Today was “Australia’s biggest morning tea” – a fundraising event where people are encouraged to get together, with morning tea, to raise money for cancer research and patient support. It was wonderful to see all my workmates get really into the occasion with delectable cakes and generosity. Anyway, it was another occasion to bake – and since the basic must-have for any tea party is the cupcake – no surprises as to what I made!
Just to backtrack a little… In recent years there has been a proliferation of cupcake shops which have introduced us to many different cupcakes – the one that I rate as best is “My Little Cupcake” in Neutral Bay. There is something about the texture of the cake and the lightness of the frosting that makes it the ‘perfect’ cupcake. So in trying to replicate this, I turned to the master herself – Martha Stewart (let’s just ignore all the other stuff she is infamous for and focus just on the baking) – who seems to have perfected the art of cupcake-making. Every time I whip out one of her recipes they go down a treat (an honorable mention should be made for her salted caramel cupcakes)! The recipe I chose was for a classic vanilla cupcake – and a testamur to the success is the positive feedback I receive every time I make these (though I do think that the pretty decoration helps).
Martha Stewart’s Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes
3 cups cake flour (Alternatively, use plain flour but remove 6 tbsp)
1 ½ cups all plain flour
¾ tsp baking soda
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp coarse salt
280g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ¼ cups sugar
5 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with liners. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- On medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium. Add whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each. Beat in Vanilla.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each ¾ full. Bake, rotating thins halfway through, until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and cake tester inserted in centres comes out clean, about 20 mins. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 mins; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
- To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and, if desired, decorate.
Martha Stewart’s Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
375g unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 second to aerate frosting, then return to medium. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
- Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 mins