I have to admit that I have always dreaded Valentine's Days. Well, not always, just when I've been alone. I'm convinced this holiday was created to make single people feel miserable the world over. Why else would it be??? Hallmark makes who knows how much out this so called holiday alone. It's all about making money, then again, so is Christmas these days. So, while the rational part of me believes this, there romantic at heart in me gets a little sparkle in her eyes thinking about all the romantic, cheesy, cliche things going on in the world today. Everything from red roses to walks on the beach, to romantic dinners to champagne and chocolate covered strawberries by candle light. Hey, I AM a girl after all!
Even with all my Valentine's Day cynicism, I couldn't resist baking cupcakes with pink icing. I admit, it was just an excuse to get in the kitchen because I haven't done in so long. What used to be an almost daily occurrence is now a sporadic thing. These days I take any opportunity to at least try to bake something....anything.
I've wanted to try the Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe for a long time. I figured this occasion was as good as any. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the Magnolia Bakery and their cupcakes. In case you have been living under the proverbial rock, the Magnolia Bakery is a small bakery in New York that has one of the best cupcakes in the entire city, if not the country. The lines for this bakery, which is take out only, can be ridiculously long AND they have a 12 cupcake per customer limit due to their popularity. The Magnolia Bakery cupcakes have been featured in Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada, etc. The owners have also released at least two books, one of which contains this recipe.
In all honesty, I don't understand why they have decided to share the most popular recipe. True, they are probably not losing much business since they are not a country wide chain and thus anyone outside of the NYC area are not really their target demographics but still...the competition could very well use it against them. At any rate, I'm glad they've decided to share because had it not been for this recipe, I would have probably never tried a Magnolia cupcake. The recipe is all over the internet right now and I guess I'm just jumping on the bandwagon. The recipe also comes with an icing recipe but I used a different recipe since I don't like buttercream that is just butter and powder sugar.
Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing
1 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line two 12 whole muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a small bowl, mix the flours and set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the the ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until all the ingredients are combined but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
For the buttercream:
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 a cup vanilla sugar
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a mixer or in a metal bowl and whisk together. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. Insert a thermometer in the bowl and whisk until the mixture reaches 100°F (warm to the touch). Remove the bowl from the saucepan and place on the mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer. Beat on high speed until the egg whites form soft, shiny peaks.
Make sure the butter is soft and lump free. Add to the meringue a tablespoon at a time while beating at high speed. Continue to beat on high speed until the mixture looks smooth. Use right right away by spreading the buttercream on the cupcakes.
The cupcake part, the part that comes from the Magnolia Bakery, is absolutely delicious It is one of the best vanilla cupcakes I have ever had. The icing, which is a slight modification of the buttercream found in "Desserts by the Yard" by Sherry Yard is also one of the best I've had. Over all, these cupcakes are excellent, even my picky husband loved them
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