Saturday, May 15, 2010

Martha's Perfect White Cake, Plus White Chocolate

You wouldn't send a lady to jail with a cupcake like this, would you?

Martha, you never let me down. Even though you went to prison, you still have the knack to pour glitter on gluey pine cones and make magic. Major street cred. I'd give you an electronic hand clap, but I don't think you'd understand my love of 80's music, so let me lay it down for you.

The completed batter.

Few people have the audacity to put "perfect" in their recipes, but Martha has the results to back it up. I've been looking for a good white cake recipe to modify, sifting through blogs, general recipe sites, and so on for at least a week now. After narrowing it down to two, I consulted a friend (mind you, this friend is an excellent baker and I would trust her with my life and oven) about whether to go with Martha or Mangio Da Sola. Though the pictures from MDS looked lovely, she said Martha had never failed her. I suppose that's the way of the world; default to Martha.

Cooled cupcakes, just prior to being frosted.

I worried a little, after reading a comment or two about how the cake was too buttery. Too buttery? I pondered how things could have gone wrong for that person. My little cupcakes came out wonderful. Perfect white cake, indeed.

The incredibly fluffy interior of perfect white cake, plus white chocolate.

Perfect White Cake, Plus White Chocolate
Adapted from (halved from original)

Yields 22 cupcakes

3/4 C  milk
4 1/2  egg whites
1/2 T  vanilla
1/4 tsp  almond extract
2 1/4 C (200g)  cake flour
1 T  baking powder
3/4 tsp  salt

9 T (125g)  butter
1 C + 2 T (215g)  sugar
6 oz (170g)  white chocolate, finely chopped (optional)

White Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from (in Diana's Recipe Book)

Frosts at least 24 cupcakes

4 1/2 oz (130g)  white chocolate, in chips or chopped
1 3/4 C (230g)  powdered sugar
1/4 C  milk
1/2 tsp  vanilla
6 T (90g)  butter, softened
pinch of salt

          Cake Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) and line 11 cupcake tins.
  2. Mix together milk, egg whites, and extracts and set aside.
  3. Place flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat chocolate into creamed butter-sugar (optional).
  6. In three parts, alternately add the wet mix and dry mix to the creamed butter-sugar-chocolate. Beat on low until just mixed.
  7. Divide batter evenly between lined tins and bake 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake center comes out clean (tops will begin to crack and brown).
  8. Cool in tins 5 minutes and then remove to rack and place upside down to cool completely.
          Frosting Directions
  1. Microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals until spreadable.
  2. Beat milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Add butter and salt and beat smooth.
  4. Add the chocolate and (again) beat smooth.
  5. Refrigerate until the desired spreading consistency is achieved (minimum 30 minutes).
  6. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!
Martha's White Cake, Plus White Chocolate Reflections

The other white chocolate cupcake attempt. Sure, they tasted alright, but the white chocolate just didn't read right and the texture was too much like a dense sponge (not sponge cake, sponge).

I have made white chocolate cupcakes before, but with a recipe that gave me results I didn't really care for. It could have been my fault, since I halved the recipe and rounded my egg count up; regardless, it didn't thrill me.

Martha's white cake, plus some white chocolate. One of the best tastes and textures of cake to come out of this oven.

This recipe, however, is great. Oh fine, the cupcakes straight out of the oven seemed a bit butter-heavy (you could see it soaking the liners), but cooling them upside down is a reasonable fix. Perhaps next time, I'll reduce the butter by two tablespoons; I don't think it would hurt.

The frosting could be thicker, then again I probably could have waited longer to frost the cupcakes, but their wonderfully domed tops called to me.

I made these for a friend of mine. He told me, and I quote, "BEST CUPCAKE EVER." He offered to trade professional photos of my baking for consumption of said goodies. He's not the first photographer friend to offer, but it's always nice to know people are willing to trade their valuable and professional services for mine. I would take my photographer friends up on their offers, but that involves planning, and I bake on a whim, so they'll just have to wait until I've got something epic in the oven.

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