Monday, November 22, 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes

A perfect weekend is...
Dinner and drinks with one of your favorite people, at your favorite restaurant and
then out for your favorite drink: Clapless Belle. Yum.

Shopping with your favorite shopping partner and actually finding some cute things at your favorite stores, followed by lunch at your favorite Indian restaurant.

 Completing your favorite household task: cleaning and organizing your closet.

Baking your favorite cupcake recipe and decorating them like little monkeys.

Putting on a bib for one of your favorite marathons and lining up at the start line.

Finishing a marathon with some of your favorite running partners
(and indulging in your favorite local brew afterwards).

Eating at your favorite restaurant AGAIN with some of your fellow marathoners
 and recounting the race with pizza and more beer.

Finishing the weekend with a cup of fro-yo with your favorite toppings: granola and coconut.

In my mind... a weekend doesn't get any better than this past weekend.

Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from one I found somewhere online.
One recipe makes 27-31 cupcakes

I'm not a huge cupcake fan. But how can you not be a sucker for a moist, buttery cupcake? Which is how I found myself on a mission to find the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe... after tasting a delicious one at a bakery in Chicago.

To be honest, I hate the cupcakes at Nashville's local bakeries. Too dry, too big, too much frosting, too many whacked out flavors.

This is the kind of cupcake I like... plain and simple.

To decorate as monkeys for the Harpeth Hill Flying Monkey Marathon that I ran this weekend, I used chocolate frosting, nutter butter peanut butter snack cookies, a vanilla wafer with the top quarter cut off with a serated knife, and icing (white, black, and red). They look a lot like bears, but hopefully most people realized they were monkeys!

This cupcake recipe is awesome. My favorite, for sure.

1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar and add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until light in color and fluffy in texture. Gradually whisk in the oil, buttermilk, and extract and combine well.

Add your flour, baking powder, and salt and slowly stir to combine (add a little bit of the flour at a time to make the stirring easier).

Transfer to muffin pans that have been lined with paper muffin cups. Fill the cups up about 2/3 of the way up. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until springy in the center. Cool completely before frosting.

Especially Dark Chocolate Frosting

(from the back of the Special Dark Hershey's cocoa box)

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup Special Dark Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk (might need more)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to a spreading consistency. Add small amount of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups of frosting.