I love making cupcakes or cookies for my co-woker's bithdays. See, I work with a group of 11 men, and they have no shame about eating baked goods. They might not be good critics (because they'll eat anything and think it's decent), so when I do get a compliment, I know it's genuine. I love when they request something fun or new, but often times it's carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies, or like this time, white cake with vanilla frosting!
So I turned to Bridget's blog, because she often does cupcake recipe comparisons, which I love. It's really hard to duplicate a recipe, but when Bridget blogs something and I make it, it tends to come out very close to hers. In other words, I trust her recipes and cooking. Trust is big in baking... it's easy to go wrong!
So thanks, Bridget, for taking one for the team and making dozens and dozens of cupcakes so I could pick a foolproof recipe!
from Cooks Illustrated’s Classic White Cake
Nonstick cooking spray
2¼ cups cake flour (9 ounces), plus more for dusting the pans
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (¾ cup), at room temperature
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (11.35 ounces)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened but still cool
Set oven rack in middle position. (If oven is too small to cook both layers on a single rack, set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle positions.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper rounds.
Spray the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and invert pans and rap sharply to remove excess flour.
Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1½ minutes.
Add remaining ½ cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more.
Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
Divide batter evenly between two prepared cake pans; using rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on separate racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.)
Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.
Let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes.
Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks.
Reinvert onto additional wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1½ hours.
Yield 12 Cupcakes