupcakes are so good, my little love-bugs actually consume the entire thing (not just the frosting)! Pair this very vanilla cake with my Luscious Vanilla Buttercream and you will be everyone’s best friend!
As you all probably know, I have a passion for all things cupcake. Yes, I jumped on the band-wagon of those pretty little cakes. Most of my future blogs will be on my wide variety of flavors, from common to unique! But first, we must learn one of my basic recipes before we dive into my sick baking ideas (and by sick, I mean awesome!!).
Big Boy Vanilla Cupcakes
Yields: 18 standard size cupcakes
For the cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding (half the box)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cake flour (presifted at least 4 times BEFORE measured)
Standard cupcake pan
Standard cupcake liners
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 18 standard size cupcake tins.
2. Presift your cake flour at least for times in a separate bowl. This is CRUCIAL that you ONLY use CAKE FLOUR!!!!! Otherwise your cake will be dense and dry. Measure 2 cups of cake flour after you have sifted at least 4 times and it becomes very airy and silky. (There is a huge difference between self-rise flour and cake flour. Please be sure your box says “cake flour”).
3. With the measured cake flour in a sifter, add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift together in a bowl and set aside for later use.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on high until smooth and creamy.
5. Add sugar mix on medium-high to high for at least 2 minutes until fluffy and light in color. (This is critical to making your cake fluffy with lots of tiny holes). Scrap sides.
6. Mix in vanilla pudding. Scrap sides.
7. Mix in eggs, then add vanilla. Scrap sides.
8. Starting with dry mix, slowly add a small amount at a time into the wet batter. Then alternate with the buttermilk. Continue alternating dry with buttermilk until you end with the dry ingredients.
ANOTHER CRITICAL MOMENT: DO NOT OVERMIX!!!!!!! Over mixing at this point causes gluten to form and then your cake will shrink. AS SOON AS YOU NO LONGER SEE WHITE FLOUR, STOP MIXER AND INCORPORATE THE REST BY HAND. MAKE SURE TO SCRAP SIDES AND BOTTOM.
9. Fill cupcake liners 2/3rd way full. I like to use a disher or ice cream scoop to be sure each liner is filled the same.
10. Bake 10-12 minutes. The top will slightly peak, edges will be a light golden brown, and center should spring back when you gently push in. Try to get the feel for a “done” cupcake without using a toothpick method (ya know, where you shove the toothpick in and it comes out clean if its baked thoroughly).
11. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pan. Then remove from pan and place on cooling rack until no longer warm to touch. Although, if you are me, you won’t be able to resist the superb smell and end up burning your tongue on the hot cake! Yes, I am guilty. You think I would have learned my lesson by now, ugh!
12. When cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with any type of frosting your prefer. Of course I suggest my Luscious Vanilla Buttercream. Recipe follows.
These cupcakes are good air tight up to 3 days. Otherwise, freeze your “naked” vanilla base cupcakes in an air-tight container up to 1 month.
If you are looking to fill a cupcake, this is a perfect base cake for doing so! Just core out the middle with a small circle cookie cutter or use your fancy cupcake corer and have at it. And you don’t have to put the little knob of cake back on top because that just makes for a wonderful ice cream sundae topping!
Luscious Vanilla Buttercream
2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 tbsp of clear imitation vanilla extract (McCormick has THE BEST vanilla flavor for this)
1-2 tbsp milk (depending on the consistency you want)
6 cups of powdered sugar
1. Beat butter on high with an electric mixer until perfectly smooth.
2. Add in the vegetable shortening and mix on high as well.
3. When bowl is smooth, while on stir add the vanilla and milk.
4. Slowly add one cup of powdered sugar at a time. Incorporating in slowly prevents you from getting a nice cloud of sugar smoke in the air.
5. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. Whip that yummy baby into an airy buttercream.
6. Place frosting in a piping bag with or without tip. Or store in an airtight container for up to a month.
There you have it! My ultra secret and very versatile Big Boy Vanilla Cupcake. You will be thrilled to have this recipe in your arsenal. Once you get the hang of it, this will always be your “go to” recipe for vanilla cake. XOXOXO