You’ll soon find out I take any excuse I can get to make a cake. Of course I bake Rainbow Cake for birthdays and Red Velvet for dinners like anyone else might, but in the gaps between celebrations I often get restless. Before too long, there is at least six cupcakes with colourful frosting sitting on our counter. If they didn’t taste so good, I think my father would complain.
And perhaps he has a right to be annoyed, when passage through the kitchen is obstructed by bowls of frosting and an industrial size bag of all purpose flour. But at the time there was an occasion to be celebrated, so mess was going to be made. It was a fairly mediocre Tuesday night in our home when I made these Hello/Goodbye Cupcakes. I do however, have a tendency to over-celebrate mediocre Tuesday nights, and I ended up churning out 6 Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Jam Icing before I could stop myself. My Mother was to board a plane for Las Vegas, NV in the next twelve hours and I wanted to give her something to remember me by while she trekked up and down the Strip.
If I’d of had my way, it would have been a much grander affair. I was thinking about having a little Diana Ross playing in the background, and perhaps a toast with a glass of champagne (or sparkling apple juice, for the underage members of the family). This idea didn’t bode well with “the men,” who were more enthusiastic about discussing Superbowl XLV than helping me reach the champagne flutes from the cupboard, but I managed to get the family sitting around the table for a minute or two, even if we had to drink Ginger ale instead. The cupcakes were well received as a Goodbye to my Mum, but also as a Hello to all of you!
The vanilla cake is a Magnolia’s Bakery recipe which calls for self rising flour as well as all purpose. I used only all purpose in it, mainly because we don’t have self rising flour in the pantry. Things turned out just fine. The frosting is from Buddy Valastro’s Cake Boss Cookbook with a little raspberry twist by yours truly. It recommends you have a stand mixer with paddle attachment, but a handheld one will work also. (I actually did this with a whisk, which was maybe not the best route!)
Magnolia’s Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Note: If you would like to make a layer cake instead of cupcakes, divide the batter between two 9-inch round cake pans and bake the layers for 30-40 minutes
Vanilla Frosting: adapted from Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia by Buddy Valastro
Mix 2 ½ cups butter in a large bowl until smooth. Continue beating and add 5 cups icing sugar, one cup at a time, ensuring the first addition is mixed well before adding the next. Stop beating and add 1 tablespoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Mix on low medium until smooth, then add 3 tablespoons milk or water. Mix until light and fluffy. In a very small bowl, stir 2 tbsp raspberry jam or puree until smooth. Add to the frosting for a fruity kick (optional). Will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.