Thursday, April 28, 2011

Perfect Party Cake

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. We certainly did; we enjoyed time with family and friends. Tucker had a great weekend, he played hard all weekend and he had the best time hunting Easter eggs!


Easter started a few days early around our house since Tucker's daycare had an Easter party. For his party, I decided to make mini cupcakes for all the kiddos. All kids love cupcakes and I especially love these mini cupcakes because they are the perfect size for their little hands and the perfect portion for them. I've made a few different types of cupcakes for his daycare for various events, but kept the flavors simple to avoid any food allergies anyone may have. Since I've kept it simple, mostly vanilla and chocolate, I have tried numerous vanilla cake recipes and this time I decided to be a little different and try a white cake recipe instead. I know this isn't too much different than a yellow cake, but like I said, I try to keep it simple to ensure all the kids can enjoy them. I'm so glad I came across the recipe for Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake.  Don't get me wrong, Dorie Greenspan is not a well kept secret, she has many cookbooks and one of the most popular is about baking which is appropriately titled, "Baking: From my Home to Yours."  There is even a cooking group/club dedicated to making recipes by her, Tuesdays with Dorie, they cooke their way through a cookbook at a time and post their recipes and reviews every Tuesday (hence the name, Tuesdays with Dorie).  Like I said, she's no hidden secret, she's a very well know and talented cook/chef and a best selling cookbook author.

I'm so glad I decided to make these for Tucker's Easter party.  These cupcakes were so moist and light, they were honestly some of the best cupcakes I've ever had!  I love yellow cake, but what's not to love? Sugar, eggs, butter, milk, it's sweet and most important it's a dessert...there's absolutely nothing not to love.  White cake has always been just okay to me, there just wasn't a whole lot of flavor except the flavor from the frosting.  Well, this cake is completely different, not only is it light and moist but it has a wonderful flavor.  When I first read the recipe I expected the cake to have a heavy lemon flavor based on the amount of the zest and extract that was called for, but it actually didn't have much of a lemon flavor at all, if any.  I guess the lemon zest and extract just complimented or enhanced all of the other flavors to result in a perfect white cake.  I don't know what it is about the recipe but the name is completely true, it is the perfect cake.

Perfect Party Cake



Ingredients:
-mini cupcakes

-Recipe yields 3 dozen mini cupcakes
-The recipe listed in this post is half of the original recipe
11/8 cups cake flour
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/2 + 1/8 Cups whole milk or buttermilk
2 Large egg whites
3/4 Cup sugar
1 Teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 Stick (4 tablespoons or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 Teaspoon pure lemon extract

For the frosting-

1 1/2-2 Stick butter, room temperature
2 1/2-3 Cups powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons milk

Directions:

For the cupcakes-

Preheat oven to 350.

Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Attach paddle attachment to a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, and add the butter beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.

Add the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.

Finally, beat the batter on high for 2 minutes to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each cupcake liner of the prepared mini-cupcake pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cakes are well risen and springy to touch.  Remove from pan and cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting-

Place butter in a bowl of a stand mixer.  Fit the mixer with the wisk attachment and beat butter on high for 2-3 minutes, until light and airy.  Reduce speed to medium and gradually add powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency is reached.

Place frosting in a piping bag and frost cupcakes as desired.

Recipe Source: Perfect Party Cake-seen on The Way The Cookie Crumbles, originally from Dorie Greenspan Baking:From My Home To Yours.

Frosting: Lynsey original

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