Hi guys 🙂 I’ve had it on my mind lately to write a few posts explaining how I come up with my recipes and some of the things I do to perfect it to my own liking. I’ve spent alot of time learning about the specifics of baking and I wanted to share as much as I can and I hope that everyone can benefit from them.
Let’s jump right in and start off with pretty much the most important of all, vanilla cupcakes! 🙂
Okay my first advice is to find a cupcake recipe that you like alot and then play around with it to perfect it.
Vanilla cupcakes, what are they? Buttery, soft and light cakes with their main flavours depending on the ingredients as there isn’ t much added in them. Generally they focus on delicious buttery flavours along side vanilla extract.
The three main types of techniques used to make cakes are:
- Standard creaming method: creates light and fluffy cupcakes
- Oil based recipes: creates softer cupcakes with a more delicate crumb
- Reverse creaming method: creates super soft and tender cupcakes with a slighter dense crumb
Now of course there are others out there but these are the front runners.
Just like in my favourite vanilla cupcakes post, here are a few of my best tips for baking the best vanilla cupcakes:
- First and foremost, start with the best quality ingredients you can manage. Since these are vanilla cupcakes, this really matters as whatever you use makes for the best flavour and texture.
- Make sure to cream your butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy. You should be able to clearly see a difference from when you start compared to when it’s ready. Check this post for visuals.
- Always add in the eggs one at a time and whisk in between. Even if a recipe says to add the eggs at the same time, I don’t recommend that as it can make the cupcakes hard and give off an eggy smell so always adding one by one is best.
- Make sure to just barely whisk in the dry ingredients at the end. That last step is crucial to ensure the texture so as little mixing as possible please. I always do this by hand, just in case! 😉
- Bake these at 160C/325F for a more even cupcake and make sure not to over bake them. They should be slightly golden on top, perfectly domed and smelling incredible.
One of my best cupcake tricks is to let them cool on a wire rack for about 15 to 20 minutes then place them in an air tight container to cool completely. I do this with all my cakes and cupcakes.
Let’s take a look at the original recipe compared to how I tweaked it. Hopefully this can give you guys a rough idea of how to tweak your own cupcakes too 😊
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 cups cake flour: I didn’t change the amount of flour but just made my own homemade version using all purpose flour and cornstarch. I love doing this as it makes the cupcakes super soft.
2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda: I wanted a lit more lift to make the cupcakes fluffier and wanted to make the cupcakes stay on a whiter coloured side so I decreased the baking soda and in turn upped the baking powder. Usually you should double the amount of baking soda so since I decreased 1/4 teaspoon, I replaced that with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. This gave the cupcakes a slightly looser crumb instead of a velvety crumb which I love in vanilla cuppies 👍
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cups milk
1/2 cup butter: Altough I loved the texture of the oil in the cupcakes, I really needed some extra butter flavour so I increased the butter using 1/2 cup altogether. To replace some of the lost moisture, I increased the sour cream slightly.
2 eggs: I kept the eggs the same because I liked the richness they give and the cupcakes are super fluffy either way.
1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup milk: Due to the fact that I left out the oil, I increased the sour cream slightly therefore decreasing the milk a little. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t too much liquid that may make the cupcakes hard/dense.
Some ingredients and what they do:
Baking powder vs baking soda: these are both incredibly important to build the cupcakes’ structure as they are leavening agents which react with the other ingredients in the recipe causing air bubbles which in turn rise the cupcakes. Baking powder is used to make the cupcakes cakey and fluffy whereas baking soda gives the cupcakes a tighter, smooth crumb and can make the cake yellow in colour.
Butter vs oil: The butter is very important in vanilla cupcakes as they are a main component contributing to their flavour. It can however make the cupcakes dense. Oil makes the cake super moist with a tight, velvety crumb.
Eggs: They are super important for the cupcakes’ flavour and texture as they add richness and work as a leavening agents making the cupcakes rise. You can play around with the eggs using either their whites or the yolks:
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites: makes the cupcakes light
- 1 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks: makes the eggs soft and tender
- 3 egg whites: gives the cupcakes a white cake texture
You can do this to any recipe using these tips just adjust according to how many eggs your recipe calls for.
Dairy: milk is usually the main ingredient used in cakes and I love the flavour it gives. It can however make a cupcake dense if too much is used. I like to substitute some of the milk with sour cream or buttermilk for extra moisture and creaminess. Sour cream makes the cupcakes nice and light, buttermilk makes them slightly more dense but with an undeniably delicious flavour. Both make cakes super moist.
Some of my favourite ingredient substitute:
Cake flour: if you don’t have then make your own by using a mixture of all purpose flour and cornstarch/cornflour. Usually you can use 1 cup all purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace with cornstarch. Whisk well before using.
Self rising flour: use all purpose flour and add in baking powder, baking soda and salt. For every 1 cup add 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Salt is usually added to taste.
Sour cream: thick Greek yoghurt is the best substitute but regular yoghurt can be used too if you can’t find Greek yoghurt. The cupcakes may be slightly more dense.
Buttermilk: although the regular milk/vinegar substitute is popular, I find that is does not work well in vanilla cupcakes. I like to use a milk/yoghurt mixture instead. For every 1 cup buttermilk, use 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup yoghurt. I found this to be the closest in texture to real buttermilk.
I know this is a looonngg post, sorry!, but although there’s still more to cover, I wanted to at least cover the basics. I hope that in reading how I tweaked and perfected my cupcakes you can in turn tweak and perfect your own 😊
Please let me know if you guys have any issues or questions or if you need any help with anything to do with vanilla cupcakes. Leave me a message below, all you need to do is add your name and email (don’t worry this is private) with your questions and I’ll try my very best to help with the best of my knowledge 💜
Let’s have some fun and start creating our own cuppies! 😉😃