Before cupcakes were cool, when Kevin was little I'd bake and decorate them for parties and special occasions. I've always liked cupcakes—the small size means easy portioning, and the fact that they are fit for small hands are always a bonus. Growing up we always had cake-mix cupcakes, but in more recent times I've tried to find a good recipe with no success. Each time I’d be hopeful, but the results would be dry and dense, not light and fluffy like the cake mix texture I was used to. Isn’t that silly, to be so used to a mix from a box that I wasn’t sure what real cake even should be like? 

This recipe is, to say the very least, spectacular.  Moist, light cupcakes that are so tender I could (ok I DID), eat a bunch of them.  Once you try these you will never, ever, buy a boxed mix again.  Before you start, I recommend that you follow the ingredients and instructions exactly.  The only thing that I would possibly change is omitting the almond extract and using all vanilla, but beyond that don’t deviate at all. 


1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract (or just use 2 tsp vanilla)
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened

  Pre-heat oven to 350 F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

  In a bowl, mix together the milk, egg whites, and extracts together with a whisk.  Set aside.

  Using the bowl for an electric mixer, measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter.  Beat the mixture until it looks like sand.  Pour in all but ½ cup of the milk mixture, and beat on medium for 1 ½ minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture, and then beat another 30 seconds longer.  Don’t overbeat or your cupcakes may turn out tough.

  Divide the batter among muffin tins, filling to about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. (For mini cupcakes, line a mini muffin with paper liners, fill the cups about 2/3 full and bake for about 10 minutes.)

  Ice with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Icing.

  Easter variation:

Fill the muffin cup about 1/3 full of batter, then place an unwrapped mini Easter crème egg, Caramilk egg, or plain chocolate egg on top.  Top with remaining batter until cup is 2/3 full.  Bake as usual.

Adapted very slightly from Baking Bites