Vanilla Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C)
and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand
mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a
time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest, flour, baking powder, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add
the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the
flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Evenly fill the
muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 - 20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Always
check a few minutes before the stated baking time. Do
not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.) Remove
from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have
completely cooled, frost with icing. If you want flat topped cupcakes then
slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife, before frosting. If
you want to pipe the frosting, I like to use a large Wilton 1M star
decorating tip. Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are made, but they can be covered
and stored for a few days.
Confectioners (Buttercream) Frosting:
In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream
the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the
mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and
beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add
a little more milk or sugar, if needed. Tint the
frosting with desired food color (I use the paste food coloring that is
available at cake decorating stores and party stores).
Makes about 12 cupcakes
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Modern Classics Book 2. Harper Collins Publishers Inc. New York: 2003.
Baking in America. Houghton Mifflin Company. New York: 2002.