I have spent years looking for a white cake recipe that I liked; every one I had encountered had been either dry, flavorless, or had a strange texture. This recipe is out of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes and is about as close to wonderful as I think I will come across. The cake is snow white, soft, fluffy, perfectly moist, and most importantly sweet but it doesn’t taste like a boxed cake mix.
I am also going to include the Fluffy Vanilla Frosting recipe out of this book because it is very easy to work with. It is sort of a cross between a meringue buttercream and a simple buttercream in that it is sweet like a simple buttercream recipe but it stays soft like a meringue buttercream. Simple buttercream tends to form a thin shell making it hard to sprinkle if you don’t do so soon after frosting.
yield: 24 cupcakes
3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp real vanilla (it’s the predominant flavor so splurge)
1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites, room temp
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir vanilla into milk.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Scrape.
3. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, beating until just combined after each.
4. In another bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (do not over mix).
5. Fold one-third of the egg whites into batter to lighten. Gently fold in remaining whites in two batches.
6. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Firmly tap the tins once on the countertop to release any air bubbles. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 18 to 20 min.
7. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temp, or frozen for up to 2 months in air tight containers.
Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
Yield: 4 cups or about 12 cupcakes if you ice like a bakery does (meaning a fair about of frosting)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 to 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. If your butter isn’t quite to room temp it is fine, it will just take longer to reach this stage.
2. Reduce the speed to medium or low. Add the powdered sugar in 3 additions, scraping well after each addition. Raise speed to high and beat until very pale and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated for up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.