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{The Girl Kyle Bakes} Very Vanilla Cupcakes

As you may remember I was recently participating in Cupcake Project's 'Quest for the Ultimate Vanilla Challenge'.  Unfortunately, due to my time constraints with the bachelorette, San Diego and the wedding - I had to drop out before the final round.  A total bummer, but then I came across a "perfect" vanilla cupcake on a different blog entirely.  Unfortunately, I've forgotten how I found it, but I did where it originated from.  The funny thing, it's very similar to the winner of CP's challenge. The reason I decided to print this recipe out, despite the fact that I regularly scour the web for "perfect" vanilla cake recipes was a combination of things. 1) Cake flour: I found it results in a lighter crumb. 2) Egg whites: again lighter cake texture.  3) Sour cream: my go-to chocolate recipe calls for sour cream and it's very moist. 4) Vanilla Bean & Extract: despite the fact that I use paste instead of an actual bean, I like that this recipe doubled up.  Now if you're wondering whether this is the "perfect" vanilla cupcake... it's damn near close.  Currently number one in my book, I've made it 3 times in the last month.  A good indicator of how much I like it!

{A closeup of Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste.}

Vanilla Sour Cream Cupcakes

{via Good Life Eats}

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the racks in the center position. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, sour cream, and egg whites. Set aside.

Fit a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or use a hand mixer (I got a better dome with the hand mixer). Add the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste to the bowl and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light. Scrape the sides as necessary.

Add the vanilla extract and one third of the flour mixture while beating on medium speed, again scraping the sides as needed. Beat in half of the sour cream mixture. Alternately add the remaining flour mixture and sour cream until all the wet and dry ingredients have added, beating until the batter fully incorporated and smooth.

Use a large ice cream scoop, evenly divide the batter between 22 lined muffin tins filling each about 2/3 of the way full.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool pan on wire rack for less than 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to the rack to finish cooling.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (to maintain the bright white color) 1 ½ pounds (24 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted 2-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Preparation

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter and vanilla bean paste. Beat until fluffy. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the confectioners' sugar while continuing to beat.  I add one cup of powdered sugar at a time.

Once well blended, add in the vanilla and 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk. Mix on low speed until well combined and moist. If desired, an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until your desired consistency is reached. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

{Please note that if you're using the vanilla bean paste, the frosting won't be a bright white as mentioned in the ingredients.  You can tell from my photos though that the frosting still appears fairly white in color.}

I added a 1/4 cup of sprinkles to the batter to make homemade funfetti for two birthdays.  You can use jimmies or the little balls like you see here, but be advised - the color runs so you have to move quickly!

If You Don't Have Anything Mean to Say...

Wait.  Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?  Yet, it seems like we tend to be so much freer with our mean judgments than we ever are with compliments and praise.  I'm not here to point fingers or spout rainbows, but I try to remind myself to at least have some balance.

Yesterday I was overcome by love and admiration for my boyfriend and his unwavering support of all my small endeavors.  Not something you usually catch me saying, but after a moments hesitation over the possible backlash at such a gushy tweet I did it.  So what?!  Roll your eyes at me, stick your finger down your throat -  WHATEVER!  I love my boyfriend and he's pretty awesome most of the time.  We all love praise so why not share it more?

I'm definitely the first to fake gag at over the top Facebook status updates, "Best boyfriend ever! Love him! Blah, blah, blah.".  GAG! Then I diligently "like" it although if you're at all like me you're probably just doing it to be nice.  Haven't we all regretted at some point not being more open with our feelings?  I think that's step #4 of breakup therapy, when you're obsessing over the details of what went wrong or what you could have done different.  The past is in the past, but now is my chance to make those different choices.  I want go stop being so reserved about my feelings.

What's my point?  This isn't about telling you to be some amazing, positive, happy person...  That's unrealistic, but maybe the next time your best friend gets a promotion - give her a shout out.  The boyfriend does something ordinary, but it makes you feel great - tell him!

My name is Kyle and I'm a closeted mushy girl.

[audio http://thegirlkyle.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/02-last-friday-night-t-g-i-f.mp3]

Last Friday (T.G.I.F) - Katy Perry

I don't know why, but I really feel like I've earned this weekend.  I'm not a person that deals well with stress so I mostly avoid stressful things.  Taking on too much or participating in things outside my comfort zone.  I'm the ostrich that sticks her head in the sand.  So right now I'm a bit overwhelmed, mostly by the prospect of moving.  Nobody really likes to move, but add to that the fact that I'm currently interviewing for a new receptionist at work, smoothing out details for the bachelorette, doing so many side jobs including social media consulting and graphic design stuff... This weekend I have NOTHING planned.  Well nothing besides a going away potluck on Sunday, but for the next 48 hours I am a free woman!  T.G.I.F friends!!

 

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