Better Than Ultimate

I was chatting with a friend when I realised that I had obsessed over chocolate and strawberry and lemon and even White Russian but I had never eaten nor made a simple vanilla cake. What is a vanilla cupcake? I’ve never had one. Is it just plain butter cake? It seems so boring. Why eat a plain cake when there’s chocolate, cheese, coffee, strawberry, etc.?  I’m big on flavours. Vanilla cake seemed like it had no real flavour.

I went looking and chanced upon Cupcake Project’s Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake. ULTIMATE! It had apparently been tested by 50 testers and garnered 66% approval! Had to be good right? So I followed her recipe to find out what the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake tasted like. It was supposed to yield “a moist, light cake with an unmistakable vanilla flavour”.

All I can say is “NOT”! My DCM and I tried a piece each once they came out of the oven. I was SO NOT IMPRESSED and he wasn’t too (see, he doesn’t say everything I make is nice). The tops of the cupcakes turned out weird. I freaked out thinking that my oven was spoilt. It was eggy. So eggy that I could not taste any of the expensive vanilla pod or extract I used. It tasted more like an egg cake. It was moist but not light like she claimed. It was dense and oily. I wish I had taken photos to show you but I was too upset at that point of time. I also do not like photographic evidence of failure.

To its defence (from my DCM), it wasn’t a bad cake. It was just a cake.  But (also in his words) definitely not the “Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake” for sure. I stirred up some lemon-strawberry glaze, smothered the cupcakes with the glaze and my DCM took them to the office for his colleagues’ breakfast. There weren’t any complaints.

I got to thinking about the perfect vanilla cupcake. What was the point in that? Who wants to eat a plain, boring cake? Was it worth the effort? So I posted the question as my Facebook status to garner some opinions. It wasn’t overwhelming but there were people who cared about THE perfect vanilla cupcake.

This then got me thinking about what the perfect vanilla cupcake was supposed to taste like. I couldn’t deal with it being just a plain, boring butter cake. I definitely did not want that eggy flavour. I wanted a cupcake that really just tasted solely of vanilla and nothing else. . I wanted my cupcake to taste as close to the cream of an Oreo cookie as possible. That was the flavour that kept invading my mind whilst I was thinking about vanilla.

I concocted a very simple recipe just to test things out. No egg yolk meant no eggy flavour. I used an expensive organic ingredient to ensure extra vanilla flavour and that the cake would be a lovely cream instead of the usual yellow. I mixed it all up, filled the liners, popped them into the oven and crossed my fingers. Linda thinks I’m crazy because I told her I weighed each cupcake to be certain I had distributed the batter evenly…

Fresh out of the oven!

Pale cream in colour and dotted with little black specks of vanilla, they rose beautifully. Sure the domes were a little cracked but cupcakes get frosted anyway.  I pulled one open to find a slightly crumbly, fluffy, moist and soft interior. No smell of egg, no taste of egg! This time around, the house actually smelt of vanilla. All vanilla! It isn’t greasy as well. Its flavour is really close to that of the Oreo cookie’s cream. Actually ladies, this is a figure-conscious girl’s cake. I cannot tell you what’s in it but let’s just say that all the naughty stuff in cake either do not exist or only exist as a fraction.

Look how fluffy it is on the inside!

Vanilla cupcakes are not as complicated as all the other blogs make them out to be. I’m sure those are good too and maybe I will try them out one day but right now, I am loving my almost guilt-free version. A simple but expensive cake to make; yet totally worth it.

I’m feeling a little festive!

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake? Not for me thank you. If your concept of a vanilla cake is that of the butter cake variety, you won’t like my vanilla cupcake. This is a real vanilla cake. My perfect vanilla cupcake.

I need to go have a think about frosting now. Oops! I just ate another one!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. icedtallmochaforkar
    Oct 27, 2012 @ 07:15:54

    I made the ultimate vanilla cupcake as well and it tasted eggy! Followed the recipe to a T as well. Yup, its not bad, but i wouldn’t call it the ultimate. To make it better, i made some choco ganache and dipped the top of the cupcakes. 🙂 tasted good


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