I used to think that “baking a cake” or “baking cupcakes” meant taking out a box of cake mix, dumping in the requisite oil and eggs and presto-chango… cake! Ever since I got my handy dandy stand mixer, though, I’ve come to realize that making cake from scratch isn’t that hard at all, and it tastes fantastic. To me, vanilla cake is harder to screw up than chocolate cake. I don’t know why… I think it’s because chocolate cake promises so much that it’s easy to be disappointed. I’m on the quest for the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe and you can be sure I’ll post it here when I find it. For now, though, this vanilla cake is delicious. The frosting I used for these cupcakes is a swiss merengue buttercream, and it’s so tasty and delicious I’ll be talking about it in another post. For now… behold the vanilla cupcake!
This recipe yields 12 cupcakes. I doubled it with no problem. I figure if you are going to go to the trouble of making them… make a lot! There are always neighbors you can win over or office breakrooms to leave them in!
Vanilla Cupcakes, adapted from the Joy of Baking
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of 1 large lemon (Joy of Baking says this is optional, I think it’s essential and actually increased this to 1 and 1/2 lemons)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2. tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk