Last week, my husband took our children out for an evening at "Dads & Tots". It is a free local program that gives fathers (uncles, or grandfathers) a chance to take their children for a fun playdate evening with pizza and snacks for dinner. While they were gone, I missed them horribly. So much, I made a batch of really easy and simple cupcakes as a surprise when they got home.
This is a variation of my Easy Vanilla Cupcake and whips up very quick, much like a cake mix. I think real buttermilk helps give the cupcake its soft and fluffy texture. Regular milk can be used too. If desired, white vanilla cupcakes be easily changed to a different flavor with a different extract and food colouring. I only had enough batter to fill 12 muffin cups half full but they still rose nicely!
For fun, I tried strawberry extract and made them pink with a few drops of red food colouring. Oops... I guess I was a little too heavy handed and they turned out "too pink" with a very artificial strawberry flavour...but it was so much fun to experiment!!
Out of curiosity, I tried regular non-hydrogenated soft margarine (pink cupcake) instead of softened butter with great results (e.g. .Fleischmann's, Becel). Results using "light" soft tub margarine (vanilla cupcake) turned out slightly gummy but still OK, if that is all you have on hand. Regardless, the cupcakes did not last very long!
I topped them with a fluffy, cooked flour frosting, flavoured with strawberry extract.
Simple White "Easy as Cake Mix" Cupcakes
makes 12 large cupcakes or 1- 9" round single layer cake
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened, (or non-hydrogenated soft margarine, regular or light)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (I used 2 tsp strawberry extract, I will use less next time)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk, mixed with 1 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice)
few drops food colouring, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
Pour buttermilk in a measuring cup and add vanilla (or other flavour extract) and salt.
In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg. Combine flour and baking powder. Add alternating amounts of the flour mixture and the buttermilk-vanilla. Mix until well combined and batter is smooth.
Add a few drops of food colouring, if desired.
For cupcakes, bake 13 to 15 minutes. For 9-inch pan, bake about 20-25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch or when cake tester (toothpick) comes out clean.
- Adapted from Easy Vanilla Cupcakes