Yield: 24-28 standard cupcakes or two 8" or 9" round cake layers.
*If you are going with the cupcakes, you can always make 1/2 of this recipe, for 12-14 cupcakes.
1 cup whole milk (237 mL/8 liquid ounces), at room temperature
4 large egg whites (4 ounces/120 grams), at room temperature
1 egg, whole, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract)
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) almond extract
3 cups (12 oz/350 g) cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar (10.5 ounces/300 grams)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder (19.5 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt (5 grams)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter, softened but cool, and cut into cubes
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Prepare two standard muffin pans with your favourite baking liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup of milk, vanilla and the almond extract. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, including the vanilla sugar, together on low speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter and shortening, and blend on low speed for about 30 seconds, then add remaining 3/4 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg/milk mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. If you're making Funfetti cupcakes, simply fold in the rainbow jimmies or confetti quins, until just combined.
6. Divide the batter into your prepared pans (I always use this cookie scoop for perfectly even cupcakes), no more than 2/3 full.
7. Bake until a toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake (about 16-18 minutes). Be so careful to not overbake.
8. Place hot baking pans on wire racks, then carefully (they're hot!) remove the cupcakes from the baking pans immediately, to let cool.
9. Let cool completely before frosting.
Whipped Vanilla Frosting
Yield: Enough to generously frost 12-14 standard cupcakes.
3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (375 grams/13 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
3.5 cups (400 grams/14 oz) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons (45 mL) milk
1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract)
a pinch of salt
a medley of sprinkles for decorating
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.
3. Best used right away (for ideal spreading consistency). To get frosting super smooth (no air bubbles), use a silicone spatula and in an aggressive side-to-side motion, pushing the frosting back and forth against the sides of the bowl. You will hear a sort of paddling sound. Do this every so often while you use the frosting--it keeps it super smooth.
*This vanilla sugar is lovely for baking, but can be used anytime you would use regular sugar. This recipe makes an extra 1/2 cup of sugar than what's needed for the cupcakes, so you will have some left in your sugar canister for tea, coffee, and more.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, whole
Place your sugar in a canister or other airtight container. Slice your vanilla bean down the center with a small, sharp knife, and scrape all of the seeds from the inside. Add the seeds to the sugar, bury the bean inside and seal the container.
Sugar will be "vanilla-ized" in 1-2 weeks.
*vanilla sugar recipe source: Alton Brown
*for a gorgeous pink vanilla sugar & gifting idea, check out this gorgeous Valentine's Vanilla Sugar Giftable from Somewhere Splendid.