We had a fierce Halloween "spookify your cube" contest at work last week that I sadly did not win. I put in a D-level effort though, so I wasn't surprised in the least. Although, when I first heard about the contest, I was going to turn my cube into a scene from "The Birds," but quickly vetoed that when I found out fake black crows cost $2-$3 a piece and I wanted my cube to be bombarded with those buggers (you can't half-ass a scene from that movie, you've gotta whole-ass it)!
The cube deccs were to be judged by a handful of higher ups, including the CEO of our company, Williams-Sonoma (shit just got real). My angle was to bribe the judges, so I stayed up until 12am making Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting that I hoped would dazzle them. I dressed up as a "baker" (again, D-level effort) and brought in two dozen cupcakes. Truth be told, I actually did dazzle one of the judges- the CEO. I was told she was raving about my cupcake and said she "wanted to steal me for Williams-Sonoma." I'm not exactly sure what she meant by that (who cares! It's the CEO!), but I'll take that as a high compliment.
If you're looking to impress a CEO or someone as charming as Vinny (see above), make these. Note: I frosted half with raspberry buttercream frosting, for variety, but truth be told, I fell madly in love with the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting. It's amaze. Other amazing things: my NEW and fancy froster! Swoon.
Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting
Recipe from Sweetapolita
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
Ingredients - Cupcakes
5 large egg whites (150 g), at room temperature|
1 whole egg
1 cup whole milk (237 ml), at room temperature
2-1/4 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
3 cups (345 g) cake flour, sifted
2 cups (400 g) sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (17 g) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (5 g) salt
12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 even pieces
Ingredients - Frosting
3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
3 cups sifted (475 g) confectioners' sugar (icing, powdered)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped (Note: You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use a total of 1-1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Directions - Cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line muffin tins with liners.
2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the "stir" setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds, ensuring it's cold (you can keep some in refrigerator while you're adding pieces). Continue to mix on low until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture. Add milk, and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches, mixing until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. (You want to ensure that the batter is homogenous.) Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated. Note: I don't own a Kitchen Aid, so I used a hand mixer and really wanted to find the person who invented this recipe so I could punch them right in the jugular. Yes, this part was time-consuming.
5. Fill cupcake lined pan, each 3/4 full. ProTip: I like using a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop.
6. Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 17-20 minutes ProTip: start with the lowest time, test with toothpick and adjust accordingly if needed.
7. Let cool on racks for 15 minutesish or until completely cool before frosting.
Directions - Frosting
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use "4" on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy. Note: I used a hand-mixer which worked just fine.
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy. Best used right away. Pro Tip: If you hate, hate frosting bags like me, get this and thank me later.
Some snapshots from Halloween night...