Isn’t it fun when you meet a kindred soul? Someone so interested in the quirky things you are interested in that you have this immediate connection. I was out with some friends for drinks about a month ago. I got into a discussion with Jen about baking that lasted most of the night. We both enjoy baking and got into the nitty, gritty of yellow cupcakes: the different mixing methods, our preferred cupcake crumb, the various recipes, icing, etc. We left with a loose plan to experiment with a few different recipes and a series of flavor extract variations.
Jen, who does clinical psychology research, is an awesome cake recipe researcher! Maybe too good. We had to narrow down our list from an initial 24 cupcake variations. About 35 e-mails later, we chose our final recipes and flavor combinations…..and decided to have a tasting party.
Goal: to find THE BEST homemade yellow cake recipe
(aka delicious without the box)
Here’s the baking breakdown:
We would each do two recipe bases with three variations: Original Recipe, Almond Flavoring addition, Coconut Flavoring addition. Half-batches of each variation. So, twelve taste variations in all.
I love anything from Cook’s Illustrated, so I was keen on making this recipe. You start off mixing the dry ingredients first.
Separate the egg whites and yolks. The egg whites get whipped until they hold stiff peaks, while the yolks get mixed in with the wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then fold in the egg whites in three additions.
Joy of Baking
They Joy of Baking recipe had you mix the dry ingredients, then beat in the butter.
Followed by a separate addition of the wet ingredients (milk, egg yolks, vanilla, etc).
My flavorings: almond, coconut, and vanilla extract. I put vanilla in all of the cupcake variations, then 1/4 teaspoon of either almond or coconut extract in the other variations.
My two recipe bases looked quite different after baking. I initially preferred the Cook’s Illustrated cupcakes because the top of the Joy of Baking cupcakes were a crumbly, fragile mess. They were very difficult to even remove from the pan, so I was worried what it would be like eating them.
But I managed to get them out of the pan and to the party in almost one piece!
Stayed tuned. Party pics in my next post.