golden vanilla cupcakes

makes one dozen

Something happened when I dabbed a bit of batter into my mouth when I developed this recipe last year. One swipe of the spatula and I was whisked away to a memory of licking the beaters when I was a kid.

Crazy as it sounds, it reminded me of  the boxed stuff, sans the chemical aftertaste.  My mom may not have been Betty Crocker, but she always made sure we had a birthday cake. Who cares if it was from a box—this is one case where it was the thought that counted.

So, I consider this homemade batter the best of both worlds. 

p.s. these directions may seem contrary to everything you've been told about making cakes. The wet and dry ingredients are added together, the batter is beaten on high speed—something we've all been told is a no-no for light and airy cakes. Well, just trust me here and you'll be rewarded with the most delicate crumb imaginable.

1 1/3 cups (5.75 ounces) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup (168 ml) milk

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, softened

3/4 cup (6 ounces) sugar

2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until combined; set aside.

In a small measuring cup, whisk the milk and vanilla together until combined; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat again until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour in the milk and flour mixtures, and starting on low speed, mix until dry ingredients are combined into the wet ones. Turn speed up to high and beat for 10 seconds. Scrape down sides and beat for 10 more seconds.

Evenly spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan. Tap pans on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until tops are golden and a metal skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.