Friday, May 11, 2012

The Perfect Vanilla Cupcake

*note - I don't ever remember my mother baking anything from scratch (except maybe a carrot cake??).  It was more like "semi-homemade" Sandra Lee style. Hey mom, why didn't you teach me how to bake??

I am so excited (and super nervous) about a cupcake order for this upcoming week for Miriam's preschool. I was asked to do jumbo cupcakes for the end of the year teacher luncheon on Wednesday and regular cupcakes for the 4 yr preschool graduation on Thursday.  This means I will be making approximately 7 dozen cupcakes!! I have chosen to do strawberry, oreo, and vanilla for the jumbo teacher cupcakes and will do vanilla with buttercream for the graduation...thing is, I DIDN'T HAVE A VANILLA CAKE RECIPE!!! EEK!
So in desperation, I went on a search. I came across a few recipes that sounded good, and I compared them with the 1-2-3-4 cake that's pretty classic. I decided to test a few of them this weekend and the baking began today.  
The first recipe called for oil in the batter. Now since I've been doing from scratch cakes, I have yet to make one with oil (that's only for box cakes anyway, right?).  Well, this one reminded me A LOT of a box mix. It was ridiculously moist, like almost too moist that when you touched the top, it came off on your fingers. It also didn't bake well at all. The other thing I didn't like about the recipe is that it only made about 14 or 15 (if you stretched it) regular cupcakes...which would only be about 7 jumbo.  Although, they were quite yummy, especially out of the oven, I decided to go for another round.
1st recipe - these look awful, but actually taste decent.

again, they don't look pretty, but it's taste that matters, right?
 The second recipe was similar to most cake recipes I've been doing. Rather simple, just your average flour, sodas, eggs, and butter....and voila! Enough said - they were beautiful out of the oven! I halfed the recipe and it made 7 jumbo, which means the full recipe will yield about 28 regular cupcakes, or 14 jumbo - perfect for my needs for this week!
2nd recipe - definitely the winner in my book
 Then came the icing part. I had gotten a new tip, thanks to the encouragement from Glory and her blog on decorating and decided to try my hand at it. If I'm gonna do this, they at least have to look like I didn't smear it on with a knife, yeah?
My first attempt at decorating with a Wilton 1M tip
 So I went to decorating and practiced and practiced and practiced. I even made the not-so-good-looking cupcakes out of the oven look better than the better tasting cupcakes (see below).
the pretty ones on the left are the 1st recipe, the not so pretty ones
(but very tasty ones) are on the right
 And then, the last one - I was so proud of myself!!
The final product - beautiful and yummy if I say so myself!

I have such wonderful friends (I wonder if they think I'm wonderful too....) that they get to test both recipes.  It seems as of now, it's down the middle on which is the favorite.  There's no question that the icing knocks socks off, so at least we're good with that one. But as for me and the order for this week, I think I'll go with my personal favorite, recipe #2.  Yet again, The Joy of Baking comes through! with their vanilla cake recipe.

Next on the list - oreo :)


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