Monday, March 9, 2015

Cupcake Wars: the salvo returned

If you stopped by the cafe last Monday, you got to see the first salvo in the cupcake wars - Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Buttercream Frosting. If you missed it, go back and check it out. We'll wait :)

Today, vanilla is going to defend against the chocolate cupcake's attack with it's own delicious twist.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cherry-Almond Buttercream Frosting

First, we start with the basic vanilla cake recipe:


2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.

Add the eggs and vanilla, and cream until fluffy.

Add the milk and dry ingredients, alternately, 1/3 at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.

Pour the batter into lined muffin tins. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes.

Now it's time for the frosting.

Cherry-Almond Whipped Buttercream Frosting

This frosting is the same as last week's, but with a couple tweaks.

First, we use white sugar instead of brown. Second, we flavor it with cherry and almond extracts.


7 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon cherry extract
1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
a pinch of salt
one small jar maraschino cherries
small package sliced almonds

In a small saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk and heat, stirring constantly until it thickens to the consistency of a thin pancake batter.

Remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Stir it occasionally as it cools. Once it's cool, stir in the cherry and almond extracts, along with about 1 teaspoon of juice from the maraschino cherries.

Cream the butter, sugar and salt together until creamy, about 3 minutes on medium high speed.

Now add the cooled milk/flour mixture.

Beat the frosting on medium to medium high speed for about 5 minutes, until the frosting has the consistency of whipped cream. A whisk attachment on your mixer is perfect for this task.

Taste the frosting - if you can still feel sugar granules, keep beating until you can't.

Frost the cupcakes with a piping bag and open star tip, or put the frosting in a plastic bag and snip off a corner.

Decorate each cupcake with a rosette made of sliced almonds and a maraschino cherry.

So, who won the cupcake wars? Which version would you choose to make - vanilla or chocolate?


  1. Okay, confession. I'm an icing/frosting/whatever you call it girl. Cherry almond frosting sounds as divine as last week's entry.

    Maybe I will just mix up a batch of frostings and work my way to a major sugar buzz!

    1. One thing I love about this frosting is that it's so light! The sweetness is subtle and the flavors linger for awhile. None of the heavy super-sweet feel of canned frostings.

      Now if that doesn't inspire you on your way to your sugar buzz, I'm not sure what will! :)

    2. That's the beauty of these pudding-based frostings. They taste light and airy because the whipping process does something very Disney-friendly-magical to the texture, and because it's all fresh ingredients and no stabilizers, you don't get weird aftertastes. I might try this today, we're about to do baking.... and I never made it over here yesterday, I'm always knee-deep in work on Mondays and I forget to come visit JAN!!!!!! That's because Beth's here to help so I get those elusive editing hours in, but I love Cupcake Wars in the Cafe! This rocks!!!

    3. Yes! Disney-feel magical :)


  2. Really? We have to choose? I'm a chocolate girl, but honestly, there's something about this frosting that has my mouth watering. I think I'll declare a tie and have one of each please. And I'm still gobsmacked about being able to make frosting without icing sugar. Who knew?

    1. Well, one at a time, Kav. I'd go with chocolate first, myself, but I'm not giving up the vanilla!

      Thankfully, I don't have to. Carrie is planning to make another batch of each for next weekend's church dinner :)

    2. Kav, when I first had the original frosting (on Aunt Bea's Banana Cake) I didn't believe it, either, because we were raised that 10X/powdered/confectioners sugar being the only frosting sugar. How fun to find out we were wrong!!!!

  3. Beautiful, Jan!! I just pinned your photo. But I still think I'd have to vote for last week's cupcakes to win. :) I'm a chocolate and brown sugar nut. :)

    1. Me too, Missy. That brown sugar frosting...soooo good!