Monday, January 25, 2010

Blue Cupcakes a la NYC's Magnolia Bakery

When I lived in NYC, getting to Magnolia Bakery was a major treat. Interestingly enough, I’m not one of those sugar addicts. I don’t actually like icing to be honest and I never ask for a birthday cake made of anything other than ice cream, but Magnolia Bakery is the rare place that makes a cupcake I actually crave. So when my friend decided to throw a BLUE themed birthday party, I figured Magnolia cupcakes with a major color flare would be right up her alley. That and the fact that these little devils are probably 99% sugar and butter and let's be honest, something with that much sugar and butter has to be good.

Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcake

• 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
• Vanilla Buttercream, recipe follows

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.  (Add a few drops of food coloring at this point ot change the hue of the batter. Check out the crazy blue I got!)
Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. (I made both mini and regualr size cupcakes)
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 Buttercream
The vanilla buttercream used at the bakery is technically not a buttercream 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

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