I have to admit that given the choice, I prefer full sized cupcakes to miniature ones. The minis look so cute, but I just don't find them as satisfying. If I'm baking for a crowd, however, the minis win the day because a single batch will go a lot further. (Now you know my secret!)
My favorite cupcakes in NYC (and yes, I'm totally willing to go on record about this) are from Butter Lane. Awhile back, my girlfriends and I took their cupcake making class, which was a fantastic use of a weekend afternoon and has continued to pay dividends. My three main takeaways were:
- Use the best ingredients you can
- Don't overmix the batter
- Play with different frosting flavors to add variety to a single batch
I also learned how hard it is to perfect the frosting swirl (you can see the technique here, along the recipe), which I must confess I haven't mastered yet. What can I say? If practice makes perfect, I'll just have to keep trying!
My version of the best possible ingredients is top quality and organic when possible. Highlights include real vanilla extract (just like my mama taught me!), European-style butter (there were stacks of this decadent stuff in the Butter Lane class), and a vanilla bean. I'm pretty sure that the hearty dose of vanilla why these cupcakes make me swoon.
From left to right, those are chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla bean frostings.
The finished product! I added white and red sprinkles to distinguish the vanilla and cinnamon frosting flavors.