Vanilla Cupcakes

adapted from: Lick-My-Spoon

3 c. all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 c. butter, room temperature

2 c. sugar

4 eggs, room temperature 

1 c. whole milk (I used 2%)

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.  Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.  Add dry mixture alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-23 minutes.  Remove from tray and wrap each cupcake individually with saran wrap to seal in moisture.  Cool completely and frost. 

Creamy Vanilla and Chocolate Frosting:

adapted from: America's Test Kitchen

1/2 c. sugar

2 large egg whites

pinch of salt

12 Tbl. unsalted butter, softened and cut into 12 pieces

1 tsp. vanilla

1-2 Tbl. cocoa powder, to taste

1.  Combine the sugar, egg whites and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer, then place the bowl over a pan of simmering water.   Heat the mixture, whisking gently but constantly, until slightly thickened and foamy and it registers 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 2-3 minutes.  

2.  Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed in a standing mixer until reaches the consistency of shaving cream and is slightly cooled, 1-2 minutes.  Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy.  (The frosting may look curdled after half of the butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter).  Once all the butter is added, add the vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds (this is when I had to add powdered sugar).  If you want chocolate, add 1 or 2 Tbl. cocoa powder until reaches desired taste.