vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing

There are days when I want to bake something but I do not want to deal with chocolate, or fruit, or nuts or anything fancy.

On days like that, I go back to the basics, and basics to me spells V-A-N-I-L-L-A.

Today, I am sharing my take on vanilla cupcakes. I have tried many recipes, but this recipe from Primrose Bakery remains one of my favourites because it is (1) a fuss-free recipe, (2) it is not overly anything, hence it is a great canvas for piling on different flavoured buttercreams, and (3) it is a delicious cake in its own right.

 

Primrose Bakery was founded by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas, in 2004, who started out by baking cakes for children’s parties. Nine years down the road, they have two shops, two cookbooks and another on its way. How awesome is that? :)

For the vanilla cupcakes, I started by creaming the butter and sugar until the mixture was light and fluffy.

Then I added the eggs, one at a time, and ensuring that the first was thoroughly incorporated before adding the second egg, and mixing that well into the batter too. After that, I added the vanilla extract and beat that into the batter.

The resulting batter should be smooth.

The sifted flours and milk were then added in the sequence: flour-milk-flour-milk-flour.

Until they were completely incorporated.

The batter was spooned into the cupcake cases, filling each case until about two-thirds full.

Then they were baked until they were slightly raised and golden brown. A skewer inserted into the cake should emerge clean.
The cupcakes were allowed to cool n the baking tray for about 10 minutes before being transferred to a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the vanilla buttercream icing, I beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until the mixture was smooth.
Then the remaining icing sugar was added and beaten until the buttercream was both smooth and creamy.
If the buttercream is too thin or runny, add a little more icing sugar and beat until you achieve the desired consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more milk and beat.
I wanted a pale pink, so I added one drop of pink. If you want a darker colour, add one drop at a time and beat to mix before you add the next drop. You can add, but you cannot take away, so go slow.

Once the cupcakes were cool, I slathered on the icing, and decorated them with sprinkles immediately.
The cupcakes were stored in the fridge, and taken out for 15 minutes (so they get to room temperature) before I was ready to serve them.
RECIPE
Vanilla Cupcakes (Makes about 12 regular or 36 mini cupcakes)
Adapted from recipe from Primrose Bakery
Ingredients:
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g (8oz) caster sugar, preferably golden 
2 large eggs, free-range or organic 
150g (5½oz) self-raising flour, sifted 
125g (4½oz) plain flour, sifted 
120ml (4fl oz) semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature 
1tsp good-quality vanilla extract
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C (fan)/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray or 3 x 12-hole mini muffin trays with cupcake cases. 
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition. 
In a separate bowl, combine the two flours. Put the milk into a jug and add the vanilla extract. Add one third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added. 
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (regular size) or 15 minutes (mini size) until slightly raised and golden brown. To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes  –  it should come out clean. 
Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.
Vanilla Buttercream Icing (Makes enough to ice 15-20 regular cupcakes or about 60 mini cupcakes)
Ingredients:
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml (2fl oz) semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
1tsp good-quality vanilla extract 
500g (18fl oz) icing sugar, sifted 
Few drops of food colouring (optional)
Method:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat until the buttercream is smooth and creamy. 
If you want to colour your buttercream, always start with one drop of colouring and beat. This will be all you need to achieve a very pale pastel hue. Add carefully, drop by drop, and beat after each addition to build up to your desired shade.




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