I will admit I have been very quiet this summer. With the hot days and humidity we had in August, I don’t know about you but I kept my oven off for the most part of the past month. To be fair, I also spent a lot of time away from my computer and as close as possible to nature.
As I haven’t blogged in a long time, I thought I would try to make this post a little special, as a “celebration” of my return to the blogosphere. Am I full of myself or what?! And what better way to celebrate than with cupcakes!
I like vanilla – actually it is my favourite flavour for ice cream, cake, and icing. I remember the first time I really tasted it. I was in kindergarten and we all had to bring an ingredient from our house to class. The idea was to discover new flavours that our parents used in the kitchen. I do not remember what I brought, but I remember a guy named Robert who brought some vanilla extract. I smelled the black liquid and thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever come across, so I dipped my finger in the vanilla extract and took a good taste. I remember that moment so clearly: it was SO strong! It was SO powerful. I ran to the bathroom to rinse my mouth. I then thought vanilla was the most amazing thing to smell, but I could not imagine eating it.
As time proved me wrong, I have grown into loving and understanding vanilla. I always have vanilla pods in my cupboard and use them very often. I love opening a vanilla pod and scrapping its inside. I like the taste it leaves on my fingers, and I love the way I can see the vanilla in my cream or crepe as little black dots leaving their trace in the batter.
I will still use vanilla extract when making cakes and sometimes cupcakes, and I think it is a great product that everyone should always have handy. After all, you never know when you will want to bake your next batch of cupcakes!
Talking about cupcakes, here is an easy recipe that makes many of these delicious treats. I like to freeze half of my batch (without the icing, of course) and they stay good for about a month. This recipe is from Martha Stewart, as always, my goddess when it comes to cupcakes. I hope you will enjoy them just as much as I do.
You will need:
3 cup of pastry flour
1 ½ cup of all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon of baking soda
2 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder
2 ¼ cup of sugar
1 cup and 2 tablespoons of butter
5 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
2 cups of buttermilk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
In a bowl, sift both flour with the baking soda, baking powder and the salt.
In another bowl, beat the butter with the sugar on medium-high speed until you get a smooth texture. Add one egg at a time, beating between each addition.
Add the egg yolks and mix well.
Add the flour in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk.
Beat in the vanilla.
In a cupcake pan, line up the paper tray and pour the mixture in the cup.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 325F, then let the cupcakes cool down.
1 ½ cup of butter
4 cups of icing sugar (you may need more)
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
Beat the butter on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until the butter is pale and fluffy.
Add one cup of icing sugar at a time, making sure it is well incorporated. If the texture of your icing is lumpy, add more icing sugar and keep beating until you get a smooth consistency.
Add the vanilla once all the icing sugar has been added. Pipe on top of the cupcakes, and enjoy!