Sunday, March 11, 2012

The most AWESOME vanilla cake/cupcakes EVER!

I had been searching for a looong time for the best vanilla cake recipe and time after time I kept being disappointed. Until last week! I finally found a recipe that I can honestly say is the BEST vanilla cake recipe ever! Thanks a million to my friend and neighbor Lauren! This will be a treasured card in my recipe box! I cannot sing this recipe enough praises- the oil and sour cream make it super moist (unlike most vanilla cakes from scratch which turn out somewhat dry) and it is so, so flavorful and delicious (in stark contrast to many bland vanilla cakes I have tried and scratched off my list). Give it a try- I hope you like it as much as I do!

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with paper liners (for cupcakes).
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick and creamy (about 2 minutes).
Blend vanilla, oil and sour cream.
Add flour and milk, alternating- starting and finishing with flour.
Pour in muffin tins. Bake 18-19 minutes or until they test done. 
Frost with your frosting of choice. I decided to frost these with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which was highly recommended by many reviews I read online but which I personally did not care for. Still, I will include the recipe for this too... It's your call- after all, you might be like the zillions of other people who actually love this buttercream! :) If you give it a try, let me know what you think.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients: (makes enough for 24 cupcakes) 
  • 4 large egg whites or about 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (or extract of your choice)

Lightly whisk egg whites, sugar and salt together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 150°F and sugar has dissolved.
 Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Switch to paddle attachment. While beating on medium speed, add butter 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks curdled, continue beating on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (don’t worry, it will come together!)  Stir in the vanilla extract and mix just until incorporated. 

Keep at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

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