Dealing with life is a piece of cake.

I made some cupcakes.

They’re fabulously delicious.

And I’m full.  Which is a good sign.

You can’t get much simpler than chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. No frills, no fanciness, just plain ol’ chocolate and vanilla. Top it with some plain ol’ chocolate buttercream or plain ol’ vanilla bean buttercream and you’re in business.

I think the term “plain ol'” is being used inappropriately here. In no way are these plain, or…ol’ (?). They’re yummy. And totally hit the spot.

My cupcake frosting skills have not improved – and I got really tired of frosting by the time I got to the chocolate-on-chocolate action.
As seen here:

But it really didn’t matter to me anyway because it was one of those “I cannot stare at these for another minute without tasting one” moments. If you’ve ever baked anything, ever, you know what I’m talking about.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you have incredible self-control, and I applaud you.  I’ll even eat your cupcake if you don’t want it. I’m here for you like that.

A few things before I share these recipes with you:
1. Martha Stewart is a flippin’ genius. This is the easiest chocolate cake recipe I’ve ever seen, and definitely one of the best I’ve tasted. If you’re under some crazy impression that you can’t bake cupcakes – this recipe has your name written all over it!

2. I only liked the vanilla cupcakes with the frosting. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. I think I baked them a minute or so longer than I should have. But it wasn’t a huge deal. They’re still great, and my coworkers gobbled them up at the same speed as the chocolate ones. And besides, I prefer chocolate cake over vanilla any day of the week. If you’re a vanilla cake person, try it and give me your opinion! (please)

3. I used an actual vanilla bean for the vanilla bean frosting. It was awesome. I felt like a grown-up baker. 🙂

Recipe time!

White Velvet Cupcakes
recipe from Curious Cupcakes

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk because that’s all I had)
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted (cake flour is important – don’t use all-purpose)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat egg whites, vanilla, and 1/8 cup of the milk in a medium bowl until well combined.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make sure all the ingredients are equally distributed.

4. Add butter and the remainder of the milk to the dry mixture. Beat on low until the dry ingredients are moistened, then increase then increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for another minute.

5. Add egg white mixture to dry mixture in three equal parts. Be sure to mix well (about 15-20 seconds) between each addition.

6. Pour into prepared cupcake pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or when the edges are slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart’s One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

3/4 cup (good) unsweetened cocoa powder – hint: Ghirardelli worked wonders for me. Nothing would make me sadder than to see you use generic-brand ingredients on something as important as chocolate cake!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until moistened.

4. Pour into prepared cupcake pan, and bake for 17-20 minutes. Move the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Frosting
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

This is a vanilla bean.  It smells amaaazing, incase you were wondering.

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
small pinch of salt
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 a vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp honey or agave nectar

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy (about 30-40 seconds).

2. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean with a knife into the butter. Beat the seeds into the butter for about 15 seconds. It should look cool, like this:

3. Add sugar and salt and beat for about a minute until mostly moistened.

4. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure you’re using all of the ingredients. (If you don’t do this step, you might end up with clumps of butter in your frosting – yuck!)

5. Add vanilla, heavy cream, and honey to the mixture. Beat until everything is fluffy and wonderful.

Chocolate Buttercream
recipe from Joy the Baker

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the good cocoa powder rule applies to this, too, people!)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk (I used soy milk)
1/4 cup heavy cream
slightly less than 1/4 cup hot chocolate mix

1. Beat butter until fluffy and smooth in a large bowl.

2. Add cocoa powder and salt, beat until well combined.

3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add confectioners’ sugar. Beat for about 10 seconds, add milk. Beat for another 10 seconds, add vanilla. Once everything starts to blend together, increase the speed of the mixer.

4. In a separate bowl or glass, mix together heavy cream and hot chocolate mix.

Once it’s combined, it will look like chocolate milk – do not drink it. That’s nasty.

5. Add the chocolate/cream mixture to the frosting mixture until you’ve reached your desired consistency. I personally did not use all the heavy cream, but it’s totally your call.

Frost these!  They’re naked! 😦

Feel free to mix-and-match frosting and cupcake flavors. It’s all good.
I can prove it!  I did the math:

vanilla cupcake + chocolate frosting = yum
vanilla cupcake + vanilla frosting = delicious
chocolate cupcake + vanilla frosting = heavenly
chocolate cupcake + chocolate frosting = marvelous

See? And I thought I was bad at math…

Bon appétit!


Comments on: "Simplicity at it’s finest: Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes" (3)

  1. Amanda Rios said:

    simply delicious….make more please ❤

  2. haha. I found this highly entertaining. I love the way you write KATE~!!
    And your math skills are amazing :). They will definitely be helping me out with college math next semester.

    Definitely will have to revert back to your blog on my next “IM AT MY FRIENDS DADS HOUSE WHO HAS AN AMAZING KITCHENS HOUSE AND WE ARE GOING TO BAKE! :)” adventure.

    love ya


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