The directions called for using the blessed Kitchenaid mixer- which by the way, I've had for six years and have managed to never use because I feel like it's the fanciest thing I'll ever own and therefore need to preserve it for as long as possible.
Long story short, the ingredients were all items I had here at home, the directions were easy to follow, and unfortunately I did not win the $20 Target gift card at work. (Cinna-Mon-Amour won; cinnamon + cream cheese? Please. It wasn't even a fair battle). But! I did get second place votes and someone asked me for my recipe, so at least there's that.
Yesterday was my mom's birthday and I made her the same cupcake/frosting combo. The directions were even easier the second time around and with the amendments I made below, yielded a more balanced flavor.
I feel like I'm ready to open my own bakery.
White Velvet CupcakesAdapted from this recipe at Fifteen Spatulas
Cupcake Ingredients3 large egg whites
10 tbsp milk (sounds weird, I know)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all purpose flour MINUS 4 TBSP
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 stick salted butter between 65 and 75 degrees (or on the coolish side)
(Frosting recipe below photos)
Directions1. Preheat oven to 350F (176C).
2. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites, 3 tbsp of milk, and vanilla until combined. It will smell and look like horchata.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the rest of the milk and mix on low until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 90 seconds.
4. With the mixer on medium low speed, slowly add half of the egg mixture and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and repeat with the remainder of egg mixture. It will be thick, like pancake batter.
5. Pour into lined cupcake pan; fill to approximately half full. Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
6. Once cupcakes have cooled, top with frosting and enjoy!
UPDATE: My mom, niece, Eric, and I all loved them. It was noted that the frosting was the best part. My brother-in-law thought they were muffins. I'm not sure what that says about my baking/presentation skills.
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
Frosting Ingredients1 basket of strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 sticks of salted butter
4.5 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk (optional)
Directions1. In a small saucepan, combine strawberries, water, and granulated sugar and bring to a boil over medium low heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Chill for 20 minutes or store for future use.
2. Cream butter and 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, then add 1 tbsp of the strawberry syrup. Repeat until all of the sugar and 7 tbsp of the strawberry syrup have been added. Add vanilla and beat on high for about 20 seconds.
3. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add milk, starting with 1 tbsp at a time. (Both times that I made the frosting, I didn't need milk at all.)
4. Use immediately or refrigerate up to three days. To bring frosting back to life after refrigeration, allow to reach room temperature, then beat on low until smooth.
Note: My frosting didn't turn out very pink. In fact, it's on the pale side. If you want a more pinky effect, I'd suggest adding a drop of red food coloring.