When I was asked recently to make baby shower cupcakes for a sweet friend's daughter (who's expecting a girl in October), I was not only honored, but let's just say I was tickled PINK, can you tell?
I knew, without even having to contemplate, that I'd be using this wonderful cupcake recipe. I've shared it once before on the blog with this Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream post. The recipe's from a delightful bakery in Savanna called "Back in the Days". It's an unusual recipe, not prepared like a traditional white or yellow cakec. The unique method was originated by Rose Levy Beranbaum in her classic baking book called "The Cake Bible".
Instead of creaming the butter with the sugar, then adding the dry and wet ingredients, as in most cupcake/cake recipes, the directions have a unique twist. All the dry ingredients are combined, then cold butter is added in chunks (almost like a pastry dough technique) and mixed until it looks like coarse sand. Then eggs are added, followed by milk and vanilla. After a quick mixing, you're done!
It's quite simple and you won't even believe the moist, delicious, amazingly tender results! The first time I tasted these cupcakes I said, right out loud, "Now this is what a good wedding cake should taste like!". I believe, after over 40 years of baking, always searching for the perfect yellow cake recipe, this is definitely the one!
The buttercream? It's a recipe I've developed over the years that everyone seems to love. It's got one little surprise ingredient you won't find in a classic buttercream - just a hint of cream cheese, two ounces to be exact. You almost can't tell it's there, but it adds a creaminess and a touch of delicious tang that's super amazing. If I want to take the icing right over the top, I'll scrape a vanilla bean, or add a scoop of (my treasured) vanilla bean paste, in lieu of vanilla extract, but it's not necessary.
For fun pink icing technique, I used a 2D Wilton tip. It's pretty simple (just a bunch of "squiggling") and the same is true about the beautiful ombre effect.
P.S. Ready for one more tip? This one's a little dangerous, so proceed with caution:
When mixing up a batch of these cupcakes and you've got all the ingredients pulled out, go ahead, measure a second time and load up a zippered bag with the dry ingredients. Store this "cake mix" in the pantry or freezer. Next time someone asks you to make your famously delicious cupcakes, just pull out the bag, add butter, eggs and milk, and in no time flat, your little kitchen will be wafting with delicious aroma reminiscent of that fine little bakery in Savannah. See what I mean; almost too easy; and that little bag in your pantry/freezer could be dangerously tempting, calling out your name when you least expect it.
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- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup cake flour
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter not softened but remove from refridg and allow to warm for about 15 minutes
- 4 large eggs
- Butter Cream recipe below
Preheat oven to 350° Line cupcake pans with 32 cupcake liners. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup and set aside. Break eggs into a small bowl and set aside.
Place the cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of stand mixer and stir together for 30 seconds using paddle attachment.
With mixer on low, drop in butter, a few cubes at a time continuing until all butter is in and mixer resembles coarse sand.
Add eggs one at a time on low speed. With mixer still on low slowly pour in milk and vanilla. Turn mixer to medium and beat for 2 minutes until batter is smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Scoop batter into cupcake liners filling cups with about ¼ cup each. Cups will be just slightly over half full - don't be tempted to over-fill. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until centers are set and toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Adapted from Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook
- 8 ounces butter softened
- 2 ounces cream cheese regular or low fat, not fat-free
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 ½-3 tablespoons of cream or whole milk
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy, about 1 minutes. I like to use the whisk attachment for my mixer.
Reduce speed to low and slowly add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Once the powdered sugar is pretty well incorporated, increase speed to medium high and beat for 1 minute.
Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the other 3 cups of powdered sugar. Start out on slow speed again until sugar is mixed in the increase to medium high. Beat for another minute. Mixture will be very thick
Add vanilla and 1 ½ tablespoons milk and beat until nice creamy consistency is reached. You made need to add more milk, add just a teaspoonful at a time until desired consistency is reach. You want a creamy but fairly thick consistency, if you're planning on piping the icing. If spreading with a knife, the icing can be a bit thinner. Beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl several times during mixing.
Ice with a knife or pipe on icing with a decorating bag and tip. For the cupcakes pictured, I used a 2D Wilton tip, also known as a flower tip. For the pink ombre effect, I painted a few lines of food coloring inside my decorating bag before adding the icing.
Makes 32 average size cupcakes