My 10-year-old surprised me last night by saying she wanted to bake something. As much as I love to cook (and she loves to eat), it’s her younger sister who is most often interested in helping in the kitchen. Encouraged by eldest’s sudden interest, I offered to help her find a recipe for whatever it was she wanted to make. She envisioned small white cakes baked in our small custard dishes and topped with fluffy mounds of white frosting. After looking through a few recipes for white cake, she settled on one from Better Homes and Gardens Old-Fashioned Home Baking.
She started her project later in the evening, so after filling four custard cups and 14 muffin cups, she headed off to bed and left me in charge of baking. She had filled the cups more than the recommended two-thirds full, which led to batter bubbling over and burning on the oven floor–yuck. The overflow batter also burnt slightly on the pan, making the cupcake edges slightly toasted. Initially, I saw this as a problem (and the messy oven floor was definitely that), but the toasted cupcake edges had a slightly tough (in a good way) chew and a roasty toasty sweetness that kicked the cupcake concept up a notch. Serendipitous yum.
Today the cupcakes were frosted after my young baker whipped up a batch of Fluffy White Frosting, also from BH&G. I was impressed with the results and she was pleased as well. After sprinkle fun, the cupcakes were enjoyed for dessert.
And I have this to say about the cupcakes: Wow. I am all about frosting, often leaving the cake behind. Not tonight. This cake was amazing. The crumb was perfect–moist, light but dense. And the flavors were so pure. A hint of vanilla, rich butter (big fan of Kerrygold), sweet but not overly so. And the “burnt” edges added to the wow. I ate every last crumb, as well as any strays left on my husband’s and daughters’ plates. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who loves white cake. I’ve never tasted anything like it. Look up Perfect White Cake in the dictionary and this is what you’ll find.
The frosting was a basic 7-minute variety and I was impressed that my daughter could pull it off. (I don’t always.) As with the cake, the vanilla and sweet flavors were nicely matched. The perfect frosting for the perfect cupcakes.
Buttermilk White Cake
Adapted only slightly from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook. The batter can also be poured into greased muffin cups and baked accordingly.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 egg whites
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 2 (9-inch) round baking pans.
In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add buttermilk, butter and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on Low 30 seconds or until combined. Beat on Medium to High, scraping side of bowl occasionally, 2 minutes. Add egg whites; beat 2 minutes longer.
Pour batter into pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of each cake comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before filling and frosting.
Fluffy White Frosting
from Better Homes and Gardens Old-Fashioned Home Baking
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
In small saucepan, combine sugar, water and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.
In medium bowl, combine egg whites and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on High, while slowly adding sugar mixture. Beat 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Makes about 4 cups.