I was so pleased when the people at Zulka reached out to me recently, and offered me a sample of their product. (If you aren't already familiar, Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar is a less-processed, non-GMO version of the granulated sugar we already know and love.) Since I am a huge lover of all things sweet, and ALSO of all things natural, I thought Zulka would be a great fit for me, this blog, and you, my readers!
I knew from the start I wanted to bake up a recipe that really allowed the flavor of the sugar to shine through. Something simple and sweet, that would showcase this lovely product.
Also, I was overwhelmed by the positive response to my Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. It took me by surprise, that such a simple recipe was so well-received, and it got me thinking... maybe I should offer more tried and true basics on Baking a Moment? Kind of silly for me to assume that everybody already has their favorite standby recipes to reach for.
So, today, I'm introducing a new category/recurring series here on Baking a Moment: "Simply Perfect." I still want to offer you guys some clever and inventive ideas, but I'm also going to arm you with some seriously awesome building-block recipes too! These will be all my favorites, from years of practicing and experimentation! I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do....
First up are these simple white cupcakes. I tested a total of four vanilla cupcake recipes, in search of my absolute favorite. Here are the key features I was looking for:
- A fine, even crumb
- A fluffy texture, but not so soft that it couldn't stand up to filling/frosting
- A domed top
- Intense vanilla and buttery flavor
The recipes I tested are as follows:
Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes (tasted great but had a hard crust on top), America's Test Kitchen White Cake (pillowy soft and delicious, but too delicate), Dorie Greespan's Perfect Party Cake, via My Baking Addiction (subbing vanilla bean paste), and My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes, by Cookies and Cups, which was adapted from Back in the Day Bakery.
Also I thought Shelly's had a slightly richer flavor, which is probably because of the egg yolk. (But if you're really going for a snowy white cake, I'd go with Jaimie's.) And her recipe is so easy to throw together, with only a mixing bowl, paddle, and measuring cup to wash when all's said and done. All of them were so very delicious though! I've only made one slight modification to Shelly's recipe, and that is the addition of vanilla bean paste. It really amps up the flavor, and it's a more economical choice than whole vanilla beans.
These little beauties bake up so fluffy and soft, and they can be filled or topped with all sorts of deliciousness. But today, I kept it simple with another "Simply Perfect" recipe: Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It's a little more effort than the straight-up powdered sugar + butter variety, but the satiny-smooth, light-as-air, yet richly indulgent flavor and texture make it more than worth your while!
**Please Click Here to View the Recipe, & the Rest of the Post**
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