Happy Saturday! This week ran completely away from me and the next thing I knew it was Thursday … and then Friday … and then … well today. I thought I’d better check in with you. You know, in case maybe you missed your weekly dose of flour and sugar. Never fear, I’m here with plenty of sweetness to go around. I just couldn’t keep all this loveliness to myself, so I’m here to share with you a little sweetness and some serious excitement.
I’ve been finding it hard to focus on anything except these cupcakes. Aren’t they pretty. This week I was working on these cupcake samples for a client who is getting married in July. She has a vintage theme and wanted a buttercream swirl with a simple gumpaste flower on top. I made a variety of gumpaste flower colours so that she could choose which shade she wanted to use for her special day.
As I was picturing the cupcakes, I couldn’t help but think how they were the perfect cupcake for Mother’s Day.
Swirls of delicious frosting sitting on light vanilla cupcakes. Just a perfect marriage of cake, frosting and vanilla. Sometimes you just have to have plain old vanilla to appreciate just how good it is. Sometimes and I’m just saying, sometimes, it’s hard to find a cupcake that tastes as good as it looks when it’s just vanilla, vanilla. Sometimes they just look better than they actually taste. These cupcakes however, are different. You have my word, and I’ll even go so far as to say they taste … E.V.E.N. better than they look. How’s that for creating some excitment.
Can I tell you a secret? Vanilla, vanilla cupcakes aren’t the only thing that’s got me excited these days.
An opportunity to intern at the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts has me excited. Over the moon actually.
Bonnie Gordon is cake designer/teacher, extraordinaire and she started a college in Toronto in 2010 to share her wealth of knowledge and passion for meticulous cake design with others. Bonnie is a leader in the field of cake design education and she has a passion to nuture creative talent in her students. Ever since I started decorating cakes (which was just last year but it seems much longer somehow) I’ve wanted to go there. I’ve spent countless hours on the website, I’ve filled out the application to attend, at least 3 times, I attended their cake show in 2011 and I’ve even met Bonnie, but in the end, circumstances just never made it possible to actually take classes there. But all that is about to change because as of tomorrow, I will be there every Sunday for the next 4 months. My job will be to assist the instructors, help set up the classroom, assist the students and tidy up when we’re done. All the while, I will be listening to every little morsel of cake decorating genius from some of the best instructors in the country.
I will be a sponge and just soak it all up.
I couldn’t have asked for a more incredible Mother’s Day gift and in this recipe, I couldn’t have asked for a more delicious cupcake. This is seriously one of the best vanilla cupcake recipes I have made, and believe me, I’ve made plenty. The really fantastical thing about this recipe is that I came across it on the extraordinary baking blog by Rosie Alyea, called Sweetapolita. Rosie makes the most gorgeous, delicious and mouth-watering cakes and treats you’ve ever laid eyes on and believe it or not she learned and perfected a lot of her baking skills at Bonnie Gordon College. That’s all the proof I need to know that this is a going to be a good thing.
No ones needs a holiday to send someone special wishes, but in honour of all you wonderful mothers I’m sending you buttercream wishes and sweet vanilla kisses for a wonderful Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom
Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes
Yields 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter cut into 1-inch cubes, room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 (170 degrees C) degrees F. Line standard cupcake pans with your favourite paper cupcake liners and set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt) and mix on low-speed until blended. Add cubes of butter, one at a time, and mix again until all of the butter is coated with flour.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, and blend until incorporated.
4. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together milk and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Beat until just incorporated (it’s best not to overbeat).
5. Divide batter evenly among the liners filling about 2/3 full). Bake until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, about 17 -20 minutes (for me it was 17).
6. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the cupcakes onto a cooling rack by inverting the tray. Carefully turn the cupcakes right-side-up and let cool completely before frosting. use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake or pipe on icing using a 12-inch Wilton piping bag fitted with a ……… tip. Decorate with flowers or sprinkles if desired. Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from Billy’s Bakery Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes via Sweetapolita & Martha Stewart
They’re easy to make and the batter bakes up light and moist as long as they’re not over baked. I took mine out of the oven at 17 minutes. At 15 minutes, the toothpick came out covered in batter, at 17 minutes, they were done. So really keep an eye on them after 15 minutes. Mine were ready when they had just a touch of golden colour around the outside.
Makes about 2 cups
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
slightest pinch of salt
1 cup butter, room temperature, cut into pieces*.
* I know all recipes call for unsalted butter here but I tend to use what I have on hand and more often than not, it’s salted, so to compensate, I leave out the salt in the recipe or add just the slightest pinch, if necessary.
1. Whisk the egg whites, sugar and (salt if adding) in a heat proof bowl set over a saucepan of salted water (do not let the bowl touch the water) until the mixture is warm and the sugar dissolves. Remove the bowl from the pan; let cool slightly.
2. Beat the egg white mixture in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer) on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 12 -15 minutes. Beat in the butter a few pieces at a time, then continue beating until smooth. (Don’t worry if the mixture looks separated at first – it will come together as you keep beating.)
Read Full Post »