Article by Mark Etinger
Growing up, there was nothing more I loved than cupcakes. I preferred them to ice cream, cakes, candy, you name it–I loved cupcakes, above all else. And even today, not much else has changed. There really isn’t anything I enjoy more than a delicious cupcake. There’s something just so decadent, yet simple about a cupcake. The frosting to cake ratio is perfect, not to mention the endless number of decorating options you have! However, in order to master a perfect cupcake recipe, the way it looks is only 25% (at best) as important as the cake itself. Whether you’re a chocoholic or vanilla lover, make sure your cake tastes as good as it looks, if not more.
Today, we’ll discuss one of the signature and foolproof cupcake cooking ideas for kids. The infamous vanilla cupcake. Cupcake making is great for cooking with children because they can contribute throughout every single step, especially decorating and tasting.
Here’s a vanilla cupcake recipe of mine from one of my favorite bakeries: (Makes approximately 30 cupcakes)
Billy’s Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes1 3/4 cups of cake flour, not self-rising1 1/4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour2 cups of sugars1 tablespoon of baking powder3/4 teaspoon salt1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes4 large eggs1 cup of whole milk1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine dry ingredients: flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter and mix until it becomes coated with flour. Let kids do the measuring, but leave the mixing to the adults.
2. Whisk eggs, milk and vanilla in a large glass-measuring cup with mixer on medium-speed. Add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scarping down the sides of the bowl before each addition. Beat until ingredients are incorporated, but avoid over beating.
3. Funnel batter evenly (about 2/3 full) into your paper-lined cupcake pan/s. Bake, rotating pan halfway through for 17-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. (A toothpick will do the trick).
4. Remove your cupcakes from the oven and completely cool them on a wire cooling rack. Be patient! Decorating a hot cupcake will make a big melted, mess. Once your cupcakes have cooled, use a small spatula to frost the tops! Decorate with sprinkles, chocolate, nuts, whatever you and your children want! Cupcake decorating is the best part for children’s cooking!
If you need an equally tasty cupcake frosting recipe, use Billy’s Vanilla Buttercream recipe:
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter stored at room temperature6 to 8 cups of confectioners’ sugar1/2 cup of milk1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
With an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Set mixer to low-speed and add 6 cups of sugar, milk and vanilla until light and fluffy. If needed, add remaining 2 cups of sugar to reach desired consistency.