Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes Part 1

Vanilla cupcakes are probably my least favourite of all cupcakes. However, in as much as I avoid making them, I believe that as a baker, it is an absolute must for me to have a delicious and foolproof vanilla cupcake recipe in my repertoire.  That and chocolate cupcakes at least.  I have tried many different recipes over the years, mostly from famous bakers and bakeries, but never was I completely happy with any of them.  Mostly, the cupcakes were too buttery and/or oily and were no good for more than a day. And almost always, no matter what recipe I used, after beautifully rising in the oven, the cupcakes sank after baking. So frustrating! Really an enigma how something supposedly so basic can be so hard to perfect.

I don't know why I didn't think of trying this before.  Yesterday, using the red velvet cupcake recipe that always gave me perfect cupcakes, I made a few adjustments and came up with my own vanilla cupcake recipe.  And what do you know, I baked my best batch ever!




The cupcakes were very light and tender (owing to the use of buttermilk), had a fine crumb, with just the right sweetness and vanilla flavour. They rose to a good height and did not sink at all :)))).  Definitely much better than any other vanilla cupcake I have ever made.

Sure, as always, I am happy to share this recipe! Before that though, let me just give you a quick insight on how I came up with the amounts of baking powder and baking soda.  For leavening, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda is usually necessary for every cup of flour.  I did not use 100% baking powder as the recipe needed even a small amount of baking soda to neutralize the acid from the buttermilk.  With this in mind, I derived the proper amounts using simple math.  Clear enough?

On to the recipe.



VANILLA CUPCAKES (makes about 20)

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/4 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Procedure:
1.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Line muffin trays with baking cups.
2.  In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Set aside.
3.  Using an electric mixer,  starting from a low speed gradually increasing to high, cream butter and sugar together until very light in colour and fluffy.
4.  With mixer turned down to medium-low speed, beat in eggs one at a time.  Add in vanilla extract.
5.  In three additions, alternately add in flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape bowl as needed to ensure that everything is incorporated well.  After the last addition,
beat at high speed for the last time for about 45-60 seconds.
6.  Using a 2" ice cream scoop, fill each baking cup with the cupcake batter.
7.  Bake for about 22-25 minutes.  Transfer each cupcake immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.

How did I finish off these cupcakes?


Looks interesting to you? Wait for Part 2.

60 comments:

  1. I will surely try this.thanks for posting.

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  2. Is it okay to use pandan essence instead of vanilla to make it pandan cupcakes? Thanks in advance!

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  3. i got lost in my calculation, corinne, but how did you come up with two and a quarter teaspoons of baking powder for two and a half cups of flour? if one and a half teaspoons are needed for every cup of flour, wouldn't we need three and three quarters teaspoons for two and a half cups? i guess the presence of baking soda altered things, but i just wonder how you factored it in in the amount of baking powder you used.

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    1. Look at it this way -
      2 1/4 tsps of baking powder is for 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/4 tsp of baking soda is for 1 cup of flour. There are 2 1/2 cups of flour in total in the recipe hence the amounts of baking powder and baking soda.

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    2. amazing! thanks very much! would you recommend this same equation in your red velvet chiffon recipe?

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    3. Chiffon cakes work differently as the main leavening actually comes from the eggs. Some recipes do not even contain any leavening agent. The addition of baking powder or baking soda is just an insurance.

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    4. bene, bene! grazie mille signora!

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  4. i forgot to include this question in my previous post, but would it be all right to substitute buttermilk with sour cream? i feel that milk soured with vinegar or lemon doesn't have as much fat as buttermilk.

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    1. Actually, cultured buttermilk has less fat than whole milk. But yes, you can substitute.

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    2. is that right? i always thought it had more fat because it was thicker. i'll use soured milk then. lol.

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    3. Buttermilk is thick because of the lactic acid that causes the milk to curdle.

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    4. i see. but do you reckon that sour cream could make the cupcakes more tender?

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    5. I cannot give you a definite answer as I have not tried substituting. I don't know how the texture will be affected.

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  6. hello ms. corrine,
    tinry ko nga pala etong vanilla cupcakes kanina, kaya lang half lang nung recipe yung ginamit ko kasi gusto ko lang eto itest sana...sa resulta na nakita ko, sa tingin ko eto na yung vanilla cupcake na matagal ko ng hinahanap, thank you so much, true enough, soft, light and fluffy ang naging outcome, 10pcs ang naging yield and hindi na umabot sa frosting part yung cupcakes... hehe, hindi pa nagkucool completely, 8 na agad yung nakain naming mag-asawa... so naisip ko, next time na lang yung frosting and enjoy na lang muna yung cupcake, kasi the cupcake alone is so sarap na, sakto lang ang tamis, just the way i like it... so yung 2 natira, kakainin ko later with hot coffee...natutuwa ako dun sa cupcake kasi moist sya and kahit medyo matagal ng naka-expose soft and fluffy pa rin... can't wait to try your chiffon cakes... you inspire me... :) sana hindi ka magsawang magshare ng mga recipe mo... God bless

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    1. Maraming salamat sa feedback! Really happy to know that you had success with this recipe.

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  7. Hi po miss Corrine , Ask ko lang po sana kung walang buttermilk pwde rin kya., pwde po ba gumawa nang buttermilk at kung pwde papaano po. Tnx

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    1. For one cup of buttermilk substitute, mix one cup of milk with one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Let stand for 5-10 minutes until thickened.

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  8. Ok thank you very much ..

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  9. Hi Corinne, thanks for the recipe. If I may ask, what is the size of the holes in your muffin pans? Mine are the usual 12-hole muffin tins and I seem to think they're too small? Or maybe it's just me ...

    Cheers,
    Cecile A.

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    1. I also use the standard muffin pan (measures 5mm in the bottom). Cupcake cases come in different sizes though so you should probably just find the size that suits you. The one I use are slightly taller than the holes themselves so the cupcakes do bake to a good size.

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  10. corinne, i just made batch of these today (before i went to work. lol). the cupcakes were nice, light, tender and not too sweet. tamang-tama kasi may biglang dumating na mga bisita. hehe! they look exactly like your photos. lol. the only problem that i had was that my maple syrup wasn't strong enough (it was actually honey-maple syrup), so to compensate for that, i threw in a teaspoon of vanilla. in addition, my bacon shrank too much. i think it could've been because there was relatively too much fat in it.
    if i make this again, i will definitely use real-deal maple syrup in the frosting. unfortunately, it's a bit hard to come by and when it does, it's a bit pricey.

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    1. Glad it worked out well for you! Real maple syrup is the way to go, definitely. Grade B is best as it has a richer flavour and is better to use in baking and cooking. Grade A is mild. Pricey nga - I only buy when on sale.

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  11. corinne, if i were to double this recipe, would i have to ease up on the leavening, or simply double it straight up?

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    1. Haven't tried with this but with any other recipe that I need to double, I just double everything.

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  12. Hello Corinne, can i use the same amount of baking soda to your ube cake recipe to make it as cupcake that will not sink after baking? Also, can I substitute vegetable oil to this recipe instead of the butter? If so, should it be same amount/conversion? Please help...

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    1. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. Baking soda needs an acid to react to, for instance, the buttermilk in this recipe. The ube cake does not contain any acid. It rises because of the eggwhites and the baking powder.

      I do not recommend substituting the butter with oil. You will change the texture as well as the taste of this cupcake by doing so. I cannot guarantee good results.

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  13. corinne, do you think i could add matcha green tea powder to this recipe to make it a green tea flavor? if yes, how much do you think i should add? also, do you think the amounts of some of the ingredients will need to be accordingly adjusted?

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    1. One tablespoon matcha powder should be enough unless you want a very strong green tea flavour.

      Maybe try dissolving it first in a little water before adding it in so you don't have to adjust anything else?

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    2. copy! i'll give it a try this or next weekend. i will report the results. [-:

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  14. Hi Ms. Corrine! Thank you for answering quickly. Can i use regular flour instead of cake flour? How much flour and purple yum do i need for this recipe if i'm going to make ube cupcake?

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    1. If this is the recipe you will experiment on, use cake flour. I have not personally tried converting this to ube cupcakes but one of my readers did and she said that she made half the recipe, used 1/4 cup grated ube, 1 tsp ube flavour and 1 tsp purple gel paste and it worked for her. Maybe you can try doing that.

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  15. hi, corrine. i wasn't able to make the green tea "experiment" i inquired about above, but i did make a batch of the original recipe. i've almost already memorized this recipe of yours, so when to my horror the cupcakes came out "magaspang" to the mouth, industrial-tasting and reminiscent of a kabayan mamon, i was so shocked. i decided to ignore it and thought it could have been the buttermilk substitute i used (a bit of yogurt with milk). i proceeded to making my swiss meringue buttercream and again to my surprise, the results i got weren't the same as i had gotten several times in the past. it was thinner than usual and the smell was like sweetened dari creme (i'm not sure if you know this, but dari creme is not butter--it's margarine). i stuffed it in the freezer for just about three minutes to see if i could whip more air into it in a slightly more solid form. but, wow, when i ran it again in my mixer, it curdled! i checked my stock of butter, and figured it wasn't really butter i had used, but margarine or some kind of butter compound. it was a good thing that the shop where we got the stuff from gave us a refund when we brought the blocks back even though they had been with us for one week.
    that was just the intro (haha). i would like to tell you that despite the problem, the cupcakes stayed moist and springy the following day. my sister even liked the taste (i still didn't). i say you did good job with the recipe, although i will never use margarine or whatever substitute with it again. it'll be merely out of personal preference, however, as i think the substitution could work for others.

    cheers!

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    1. I don't know why your cupcakes ended up like that but of course, higher quality ingredients will always give better results.

      As for the buttercream, don't beat it when it's cold. It will surely curdle. It has to be at room temperature. Maybe next time use butter that's less soft so the buttercream will be better for piping?

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    2. no, the butter (whatever it was) was actually very soft, but not melted. i had left it out to soften for more than an hour. most of it will still intact, but very soft, but alas, when i beat it into the meringue (which was in room temperature too), the resulting concoction wasn't fluffy at all. also, the reason why i stuffed it in the freezer for just a few minutes was that the trick had worked for me before.
      as for the cupcakes, i'm very sure the margarine/butter compound was the culprit because i had never had those results before even though i had switched brands many times.

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  16. hi corrine,

    if i were to use this recipe to make an ube cupcake, how do i modify the dry ingredients to incorporate the grated ube? i will of course use ube flavouring instead of vanilla. i've baked the ube macapuno cake using your recipe many times but i don't think that recipe will be good for cupcakes because the chiffon will sink right? thanks in advance for your help.

    mia

    ps. my friends and family love the cakes! thanks for the inspiration! =)

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  17. hi, corinne! i finally pushed through with the green tea version. i used about one-and-a-half tablespoons macha tea powder, and i thought it was successful. i think i will increase the amount to two tablespoons or two tablespoons plus one teaspoon next time just to kick up the tea flavor. btw, i used your old-fashioned buttercream frosting recipe with it too, though i used half-evaporated milk and half condensed milk as i wanted some condensed milk flavor in it. the condensed milk flavor didn't come out though. haha! next time, i'll experiment with a fruity whipped cream recipe (with perhaps mango or peaches).

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  18. Corinne, do you think this could be easily adjusted to become a chocolate cupcake recipe? If I were to replace 1/2 cup of the cake flour with equal an amount of cocoa powder, would I need to increase the baking soda?

    (PS: Can't believe it's been one year since I first tried this particular recipe of yours)

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    1. To be honest, I am cannot say for sure until I try it myself. I think it might not be necessary to change or adjust the amount of baking soda because whether you use natural or dutch processed cocoa, it will react with the buttermilk anyway.

      Personally, I prefer chocolate cupcakes with vegetable oil rather than butter. They come out more moist.

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    2. I see. What I have is natural cocoa powder, and to my understanding, it is acidic, hence what I thought was the need for more baking soda (unless the the levels of acidity is minimal).
      Anyhoo, I will experiment. Vegetable oil cannot be easily substituted for butter, right?

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    3. You are right about natural cocoa being acidic. The original recipe already has an acid (the buttermilk) which reacts with the baking soda, that is why I am assuming there is no need to up the amount any further to get the same leavening effect.

      In case you are interested, this is the recipe I currently like using:
      http://blog.dollhousebakeshoppe.com/2012/07/best-chocolate-cupcakes-ever-small.html

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  19. Corinne, have you tried using this recipe to make a real-size cake? I'm thinking of making bundt cake. Do you think I could use this recipe for it?

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    1. I haven't but I think the recipe will work for a cake. Good luck!

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  20. can i substitute oil for butter?
    then, how will i mix them? dry to wet ingredients?ty

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    1. No. If you want an oil-based cupcake, there are other recipes available out there.

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  21. Can i make this for ube cupcake? How will i adjust the ingredients? Ty

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    1. Please look for the ube cupcake recipe on this blog.

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  22. Hi, ive tried this as it is and it was soo flavorful, i loved it, that i thought of making it into red velvet cupcakes, what do u think?
    Thank unso much!

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    1. Please refer to my red velvet cupcakes post.

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  23. Hi Corinne, I was wondering if I could bake this in a 10" round, 3" high pan? If so, how much of the recipe would I need? Thanks

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    1. I have not tried using this recipe to make a cake but I think it's suitable for an 8" pan. Maybe 1 1/2 recipes for a 10"?

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  24. Hi Corrine! Im an avid follower of yours and I so love all your recipes. I wonder if you have a recipe for basic chocolate cupcake? Or by how can I make this vanilla cupcake recipe be that of chocolate, instead?

    Thank you,
    Ysa

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    1. This is the chocolate cupcake recipe that I use: http://blog.dollhousebakeshoppe.com/2012/07/best-chocolate-cupcakes-ever-small.html

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  25. Hi Corrine, may I know where the Part 2 of this post is? I am looking for the frosting recipe? On the last picture? Thank you so much!

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    1. http://pinoyinoz.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/vanilla-cupcakes-part-2-with-maple.html?m=1

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  26. Thank you Corrine. You are a super big help!

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