Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Back to the Basics 2: Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Sometimes you just have to keep things simple.  Like with these cupcakes, they were a simple birthday request.  No twists, no turns, no special instructions to re-read.  I pulled out an old recipe, that has been well tested and enjoyed many times, but that I haven't made in a few years.  A recipe that came out of one of the first cookbooks I bought for myself.  These cupcakes don't require any browning of butter, there is no wait time except for of course waiting for the cupcakes to cool.  You don't even have to wait for the butter to soften, you only have to melt it.  They are simple and uncomplicated, for when you need at least one thing to be simple.  Because, as I know I have said before, life is about the little, uncomplicated, simple things.  Yet, these cupcakes are still light and fluffy and exactly what you want from a vanilla cupcake.  The frosting is chocolatey and creamy, the kind that makes you want to lick the mixer's beaters and then the spatula...then maybe the bowl.  Plus, would you believe they are low-fat??  Definitely, give this one a try, no one will know the difference, they will only be wondering if they can have another one.  Enjoy!

Maybe I can get someone to start leaving me post-it notes like this, when everything feels like it is starting to get complicated.

Vanilla Cupcakes: (recipe adapted from Cooking Light)
*makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1 (8-ounce) carton fat-free sour cream 
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup egg substitute (2 large eggs)
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style 1/3-free cream cheese, softened 
1/4 cup butter, softened 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 to 2 tablespoons evaporated fat-free milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar, divided

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cupcake tins with paper liners.

2.  Cream together 1/2 cup butter and sour cream in a large mixing bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended.  Mix in the sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract until well combined.  Then whisk in the egg substitute until well combined.  

3.  Lightly spoon 2 cups of flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. 

4.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.  Pour batter into prepared muffin pans, filling 2/3 full. Sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake for 14-16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 2-3 minutes on a wire rack; then remove from pan to a cooling rack. 

5.  While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.  To prepare frosting, place the cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy.  Add cocoa, milk and 1/8 teaspoon salt; beat at low speed until well blended. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar; beat at low speed until creamy.  Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.

6.  Once cupcakes have cooled, liberally frost and Enjoy!

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