Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Continuing on with wanting to learn more about cupcakes for my new job, today I decided to make a simple vanilla cupcake.

This is a denser cake, not as light and fluffy as I would expect a cupcake to be, but has a nice vanilla flavour. The chocolate buttercream really adds to the cupcake, as plain vanilla-flavoured cupcakes can easily be boring!

Adapted from the Cupcake Queen’s 52 Cupcakes and Magnolia Bakery.

For the cupcakes
This recipe calls for cake flour. If you don’t have any, you can substitute every 1 cup (120g) of cake flour for 3/4 cup (105g) plain flour and 2 tbsp cornflour.

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
220g unsalted butter, cubed (1 cup)
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170 C and line 2 12-hole muffin tins with cupcake cases (or bake 2 batches, just pop the muffin tin in the freezer for a minute between batches to cool it quickly).

Whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla together in a jug and set aside.

Put all the dry ingredients into the bowl of your electric mixer and mix on a low speed until combined. Add the butter and mix until it is well coated with flour.

Turn the mixer up to a medium speed. Add the wet ingredients in three batches, beating after each addition until just combined.

Using two tablespoons, spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool. Makes 24 cupcakes.

For the buttercream

The flavour of the chocolate that you use in the frosting is really prominent, so make sure to choose one of a good quality that you like. Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes.

330g unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp milk
250g chocolate, milk, semisweet or a combination (9 ounces)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar

Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second bursts, stirring in between until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 minutes then add the vanilla and beat for a further 3 minutes.

Gradually add the sugar, half a cup at a time, beating until smooth.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost them in any way you like. You can spread the frosting on with a palette knife like I have or pipe on a big swirl with a piping bag. I’m no expert (mine are pretty sloppy) but if you google frosting you will find lots of instructional videos.

All the cupcakes I made were given to my cupcake-loving girlfriend for taste testing.

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