Fluffy White Cupcakes with French Almond Buttercream

White Cupcakes with French Buttercream
There are a bazillion cupcake recipes out there, so why on earth should you pay attention to this one?

Because 1) Most of them are terrible. Like, really bad. How many disappointing cupcake recipes have you tried? I know I’ve been disappointed by quite a few over the years.

and 2) This is *the only* white cake I will make for the rest of my life, and if you try it, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that these are IT.

I know, that’s a pretty big statement to make.

But I don’t think it’s POSSIBLE for a cupcake to get any more fluffy, light, or flavorful than this one.

No, it’s just not possible.

These are too good.

Vanilla Cupcakes with French Buttercream

I came across this recipe on another blog, Sweetapolita, and Rosie’s opening line caught my attention:

“8640 minutes, 144 hours, 25 loads of dishes, 7 recipes, 8 pounds of butter, a few tears, a couple of happy children, and 1 relieved husband later, I have finally found it: a new favourite classic vanilla cake recipe!”

I did my own frosting and topped the cupcakes with a French almond buttercream that uses up the leftover egg yolks from the cake. If you’ve never tried making a true buttercream, these cupcakes deserve it. Give it a try, you’ll find yourself never going back to those quick buttercreams (butter whipped with confectioner’s sugar…blah. Gritty and boring).

For the cupcakes, I really didn’t change them much from Rosie’s cake. Follow her directions to make the batter but instead of baking it in 2 9-inch cake pans, line 24 cupcake wells with paper liners. Fill each well 1/2 to 2/3 full with cupcake batter, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.

But, a few notes about these cupcakes:
-Weigh the ingredients. Yes, in grams. That way it is exact, there’s just way too much variation when measuring. If you don’t have a scale already, please, get one (I use this very highly rated OXO scale). I use mine every day, it’s absolutely essential.

-As Rosie notes, most cakes are overbaked. After 20 minutes, using an oven mitt, jiggle the pan and pay attention to the structure of the cupcake. If it jiggles a lot, it’s not done. If you look closely, you can tell when the structure of a cupcake is set (and keep in mind, the cake will cook a little extra after it leaves the oven). Whatever you do, don’t take the cupcakes out of the oven when jiggling or looking, or else they may collapse if they aren’t set. Reach into the oven and do it, quickly.

To make the French buttercream, start with 5 egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer:

French Buttercream

Whip on high speed for about 8-10 minutes. They will start to lighten up:

How to Make French Buttercream

And after a full 10 minutes, they’ll be a very pale yellow, like this:

French Style Buttercream

Pour in a sugar syrup cooked to the soft ball stage (238 degrees F on a thermometer), and whip this for 5 minutes. It will start to turn white in color:

Professional Style Buttercream

Little by little, whip in the butter and add the almond extract:

Almond Buttercream

It’s now ready to be piped or spread onto cooled cupcakes!

French Almond Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 sticks butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks on high speed for 10 minutes until they are very pale.
  2. In the meantime, combine the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, and let the sugar syrup simmer to the soft ball stage (238 degrees on an instant read thermometer).
  3. When both the egg yolks and the sugar syrup are ready, pour the sugar syrup into the mixing bowl (the mixer should still be on high speed), aiming as best as you can to pour between the wire whisk and the side of the bowl.
  4. Now if you touch the bottom of the bowl, it will be very hot. Beat the egg yolk sugar mixture until the bowl feels neither hot nor cold (about 5 minutes).
  5. Turn the mixer down to medium and add the butter, a couple cubes at a time to the bowl, over the course of 10 minutes. Wait until each installment of butter is absorbed until you add the next batch. Add the almond extract, then pipe or spread your buttercream on your cupcakes. If the buttercream is too loose, refrigerate until it reaches your desired consistency.
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