Sunday, 30 August 2009

I Heart Billy!

Well where do I start. Today was a most awesome day. Today was a day of discoveries, fears and in the end all was well received. Today I found a Vanilla Cupcake recipe that I can FINALLY say I love. Today I made Billy's Vanilla Cupcakes... and they were good.

I have made Magnolias, I have made Amy Sedaris', I have made Crabapple and they were all missing something. I was beginning to think either I was doing something wrong or I was part of the great Vanilla Cupcake Conspiracy of 2009. I have the perfect Chocolate Cupcake recipe and the perfect Strawberry Cupcake recipe... but do you think I could find the PERFECT Vanilla Cupcake recipe. Well all is right with the world now as I now possess the skills to make awesome Vanilla Cupcakes.

I must give credit where credit is due... I found this recipe on 52 Cupcakes an awesome blog all about... you guessed it CUPCAKES!

This recipe is from Billy's Bakery, a lovely little bakery in NYC. Now don't let me get started on how annoyed I get that the only good cupcake makers are an ocean away for us aussies. Pray tell why is it that we can't get it right? Why is it that I go and spend $42 on a dozen cupcakes at Little Cupcakes only to be sorely disappointed and also slightly nauseated by the lemon cupcake (dishwashing liquid isn't a flavour people!). And whilst I agree cupcakes are pretty little morsels of cuteness they still need to taste good! Hello! So instead I try as I might to produce the best tasting cupcakes I can actually have this side of the southern hempisphere. And this lovely little recipe definitely helps my plight.

So thank you BILLY! I bow down to your greatness, and thank you to Martha for having the hindsight to share your recipe with the world.

So here it is before I dribble on any further, and before my energy depletes and I need more cupcakes. THE RECIPE:

Billy's Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes about 30 cupcakes
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Now for some tips:

1. You MUST make this recipe with a free standing mixer (ie. KitchenAid, Kenwood, Sunbeam... whatever you have... I have my Black Bettie KSM150 KitchenAid Mixer and she's gorgeous!) unless you have an uber hand mixer and a basin to mix your ingredients in, as its a very large amount of batter.
2. I advise that you need to be somewhat prepared for this recipe and leave your unsalted butter overnight in the pantry so that it is absolutely 100% at room temperature or it will not incorporate properly with the dry ingredients.
3. This is a US recipe so if you are from Australia (like myself) then I strongly recommend using a 15 ml Tablespoon instead of one of our 20ml Tablespoons. Or just use 3 teaspoons.
4. Don't be stingy and miss out on the cake flour it is in the recipe for a reason.
5. Under NO circumstances open the door during baking or you'll end up with nice little camel humps on your cupcakes.
6. Yes I know I can be a bossy boots... I'll blame all the sugar.

Ok now here is a picture... please forgive me for my crimes against photography. We are currently unequipped in the photography department and I had to take this photo with my iPhone. We are looking to fix this dire situation as soon as possible until then, avert your eyes if you must, but if you can handle the blur and the pixelation and the overall distortion of colour, here is my yummy cupcake. Topped with White Chocolate & Raspberry Swiss Meringue Icing, white chocolate and cute (but tasteless) love heart decorations (yes I do like to state the obvious... its a hobby alright?)

And also please forgive me for my piping shortcomings... I had a piping disaster. The disposable bags I bought continued to break and the nozzle was too small... then my biscuit/piping gadget decided to break and just wasn't doing what I darn well wanted it to. So in the end I went with the boring swirl. But I promise you I will go out and buy a very good reusable piping bag and some awesome nozzles so you will never ever have to see such pitiful piping again.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Let them eat Tres Leches Cake...

Every sunday at our house is godparents day. This is when the kids godparents come over, spend some time with the kids, have a scrumptious meal and then when the kids are in bed the adults spend some time playing console games (yes now is the time to confess we do live in a geek household) or board games etc.

I started off the meal with Pumpkin risotto with crumbed eggplant, napoli sauce & cheese. It was divine but I still had some flavour tweaking I want to do when I next make it. So once I've done that I'll post the recipe :) For dessert I decided to make Tres Leches Cake. And OMG I never realised the calorie content of this dish... its insane! I think its something to make for a tea party or big gathering as such a small recipe goes a long way! We still have too much sitting in our fridge and I daresay it won't get eaten.

Ok Recipe time...

I used a butter cake recipe as a base.


These quantities make one standard cake (this is slightly more than a normal sized butter cake).
3/4 cup of softened butter
1 cup of caster sugar
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
1.5 tsp Vanilla Essence
3 cups SR Flour
1 cup milk
1 395 ml tin condensed milk (low fat can be used)
1 375 ml tin evaporated milk (low fat can be used)
600mls whipping cream (low fat can be used)
3 Heaped Tablespoons icing sugar
Desired Fruit for decoration (I used blueberries/mango/crushed pineapple)


Cream butter & Sugar. Add eggs one at a time once combined add the next egg till all combined. Add vanilla and mix well. Add small amounts of flour and milk until well combined. Put mix into a 9 x 13 inch/22 x 33 cm baking dish (pyrex is good) Bake in a 160 C/320F oven for about 30-45 minutes or when skewer comes our clean and top is lightly browned. Allow cake to cool for 5 to 10 minutes then using a skewer poke holes all over the warm cake. Then combine condensed Milk & evaporated milk, pour milk mixture over the cake and allow to rest. Once cake is cool to touch cover in cling film and refridgerate for at least 1 hour. After an hour whisk 600mls cream and 3 large tablespoons icing sugar until peaks form. Cover cake in whipped cream then refridgerate till almost ready to serve. Before serving top with fruit of your choice, we used crushed pinapple, mango & blueberries and it was delish!

I think at this rate I'm going to be asking for a Wii fit for mothers day, as all this cooking isn't going to do much for my already goddessly shaped figure!

Oh well till next G-Day...