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Cupcake Love

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“Let them eat cake”

-Marie Antoinette

Six years ago in my annoyance with a desk job I decided I wanted to do something that I would love even if it meant sacrificing a hefty paycheck, so I took a job as a baker and cake decorator in a new start-up shop in the Washington, DC area. A side note: I have never had any formal training in baking or art (for the decorating) but I love food and I enjoy a challenge so I gave a good interview and they hired me.

I had a ton of fun and acquired a life-long skill while working there and honestly did not mind waking up at five in the morning to make butter cream frosting and morning treats. I quickly learned how to mix huge batches of batter, use restaurant  ovens, frost, pipe and decorate a decent cupcake/cake. I lived it up (and ate it up) for half a year but then the money aspect (or lack of) started to outweigh following my “cake dream” so I went back to an office. My love of cupcakes continues….baking then decorating this edible, mini piece of art. Outside of my own hobby I decided to start searching for the best cupcake. I’ve been to a decent amount of bake shops in my quest and my favorite is still New York City’s Magnolia Bakery, Plain old Vanilla and Vanilla Butter cream Frosting. They opened their first location in NYC in the West Village, 1996 and have four other locations in the city as well as Los Angeles, Chicago and Dubai. Along with the cupcakes they make pies, cookies, cakes, pudding (their banana pudding is amazing) but when I walk into a Magnolia I have only one mission, vanilla and vanilla.

So why am I telling you this and showing you all these photos of their sweets when you can’t get to one of their locations right now? Well, I honestly think they have the best cupcake and since I can’t go get one when I am in the DC area I do the next best thing, I bake them myself. Here is the recipe for their vanilla cupcake with vanilla butter cream frosting.

PS: you can always replace the vanilla butter cream frosting with chocolate butter cream and add a few drips of Chocolate syrup when mixing, it makes all the difference 😉 Enjoy! -Kelly

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
Yield:24 cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. 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 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

 The vanilla butter cream we use at the bakery is technically not a butter cream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yield: enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or 1 (9-inch) layer cake

*All Images provided by Google