Green cupcakes!

I loved Bakerella’s post the other day about the idea of making a red velvet cake recipe into green cupcakes so much that I had to try it myself. Except I realized I couldn’t make red velvet because I didn’t have any buttermilk. So I went looking for a simple vanilla cake recipe with buttercream frosting, and landed on one from Martha Stewart.

I’m also shopping for a recipe that I can use for vanilla wedding cake (since Mike’s making chocolate), so I counted this as an experiment.

It actually worked really well. The cake by itself doesn’t have a ton of flavor, but when you add the buttercream frosting, which is incredibly flavorful (hello, butter!), it’s the perfect combination. Next I want to try Smitten Kitchen’s wedding cake recipe. I’m still wavering over whether or not I should use regular buttercream or one with cream cheese for the wedding. I think the cream cheese, in addition to tasting good, will help with stability at room temperature. But I would welcome your thoughts.

Anyway, back to the green cupcakes. I worried that my cheapo food coloring would produce something really pastel, but it came out a pretty bright green color. The photos don’t do it justice…

The only thing I changed was the baking time. Martha was way off on this one. Maybe her fancy test kitchen ovens bake faster, but I had to add 5-7 minutes to the baking time to get them all done in the center. I came out with about 20 cupcakes. I also halved the frosting recipe, and had just enough.

Here’s what I used:

Vanilla cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl, beat in vanilla.

2. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl to assure the batter is thoroughly mixed. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling papers about 2/3 full. Bake on the center rack of the oven until tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Simple buttercream
Makes 2 3/4 cups

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

(Or for half, 2 sticks of butter, about a cup of powdered sugar – or weigh a half pound, a splash of vanilla and a pinch of salt)

1. In a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on high speed 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.