White Cake Cupcakes

This recipe is a white birthday cake recipe that I found and wrote down from an old cookbook at my mother-in-laws. It required a lemon but I did not have any on hand, so I replaced with some vanilla paste and it tinged the cake slightly so I didn’t get that white birthday cake look. However, after one bite I didn’t care these were amazing with a very tender crumb that was still light and moist. I haven’t made cupcakes in a while so I was thrilled to finally make something new.

I will use this recipe again frequently if the opportunity allows. I must try this with lemon because it is probably divine, just replace the vanilla with lemon juice and zest. I had some basic swiss buttercream in the freezer from earlier in the week. To use frozen frosting defrost it and then whisk it up, add in the food coloring and is perfect for quick cupcake needs.

On very high recommendations I bought some americolor gels and I used the violet in the frosting and I am beyond happy with the gels. They are bright, vivid, and true rich colors. I threw out my other colors and replaced them, these color gels are just amazing. If you have not had a chance to try them out and jump on that bandwagon do so soon. I cannot say enough good things about this AmeriColor Gels pack, it has all the basic colors you would need.

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Coconut Cupcakes with Vanilla Swiss Buttercream

Yes, I know, recycled pictures, Sorry!  However this is not about pictures this post is about the awesomeness that is this frosting.  It is the best and I think easiest frosting I have ever made.  Most people say it is too complicated, however I don’t think it is.   I have added my technique of doing this recipe and some flavor options to make it match what you need it to.  Words just cannot describe the wonderfulness that this frosting is. It’s light, fluffy, smooth, sweet, and just melts in your mouth. It is hands down the best frosting I have ever had. A reason it is such a huge hit is because it not only keeps well at room temperature but it has that richness of a buttercream with out tasting like you are just eating a stick of butter dipped in sugar.

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Coconut Cupcakes

Coconut to me means spring.  At easter we would get one of those coconut bunny cakes from the supermarket.  You know the ones that were too sweet and had a plastic face of a bunny that was more scary then it was cute.  My mom’s favorite cake was coconut so we tried to get that on mothers day, which was basically the bunny cake in round form.  I wanted to make coconut cupcakes for easter but I could not find a recipe that didn’t make 30+ cupcakes.  I found a basic sponge that I quartered down and used my swiss meringue recipe for the frosting.  They turned out great, not too much coconut flavor but just enough to be pleasant, and have that tropical rich flavor.

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Vanilla Bean Birdie Cupcakes

I spent the last week thinking of something cute and fun to take to my sister in-laws for Easter.  I had tons of ideas on my mind.  From sugar cookies, to cupcakes with little fondant bunnies, to just a pretty cupcake with some cut out flowers of marbled white and pink fondant.  Every time I had one that I was quite sure was “the one” I had another idea.  Finally I gave in and went with my first instinct. Which in my home has become our motto, follow your gut, go with your first instinct.

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Vanilla Cupcakes

New oven has it’s trial and errors.  However not as much as the Souffle cups I bought just days before my previous oven went kaput.  They are just what I wanted, something to give the cupcakes a different look, and offer more cake to enjoy.  Also, at under $5 for 250 it was just economically smart!   You need to clip the rim with a pair of scissors just before frosting so getting to the cupcake is easier, originally this was my husbands biggest complaint then I figured out to cut the edge.  Also, I found it easier to spray lightly with baking spray before adding in the batter.  Filling just over 1/2  not quite 2/3 full gave a nice round puffy top that you would get with typical cupcake liners.

Final trial, was some sites say you can bake on a cookie sheet, this was the main appeal to me in getting these cooking more at once, FALSE!   I tried almost 3 batches before almost giving up.  They were pouring over the edge, the center would be raw.  I threw away so many I was just a pouty mess!   I woke up this morning sitting down with a cup of coffee about to watch some movies when I had what I call a ‘House’ moment.  I was putting the blanket over my legs and I got it!   The cups on the cookie sheet were being exposed to direct heat from all directions, the outsides exposed to the heat with out anything to slow down the heat from hitting the cupcakes, which was causing the outsides to cook and rise too fast vs the centers which would remain almost raw.   I felt so dumb once i realized it.   So I got up and made another batch.  Just this time putting the cups in the cupcake tin like other cupcake liners.  Which then resulted in exactly what I was looking for!   With the other issues from these souffle cups figured out, I feel like great about these and happy I made the choice to switch to these cups!

Trying these out with the new oven I went with my absolute basic cupcake, Vanilla.   I am not a huge fan of these cupcakes because I am just not that big of a vanilla person.  Don’t get me wrong, they are amazing, but if they were something more along the lines of my now famous ‘Irish Car-bomb Cupcakes” I would be inhaling them as I write this post!  The cake is light, fluffy, sweet, and has great vanilla flavor.   I paired it with a basic vanilla Swiss Meringue  Butter-cream.

Honestly, I was not, actually still kinda am not, a huge fan of cake.  I realized it was because of the frosting.  I didn’t like cake frosting.  They either taste of butter, or sugar, or have that sandy gritty taste, or all three!  I tried this after making a basic butter-cream and realizing it was exactly what I didn’t like about frosting.   I will never go back.  This is light, and sweet, and smooth, and melts in your mouth amazing.    When I was little my uncle Jaime was very adamant about his birthday cakes, they had to have whipped frosting.   I remember a few times going with my aunt Lucy to pick up the cakes and they were good.  I mean I recall once we drove to Bellingham, WA which was around a 30 min drive north just to pick up his cake.   If I was to try and recreate that frosting of happiness this would be it.  I cannot say enough how wonderful this frosting makes the cake.  Ok, enough of me rambling!  You absolutely must try these, great go to recipes for cupcakes.

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup  buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.  Set pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest, if using.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in pan 5 minutes.  Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Butter-cream

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 5large egg whites
  • 2 cups (4 sticks or 1 pounds) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Caster Sugar or Powdered Sugar (to sweeten if desired)

Place egg whites in the heat-proof bowl, add pinch of salt and whisk to break up the whites, add in sugar and whisk till combined. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.

Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.

Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the butter-cream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined. Taste, add extra sugar 1 TBSP at a time until desired sweetness is achieved.  I end up adding 1 tbsp of caster sugar.

Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using butter-cream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Adapted: Cupcakes/Joy of Baking | Martha Stewart/Swiss Meringue Buttercream