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Friday, August 19, 2016

Celebration Vanilla Cupcakes


Any cupcake is grounds for a celebration, but these cupcakes are especially good.  Moist and close-textured, each bite is a celebration in your mouth!  Paired with your favourite icing or whipped cream frosting, these make any celebration top-notch.  


Jenell, Heather, Lois, Don
A few weeks ago Don and I were priviledged to host two lovely young women in our home.  Jenell and Heather from Antigua and Jamaica, respectively, were with Canada Youth Challenge selling a variety of health and Christian books to earn scholarships for their next year of university.  Jenell is doing computer programing and Heather is in her last year of education and looking forward to teaching in her own classroom when she completes her degree.  On their last day the two girls presented us with a lovely thank you card and a cookbook.  They knew I like to bake and the gift was perfect.  Don will also appreciate the gift as he eats what I bake. Ha, ha.  Thank you Heather and Jenell.

As I was flipping through the book (seconds after I received it) my eyes fell upon a recipe for Celebration Cupcakes and I knew these would be the first recipe I'd try from the book.   They looked just like the ones mom would bake for my birthday parties, minus the fancy swirls of icing.  It was the lovely golden edges that caught my attention.  Mom's looked just like that when they came from the oven to my mouth.  

Junior’s Dessert Cookbook (Celebration Cupcakes, page 82) by Alan Rosen and Beth Allen, published by The Taunton Press, 2011
 
I had never heard of Junior's resturant before I received the book so I did a little investigating and learned they are a New York City based chain of resturants in the NYC area.  The recipes are scaled down versions of what they serve or have served in the resturant over the years since it was established.  Looks like I'll have some serious baking to do over the winter months!

I baked up half a batch of the little cakes the next day.  The cupcakes were everything I thought they'd be.  Those lovely golden and somewhat crisp edges met my every expectation and the flavour was nostalgic of the birthday parties of my childhood.  

I decided to bring a few to David and his family who were camping just a few miles from our home.  I thought the children would enjoy decorating their own little cake so brought along a few sprinkles and chocolate chips.  David and Ben supplied a few wild blueberries and raspberries to finish the decorating.  

As you can see David enjoyed decorating and eating his cupcake.  Anne had hers plain with the whipped cream frosting and looks like she enjoyed the experience.  Although the kiddies decorated their cakes they weren't as interested in eating cupcakes as the adults were as there were friends to play with and fish and squirrels to try to catch.

A few days later I made more cupcakes for Emily's birthday party.  We missed her 3rd birthday a few weeks before so, of course, I had to make sure we got to attend a party in her honour while they were visiting Nanny and Poppy Gill's house.  



I made a mini-cake from some of the batter so Emily would have somewhere to place her number 3 candle.  

This is half the recipe.  I thought a dozen plenty to make at a time as the recipe said not to freeze leftover cakes.  They are at their best the day they are made.  I made the birthday cupcakes the morning of the party and gave them a swirl of whipped cream frosting about an hour before the party began.  

If you can't find unsalted butter, use the regular salted butter and cut the salt back to ¼ teaspoon. 

Celebration Vanilla Cupcakes
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 extra-large eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 12-cup standard size muffin pan.  Line the pan with cupcake papers or grease well if not using papers.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Beat in the vanilla. 

Sift the flour before measuring.  Measure sifted flour and mix or sift with the baking powder and salt. 

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, by hand, fold one-third of the flour into the creamed mixture.  Add half the milk, mixing well but do not beat.  Repeat with one-third flour, remaining milk and one-third flour until all ingredients are incorporated. 

Spoon or scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans.  Bake in the preheated oven 18-20 minutes until golden brown and centres are baked when tested with a toothpick.  Let cupcakes cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.  Place on wire rack until completely cool.  Frost with favourite icing (see index for several frosting/icing suggestions) or whipped cream

Makes 12 cupcakes.


In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Beat in the vanilla.  Don't forget the vanilla.  This gives the cupcakes such a great flavour.


Sift the flour before measuring.  Cake flour is quite lumpy so sifting is imperative to a good smooth batter.  Measure sifted flour and mix or sift with the baking powder and salt.  That little yellow measuring cup is 2 tablespoons or ⅛ cup. 

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold one-third of the flour into the creamed mixture.  Add half the milk, mixing well but do not beat.  Repeat with one-third flour, remaining milk and one-third flour until all ingredients are incorporated. This is how you add flour and milk or any liquid alternately into a batter. 


I like to use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake papers.  


I guess I didn't fill the papers quite enough because I had just enough batter to make an extra cupcake in a custard cup.  Thirteen cupcakes makes a baker's dozen. Nothing unlucky about 13.


Straight from the oven.  See those lovely golden edges.  Can't wait to get my teeth into those cupcakes.


Let the cupcakes cool about 10 minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.  

For the birthday party I gave each cupcake a swirl of Whipped Cream Frosting.  



Any favourite icing or frosting will be delicious on these cupcakes.  I like the Whipped Cream Frosting because it isn't too sweet.  A less sweet topping is perfect when the kiddies will be decorating with sprinkles and candy.


Ta, da!  Emily's birthday cupcake.  Well decorated, including a lovely pair of cheezie horns.


Cupcakes are good but so are popsicles.  


 Winding down after everyone's gone home. 


All ready for your next celebration!



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