My 15 year old brother is a walking contradiction. He loves nothing more than a perfect lobster tail with drawn butter, a roasted beet salad, creamy tiramisu. But he equally loves instant ramen, Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Little Debbie Swiss rolls. He's skinny as a twig but eats a massive bowl of ice cream each night.
Every time I come home he asks me to make him a cake. I say "Sure, what do you want?" "A box cake," he replies. I scowl, disgusted. "Ian, I'm not wasting my time making a box cake. You can make that yourself." This happens pretty frequently. Why doesn't he like real cake? Because I'm a people pleaser, I set out to make him something from scratch that he'd approve of.
Since it happened to be Secret Recipe Club time, I found a great vanilla cake recipe on Jo-Anna's blog, A Pretty Life in the Suburbs. This is perhaps the best vanilla cake recipe I have found thus far. It's not dense and overly crumbly. Perhaps it has something to do with the procedure, which I haven't seen before (adding chunks of butter to the dry mixture instead of creaming it with the sugar). Instead of the cherry buttercream she made, I did raspberry. So, what did Ian think of the cupcakes? "Taste like a box cake." Mission accomplished.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
adapted from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs
1 cup cake flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out, save the pod for something!
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add the butter in chunks, to the flour mix, then add 3/4 cup milk. Beat on low for 1 minute.
- Add eggs, and the remaining milk and vanilla.
- Beat until smooth.
- Pour the batter into approximately 20 muffin cups.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Cool before frosting.
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
- Sift icing sugar.
- In a mixer, beat butter until soft and fluffy.
- Add sifted icing sugar, and mix until well combined.
- Add vanilla and raspberries.
- Then frost your cupcakes after they have cooled.