School and work are back in session, and so cupcake season is fast upon us. We don't bake a lot of cupcakes; we usually prefer the ease of one whole cake. But when it comes to school classrooms and workplace birthday parties, cupcakes are just so easy and fork-free. So we've been on the hunt for the ideal recipes for both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, and now, the search is over.
We just haven't been happy with recent cupcakes; they would dome up too much, or be too crumbly, or too coarse. The recipes we usually used were our favorite cake recipes, and while these worked great for cake we weren't so happy with them as cupcakes.
So when we made a big batch of cupcakes for an event earlier this week, we had a chance to test out some new recipes. Both of the recipes we made turned out to be such winners that we immediately filed them away with a big red bow on top. These two new recipes were everything we wanted in cupcakes: moist, tender, and well-shaped. Oh, and easy too.
Chocolate Cupcake Winner: Far-From-Disaster Chocolate Cupcakes, at Orangette
• They taste like chocolate. So many chocolate cakes aren't chocolatey enough; these are rather grownup cupcakes, with a lot of richness. But they're still cake; they're not fudgy, brownie-like, or flourless.
• As Molly describes them, they are moist-yet-fluffy; they have such a perfect texture.
• There's coffee in them! The coffee gives a nice bitter edge to the chocolate flavor (which is accomplished, by the way, by the inclusion of both cocoa and chocolate).
Vanilla Cupcake Winner: Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes, at 52 Cupcakes
• Many cupcake recipes turn out to be too crumbly or coarse for our tastes. This one includes cake flour, which gave it tenderness. The cupcakes held together for easy eating, but they were spongy and moist still. Really perfect.
• This is one of the fastest cake recipes we've ever made; it has an unusual recipe structure that calls for beating the butter straight into the flour, then adding the wet ingredients. We were dubious, but then it turned out perfectly moist-yet-fluffy cupcakes.
• The flavor of these was buttery, rich with vanilla, and not too sweet. Another winner!
What are your favorite cupcake recipes? Do you have a reliable recipe you return to every time?
Related: How To Frost a Cupcake
(Images: Faith Durand)