Acorn Squash Cupcakes + Browned Butter Frosting
Acorn Squash Cupcakes with browned butter cream cheese frosting
Biscoff cinnamon chip Christmas cookies!
Sometimes I walk like this when I’m wearing a coat.
HAHAHAHAHA MY LIFE
I decided spur of the moment on Sunday night to (finally) have my vanilla cupcake bake off. Every baker needs a killer vanilla cupcake recipe in his/her arsenal because it is so versatile, but as every baker knows, the perfect vanilla cupcake is almost as allusive as Bigfoot. I prefer my cupcakes to be dense, moist and almost shiny when you bite into them. My quest began with high hopes.
So I began my mission with four different cupcake recipes. One was a recipe heavy whipping cream instead of milk. The second was a classic butter. The third was Buddy Valastro’s (aka the Cake Boss) vanilla cupcake.
The first two baked up just fine and were quite satisfactory but frankly I was most excited for the Cake Boss’s. I stood with my nose pressed against the oven glass the entire 30 minutes that they baked and I almost cried when I took them out. They were perfectly domed and better yet, the top was shiny. When I pulled them apart (and a little puff of steam came out and I screamed) they were perfection. A heavy, but moist and delicate crumb. This, my friends, was a real cupcake.
After a half hour of cooling, I recruited my younger sister to try them all with me. The first one was dry, as evidenced by the fact that my sister nearly choked on hers. The second was more moist with great flavor but simply not enough cupcake. Both were too light.
We got to Buddy’s cupcake and it was a clear winner. I haven’t had a vanilla cupcake that was so good. After a second round of making it and a few slight alterations to increase the moisture, here the finalized recipe and boy is she a doozy.
To top it off, I tested a new frosting that was incredible and light, a perfect compliment to a sweet cupcake. I added that at the bottom.
Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
(adapted from Buddy Valastro’s Vanilla Cake)
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Canola oil (his recipe called for vegetable but I used Canola. They’re interchangeable.)
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
vanilla (to taste)
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
(The following directions are exactly from Buddy’s recipe.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put the flour, sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can put the ingredients in a bowl and use a hand mixer with the blending attachments.) Mix on slow just until the ingredients are blended together, a few seconds, then raise the speed to low-medium and continue to mix until smooth, approximately 1 additional min
With the motor running, add 1 egg at a time, adding the next one after the previous one has been absorbed into the mixture. Stop the motor periodically and scrape the bowl from the bottom with a rubber spatula to integrate ingredients, and return the mixer to low-medium speed. After all the eggs are added, continue to mix for an additional minute to ensure the eggs have been thoroughly mixed in. This will help guarantee that the sugar is dissolved and that the flour has been thoroughly mixed in, which will help produce a luxurious mouth-feel in the final cake.
With the motor running, add the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping the motor to scrape the sides and bottom between the two additions. Continue to mix for another minute or until the mixture appears smooth. Before baking, be sure the batter is at 70-73°F or the cake will crown.