Friday, June 17, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I'm about to do something crazy.

From time to time, I share a recipe that is against my belief system. What belief system is that? "Vanilla is ick." Oh, that.

However, I have been known to befriend people with other belief systems. Several years ago, my husband asked if I could make vanilla cupcakes with white chocolate frosting for a coworker of his. It's apparently her favorite combo. In fact, I almost added the recipe to this blog, but later thought better of it. Why is that? Other than the (plain! vanilla! boring!) obvious, I have never really tasted these cupcakes. I had a tiny bite of one, but gave the rest to my husband and went to the freezer for some chocolatey ice cream instead. The frosting is too sweet. The cake is too un-chocolate. I considered eating one topped with chocolate sauce, but what is the point?

Don't get me wrong. I'm told that these are delicious cupcakes. Better than delicious. When the aforementioned coworker took a new job elsewhere, I was asked to make the cupcakes again. I was told that she had four of them. Then saved two for the next day. When my husband saved one for his old boss, she replied with an e-mail. Subject line: "OMG." Of all the (by my standards) delicious things that I have prepared for his coworkers, this is what the people want. I'll just go have another scoop of chocolate peanut butter ice cream, thankyouverymuch.

I wasn't even inspired to take nice photographs or to decorate them with a piping bag. So, sorry. Vanilla just doesn't deserve that.

Everyone's Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from Martha via Magnolia Bakery, and frosting from Diana's Desserts)

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, and scraping down sides of bowl in between each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

"Help us! We're plain! Not even chocolate can save us!"

Transfer to a wire rack to cool in tins for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins, and cool completely on rack. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Serve at room temperature.

9 oz. white chocolate, chopped (or use chips)
12 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/4–3 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar (to taste)
1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or good nonstick pot on low. Stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, and alternate with the milk, beating until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat until smooth. Stir in the cooled melted white chocolate. If necessary, refrigerate until firm enough to frost the cupcakes, about 30 minutes.

Frost cooled cupcakes with an offset spatula.

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