And the quest for the ultimate Vanilla cupcake!
Its a pretty well known fact that I love all things Disney. Well except for Maleficent (Shes so scary!) So I was extremely excited when this month's book club book came up and it was the biography of Walt Disney. I was equally excited to try a new recipe for mickey ear cupcakes that I had seen on Pinterest. And finally I was also excited to get to try out the Cupcake Project's Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake, while still trying to get over my disappointment for not being chosen as one of the cupcake explorers. It was still an all around exciting event :)
Many months ago the Cupcake Project had a "contest" to get bakers to help out on the quest for the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake. I applied and got excited to have the cute button on my blog. However I did not get chosen and so promptly forgot about the contest in general. Then what seems like months later, I read on the blog that they had finally picked the perfect recipe. So I quickly added it to my list of things to bake. And then got busy with other things I never ended up making them! Well then the Mickey ears cupcakes came along and it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I went to the store, excited to buy my ingredients. I got to the spice aisle looked for the Vanilla Beans that the recipe required. They were $13 for 3 vanilla beans. THREE! My mom (who was with me since I can't drive) promptly asked "do you think they have a Harris Teeter brand?" and started looking. I was disappointed, but the thrifty shopper in me realized that $13 was just not worth the cost for 3 vanilla beans. I was determined to make a sucessful cupcake with just using more vanilla extract.
And I really feel like I did. I was incredibly pleased with the way the cupcakes turned out. They were light and fluffy and had a great vanilla flavor. It was strong, but definitely not too overpowering (which was good). I often find vanilla cupcakes end up being very dry, but I thought these were very moist and delicious....maybe it was all the extra vanilla extract. I will definitely make them again.
The icing I used was my favorite chocolate icing. For the cookie top, I simply crushed up oreos and delicately placed them on top of the cupcakes. At first i tried to simply stick the ears in, but I quickly realized that it wouldn't work. I had to cut the corners off the cookies in order to get them to stick. And they still didn't stick! So I took a toothpick and stuck them in the "ear" and then into the cake. That seemed to be the best way to get it to work.
Overall I was pleased with how they looked and with how they tasted! I will definitely make the cupcakes again, especially if mickey ear cupcakes are ever needed again :)
"Ultimate" Vanilla Cupcake
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup whole milk (I actually used soy milk)
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together sugar, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong. It's supposed to be that way.)
- Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
- Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white or very light golden color! Dont worry! Thats how they are supposed to be :)
- Let cupcakes sit for 10 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack to complete cooling.
Chocolate Buttercream Icing
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- Cream butter and shortening until blended and soft
- Add in melted chocolate and mix (You can melt the chocolate in a glass bowl for approximately 3 minutes on 50% power in the microwave or using a double boiler)
- Add in vanilla
- Add in sugar one cup at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next cup
- Add in milk to get to the desired consistency. Use more if desired.