Sunday, May 17, 2009

Man, am I annoyed....

The best vanilla cupcake I have ever tasted, actually is one that I made.....However, it was from a mix (From the 'Cupcake Doctor' cookbook). It was flavorful, moist, dense and just plain good. Everyone at my house loved it, and when I brought it to work, multiple people said "It's the best cupcake I've ever had". BUT, I figure, A real cupcake baker is only as good as his/her basic cupcake - so, I've been trying ever since to replicate it. I thought I had done pretty good but recently a friend of mine told me that my vanilla cupcakes "were not fantastic". Well, that put me into a tailspin....I never have found my Nirvana vanilla, so I thought "This time I'm gonna do it". Guess what? I didn't. After days of thought (actually obsessive, compulsive, irrational plotting) and the whole day making cupcakes, I am no farther than I was before.

Based on what "Tofu and Cupcakes" did with chocolate cupcakes, I'm bringing 4 different cupcakes to work tomorrow to have people judge...kind of a useless gesture, since I already know that I haven't found Nirvana - but let's see what they think.

I made 4 kinds, as follows:

In the Halloween wrappers: A vanilla pound cupcake recipe I found on the "Cupcake Project" blogsite.

In the Valentines Day wrappers: My vanilla cupcake with some alterations - such as I replaced some of the sugar with honey and I seperated the eggs and whipped the whites to fold in at the end.

In the St Patrick's Day wrapper: Warren Brown's yellow butter cake recipe.

In the Easter wrappers: A recipe I found on the Cook's Illustrated website.

To sum up my families response to the above, my daughter says "well, you haven't found that 'to die for' vanilla, but you have some real good ones."......ERGH.

And to add insult to injury today, I tried to make Swiss Buttercream for the first time. All was well until I added the blackberry puree at the end. I got a cottage cheese looking consistensy - gross looking, but super yummy. I'll have to try that one again.
On a positive note (ha ha), the strawberry frosting on the cupcake in the picture was fantastic. That recipe is in the previous post.

I quess, for now I'll continue to use my recipe or Warren Brown's (minus the brandy for the kids) and even my cakemix recipe.....If you have any idea's let me know (BTW, Magnolia, Billy, Amy Sedaris, Martha....tried 'em, don't like em - too dry).
I'll post recipes later.


  1. It's so cool that I inspired you to do a cupcake experiment. and Lawsy-Mercy, do I ever feel your pain! You are absolutely right that a real cupcake baker is only as good as her basic recipe. Well said. I do have one idea that I have used for regular cakes- If the recipe comes out too dry, try adding a teaspoon or two of food grade sweet almond oil (just put in with the butter)- it might make the cake too dense for your tastes but definitely more moist. I think the key to being a great baker is being exceptionally particular- don't settle!

  2. Sometimes it's the basic cupcakes that are the most difficult to come make, I always struggle coming up with recipes for the classics!