This weekend some friends of mine invited me to bake a cake with them for the birthday of another friend. And if you know me, you know I never pass up a chance to be domestic with the gals. Lindsay had this fantastic cupcake book, Cupcakes: Luscious Bakeshop Favorites from your Home Kitchen, by Shelly Kaldunski which has all kinds of great cupcake and frosting recipes, along with decorating tips. We adapted the recipes for Vanilla Cupcakes with Coffee-flavored Buttercream for our cakes. The decorations are turbinado sugar, dyed with food coloring, and coffee buttercream, with added hot cocoa powder and food coloring. We had so much fun, and the cake was delicious! This recipe comes directly from Kaldunski’s book, with the amounts doubled for the cakes.
Basic Vanilla Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole milk
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Spray sides and bottom of one small and one large spring-form pan with non-stick baking spray.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. And the eggs and egg whites one at a time, beating well on low speed after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat on medium-high speed just until no traces of flour remain, about 30 seconds; do not overbeat.
Divide the batter evenly among the springform pans, until all batter is used. Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, (20-25 minutes?). Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
While the cake is cooling, make the Coffee Buttercream:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, at room temperature
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, at room temperature
In a large, clean heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is very warm to the touch (about 160 F on an instant-read thermometer), about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Usuing an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white mixture until it is fluffy, cooled to room temperature, and holds stiff peaks (the mixture should not look dry), about 6 minutes.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the salt and the butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after all the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until it is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes more. Add the coffee in small amounts until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Use right away.