February 2, 2009

magnolia bakery

So as I begin to explain yet another one of my bakery obsessions (which, I insist are all deliciously justified) I will, yet again, warn you. Don't even think about going in the bakery if you want to a) watch your sugar (some even argue the cupcakes are too sweet- a complaint I would never make) or b) ever, ever maintain a diet in the future. 
On a lighter note, though, Magnolia Bakery is one of the best, and most well known bakeries in the city- especially for their cupcakes. Okay, I admit they're kind of overrated- their most popular cupcakes are plain vanilla with classic vanilla buttercream- nothing new. However, I'm really a sucker for the experience. My favorite part is walking into the cozy bakery and catching a whiff of treats coming out of the oven, then deciding what to get as you hesitantly reach for a cupcake, withdraw, and pick another one; last week I knocked over a tray of them in the process. And though I have Magnolia's cookbook, I think that making their treats at home is never quite the same as greedily taking a bite out of one as you walk out of the bakery on your way home. The taste is the same, but my favorite part- the way the bakers always manage to get the icing to sit on top of the cupcakes in such a perfect, swirly, picturesque way, simply cannot be mastered at home. Or at least by me. 
So, I conclude with their most famous recipe, and a hope that you can get your icing to be structured as you please

Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
From Magnolia Bakery

1 1/2 cup self rising flour
1 1/4 all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake papers

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. At the bakery we ice the cupcakes with either vanilla or chocolate buttercream. 

**To make the icing, place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.