Saturday, July 23, 2011

Zesty Vanilla Cupcakes

Last Saturday I was supposed to attend a coffee workshop at Little Baguio, San Juan,  but I woke up late, and that would not make me in time for the workshop.   I have planned that after the workshop I will then go straight to our church center to have lunch with fellow housewives and also welcome our doctors/missionary from Vietnam.
So I decided why not prepare a nice dessert for the pot bless lunch.
My chocolate cupcakes have always been a hit where ever  I take them, but i thought of something else, something different.
I have a vanilla cupcake recipe which I got from The Joy of Baking website, never have I baked vanilla cakes before from scratch, my kids love baking with Pillsbury's Yellow cake mix, that's what I have been using if we want something that is not chocolate.
It always proved to be a very reliable dessert and snack for the whole family.
This is a very versatile dessert, you may opt to doing just a vanilla, by omitting the orange and lemon extract.   You can also infuse the batter with green tea and herbs for a more adventurous cake, i'll be doing that sometime.
So here is it, this is again rather easy.

Zesty Vanilla Cupcakes:
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin) , optional
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
1 teaspoon each of orange and lemon pure extracts

Buttercream Frosting:

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, lemon extract and orange extract
2 Tablespoon of milk 
1 tint of orange food color

 To do it!

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

2.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest, and the two pure extracts.
3.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5.  Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 -20 minutesor just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. 
(Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.)
6.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 
7.  Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. 

Here is how  I make my frosting...

1.  In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended.

2.   Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
3.  Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. 
4.  Tint the frosting with desired food color (I use the gel food coloring that is available at cake decorating stores and party stores, however I purchased mine at Gourdo's ).

Makes about 20 cupcakes.

Sugar Cookies: Danielle's First Trial

As promised to my fellow "Food-trippers,"   I will be posting easy to do baking recipes so we can all practice our baking prowess...
Here is one that my kids love doing, however, this would involve rolling a cold hard though.   One good exercise for our mommy and kiddie muscles.
Sugar Cookies Ingredients:
3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Here is how to do it:
1. Prepare two large bowls.  In one bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. 
2.  In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). 
3.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.
4.  Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.
5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
6.  Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.)  
7.  Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. 8.  Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.
Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you may want to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with crystal or sparkling sugar. 
9.  Bake cookies for about 8 -10 minutes(depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. 
10.  Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

You can frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours.)
Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper.