Gone are the days of the box-mix, run of the mill cupcake. Both novice bakers and more experienced patissiers would agree that starting with fresh, simple ingredients will always yield the best results – aside from that, you gain better control over what’s in your baked goodies if you bake from scratch. It’s surprisingly easy once you get a feel for the method, and so delicious that you’ll never even consider a mix again. Once you master the basics, let your creativity kick in – the only limit in creating cupcakes with interesting and unusual flavor profiles is your imagination!
*Note: in all of my recipes, I use unsalted butter, whole milk, unbleached flour and large eggs. They produce the most reliable and consistent results.
White Cupcake Base
Yield: 16 – 20 cupcakes
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the cups of a cupcake pan with paper cups.
In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes . Beat in the egg whites, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and add it to the butter mixture in alternating batches. Carefully spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake pan, filling each cup about 1/2 full.
Bake for 20 – 24 minutes in the preheated oven. The cupcakes are done when the tops are a pale, golden color, and spring back to the touch. Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a rack until completely cool.
Substitute 2 tablespoons almond paste for 2 tablespoons butter, and 2 teaspoons almond extract for the vanilla. Top off with a fresh lemon glaze.
Sink a large marshmallow, snipped in half crosswise into the cupcake batter prior to baking. The marshmallow will swell and rise to the top during the baking process, leaving a golden, chewy layer on top as it cools.
Add 1 tablespoon of dried ginger and 2 tablespoons of minced, crystallized ginger to the batter.