Wedding cupcakes – always a stressful time because it’s the bride and groom’s one special day, and everything’s supposed to be perfect (or close enough). That includes the cake(s) of which the cutting is a bit of a Kodak moment and you’ve only got one chance to get it right, just so… and take a breath. To be perfectly honest the stress of wedding cakes doesn’t really sit well with me and although I’ve done a few weddings I only really say yes to family and friends. Just recently I was asked to do a small number of wedding cupcakes where the lovely bride asked for simple and elegant yet tasty. I thought, great, a nice classic, I’ll just do something like plain vanilla until I realised… hold up – I don’t have a plain vanilla recipe!
Well that’s not entirely true, I’ve done Victoria Sandwich Sponge cupcakes probably more times than I can remember but to be honest I don’t think they bake up that well in muffin pans (a couple always decide to overflow and you end up with a cupcake that looks more like a toadstool!). I think also for a while I used the magnolia vanilla cake recipe but if it’s that unmemorable then maybe its better left that way. So in preparation to finding a suitable plain cake for my wedding order I realized that I was in fact on a quest to find the (near) perfect vanilla cupcake!
While perusing the pages of adhoc at home for my über indulgent brownies I excitedly came across this recipe for white cupcakes. My enthusiasm was born I think from the fact that not coming from the States or North America, I had no idea what a white cake actually was. All I knew was it sounded good and I was desperate to try them and finally here was my chance.
White Cupcakes – Thomas Keller, adhoc at home
Makes approx. 24 cupcakes
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. sea salt
- 6 ounces butter (room temperature)
- 2 ¾ cups caster sugar (1 ½ cups + 1 ¼ cups)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups milk
- ¾ cup egg whites (approx 6 eggs – room temperature)
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F – Line 24 muffin tin cups.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Cream the butter in the stand mixer and then gradually add the 1-½ cups of sugar
Beat until the mixture is pale and thick, probably around 5 minutes. You will need to scrape down the bowl a couple of times.
Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, each time followed by ½ the milk and vanilla.
When incorporated, transfer the thick batter to a large clean bowl.
Wash the mixer bowl thoroughly and add the egg whites. Whisk on medium until they begin to foam.
Increase the speed to medium/high and slowly add the remaining 1-¼ cups sugar.
Beat on high until the whites are glossy and thick, not quite stiff peaks.
Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and finally fold in the rest.
Using an ice cream scoop or a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop the batter into the cases.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes until cake tester inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
So was I pleased with my newfound recipe? In a way yes, they baked up perfectly. The crumb is small and close and the cake is well, white. They rose to a lovely little dome and I left them to brown until golden. Not sure if that was why the dome was slightly like a crust randomly dotted with air bubbles. And did I mention the cake inside was white? When they say white cake that’s really what they mean, the colour had me slightly captivated. The recipe was simple and successful but to be honest a little basic for a wedding. As for the taste that was also plain. I love a buttery yellow cake but it took baking and tasting a white cake to realise that. The texture was what made it for me; it was soft, delicate and tender and reminded me a lot of a red velvet cupcake (not in taste or colour obviously). To dress up these simple cupcakes, I went with a rich and decadent dark chocolate crème fraîche ganache, which was probably too much for this modest cake, though I didn’t hear anyone complaining.