Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Perfect Vanilla Cupcake with Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I have been on a quest to create the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe.  Vanilla - so simple, yet so vulnerable.  I wanted a cupcake that was fluffy, moist, and flavorful - and I was going to have to make that recipe myself.

The Perfect Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Sift all of the dry ingredients together except for the salt.  Add salt and whisk dry ingredients to combine.  
196 grams of flour
9 grams of baking powder 
5 grams of baking soda 
4 grams of celtic sea salt

Beat together the sugar and olive oil.  Beat in all of the eggs and vanilla extract.  
200 grams of white sugar
96 grams of olive oil
1 egg + 3 egg yolks (approximately 100 grams) - room temperature
A 7 oz. container of Fage 2% Greek yogurt - room temperature
20 grams vanilla extract (approximately 2 tablespoons)

Combine the dry into your wet mixture in thirds, beating until combined.  Finally, mix in the yogurt.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes.  Don't disturb them for at least 10 minutes.  

Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

I'm using the basic swiss meringue buttercream recipe.  You can find an excellent explanation of it here.   I'm changing it just a bit to include some delicious honey flavor.  

5 egg whites
1 cup of white sugar
A pinch of cream of tartar
4 sticks of butter softened and cut into tablespoons
1/2 cup of honey

Follow the directions from Sweetapolita or Martha Stewart.  I've always used Martha's recipe just because it was the first one I came across.  After everything is combined (after it looks curdled and gross - just keep going!) add in the honey and combine.  It's a very light and mild frosting.  

A Few Tips

  • Room temperature is king.  Have all your ingredients at room temperature.  If your eggs are still cold, sit them in a bowl of room temperature water.  After baking, keep your cupcakes at room temperature too.  Nothing will kill a cupcake more quickly than the refrigerator; you will have some dry little cupcakes.  Keep them in a box or a tupperware.  I find that my frosted cupcakes are still delicious a week later.  The eggs are cooked, so there's nothing to worry about.  
  • Buy a food scale, because you obviously can't follow this recipe otherwise.  We are talking science people!  They're thin and cheap.  Buy one and keep it tucked in a cabinet until you need it.  
  • For the frosting, I always heat up the water first before you put the bowl of egg whites over it (otherwise you're spending a lot of energy beating when it's not even cooking yet).  I can tell when it's ready to come off the stove by rubbing the mixture between my fingers; if there's any grit then it needs to keep cooking.  Lastly, I always transfer it into a different bowl after I take it off of the stove so it will cool more quickly.  


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