Well, that was crazy. Were you starting to wonder if I’d thrown in the pink polka-dotted towel? If I’d escaped to Emerald City in search of the Wizard? For those who tag along for my Instagram snippets, you probably figured out that it’s been a busy few weeks for us, as we moved last weekend. Not far, just the neighbouring town, but I spent countless days organizing, purging and packing our stuff for the move. I got really nest-y and couldn’t stop organizing. I think with any big change comes the incentive to make other small changes, and it was so rejuvenating once it was all done. I did shed a few tears as I looked back at my cakelets’ keepsakes, baby clothing, etc. Moving was a much more emotionally draining time for me than I expected, but with so much productivity and order, it was all worth it.
In a flurry of ridding old treasures, I actually welcomed one new one a few weeks ago–the most exciting birthday gift of all time from Mr. Sweetapolita: a pink KitchenAid mixer! The truth is, I have several mixers, mostly because I usually have 2 going at all times, but I’ve always wanted a Pink Mixer. As I said on facebook, if I was a mixer, I would definitely be pink (and I loved reading all of your answers too!). The loveliest part about this mixer is that it is one of the products included in the KitchenAid Cook for the Cure program, so it was a win-win. Because mixers are typically a long-term purchase, though, I had sort of given up on having a pink one, at least for a few eons or so. That’s what made this feel-good gift a true surprise! I actually have even more fun baking now . . . if you can imagine.
When I set up my mixer in the new kitchen, and made enough space through the towering boxes I still need to unpack, I decided that my first baked good would be a batch of luscious light double-vanilla cupcakes. Perhaps you’re wondering how I can possibly blog about another vanilla cake/cupcake recipe, but I made a few changes this time that I felt made this batch my idea of a vanilla dream. After using Dorie’s party cake recipe as a base for my Cherry-Vanilla Delight Cake, and loving the texture so much, I decided to turn them into cupcakes, with some changes.
One of the things I added was 1/2 cup of soft-peak whipped cream, a trick I read about on The Kitchn a few weeks ago. You simply whip it and fold it into your cake batter, any cake batter, before dividing into cake pans or cupcake tins–needless to say I was intrigued! It had been on my mind since then, and I was dying to try this, so I thought classic vanilla cupcakes can never be too velvety, or too moist, so why not? I did notice a difference and these cupcakes were of the best I’ve ever made (toot, toot!).
Since I was feeling all whipped-creamy and such, it dawned on my that clouds of vanilla whipped cream would be a welcomed change from buttercream. The second-best part about Whipped Cream Frosting? It takes only minutes to make and has no butter or icing sugar. I tinted it a very pale turquoise and sprinkled the cupcakes with pink sanding sugar for sweet crunch, you know, since pink was in the air . . .
And by air, I think I mean the gale-force wind that busted through my wide-open front door while I was photographing the cupcakes. It came out of nowhere, knocked over my white board (it might be time to stop MacGyver’ing my photo shoots), which consequently knocked over my trio of small plastic bottles and turquoise paper stripey straws that I was so excited to use. As disappointed as I was that my shoot was ruined, how could I possibly cry over pink spilled milk? So forgive the fact that I don’t really have any close-ups on the poufs of vanilla clouds and the inside of the luscious cupcakes–maybe I’ll make these again . . . you know, for you. I’m good like that. ♥
- 2-1/2 cups 275 g sifted cake flour
- 1 tablespoon 15 g baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon 5 g salt
- 1 cup 237 ml whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 large egg whites 60 g, at room temperature
- 1 whole egg at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon 1.75 ml Pure Vanilla Extract (or 1 teaspoon –5 ml–, if you aren’t using vanilla sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon 1.75 ml Pure Almond Extract
- 1-1/2 cups 300 g vanilla sugar (or regular sugar)
- 1 stick 115 g(8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup 119 ml whipping cream or heavy cream, cold
- 3 cups 711 ml whipping cream or heavy cream, cold
- 6 tablespoons 95 g vanilla sugar (or regular sugar)
- 1 teaspoon 5 ml Pure Vanilla Extract; use 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) if you're not using vanilla sugar
- pink sanding sugar for sprinkling optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F and center the oven rack. Line 2 muffin/cupcake pans with your favourite standard-size cupcake liner, and put the first cupcake pan on a baking sheet. (You will place the second cupcake pan on the same sheet in the oven once the first tray is baked.)
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract in a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup.
In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment (I used the whisk), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until very pale and creamy, about 5 minutes.
With the mixer still on medium speed, alternate additions of the flour mixture and milk-egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (3 dry additions, 2 wet), beating after each addition until incorporated. Continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Chill a clean stainless mixer bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes, and then beat whipping cream until soft peaks form (don't beat until stiff). This is where a second mixer bowl comes in handy, as you can simply wash the whisk and use the stand mixer to whip the cream. If you don't have a second mixer bowl, you can use a hand mixer or even transfer the batter to another bowl, wash the bowl and whisk then whip the cream with your stand mixer. Fold whipped cream into cake batter.
Divide batter evenly among your cupcake liners--about 2/3 full--and bake until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs only, about 16 minutes.
Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool on wire racks. Repeat with second tray.
Chill a stainless mixer bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least 5 minutes (or refrigerator for 20 minutes).
Pour the cream into the bowl and whisk on medium-high (I used #8 on my KitchenAid mixer) until the cream begins to thicken. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and whisk until the frosting becomes stiff, but be careful to not over-beat, or the frosting will become grainy.
Add a drop of turquoise gel colour, if desired and gently mix in with a spatula.
Best used right away.
Fill a medium Piping Bag fitted with pastry tip of your choice (I used a plain Large Round Tip) about 1/2 full with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting and pipe a generous swirl on top of the cooled cupcake. Holding the piping bag directly above the cupcakes, put pressure on the bag while guiding the frosting in a circular swirl pattern beginning on the outside and working your way up and in, about 3 times, then releasing pressure.
Top with pink sanding sugar for a lovely, sparkly crunch!
[cupcake portion loosely adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours]
- Lately I use vanilla sugar for almost all of my baked goods, whipped cream and cooked frostings–I keep a scraped vanilla bean with pod buried in my sugar canister at all times. Once your vanilla bean is scraped and seeds and pod are buried in your airtight sugar container, you will have vanilla sugar in about 1-2 weeks. The longer it sits, the more vanilla you will taste. I typically add pure vanilla extract to recipes as well, but usually a little less than I normally would. Vanilla Beans are a bit pricey, but I sincerely feel it makes a difference–nothing beats the authentic flavour of vanilla bean.
- For filling cupcake liners, I always use this Stainless Steel Scoop–perfectly consistent cupcakes every time.
- I always use Pure Vanilla Extract and Pure Almond Extract.
- As with any vanilla cake or cupcake recipe, feel free to get kooky and toss a handful of sprinkles into the batter for a funfetti version!
- As with Dorie’s cake recipes, I went ahead and placed a baking pan under the cupcake pan while baking–I like this because the bottoms of the cupcakes don’t get brown.
- Whipped Cream Frosting is best used within a few hours of whipping, and best made and enjoyed on the same day. Once on cupcakes it keeps in refrigerator overnight, if necessary.
- For sprinkling, I used Pink Sanding Sugar.
- Avoid keeping undecorated cupcakes in airtight containers, particularly vanilla, as the cupcake liners tend to pull away from the cupcake (this is so disheartening!). I usually place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper on top of them if I have to leave them out overnight.