I took these cupcakes to an Obama speech party back during the Democratic National Convention, but they would be delicious anytime! The cake flour and whipped egg whites make the cupcakes super light, almost like a sponge cake, and the touch of almond makes them very delicate and refined. Even though the frosting has white chocolate and cream cheese, it's not too strongly flavored and is just really delicious--even folks who weren't big white chocolate-fans seemed to enjoy it.
Vanilla Almond Cupcakes (from a deck of cupcake recipes on cards that my sister gave me)
Makes one dozen
1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake papers.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together milk, vanilla, and almond extract.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand-held mixer), beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until lightened in color, 3 minutes. Lower the mixer speed, and add the flour in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Mix just until the flour is incorporated. Set aside.
4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with clean beaters until foamy, 30 seconds. Then switch to high speed and beat until the whites are shiny, smooth, and hold soft peaks. Stir one third of the egg mixture into the reserved batter. Using a rubber spatula and a gentle hand, fold in the remaining whites until just blended.
5. Fill each paper liner with a scant 1/3 cup batter. Bake until the tops feel firm and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool completely and frost.
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting (same source)
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1. Melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Let cool slightly, then add the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until smooth, 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar in small batches until the frosting is smooth and the sweetness you like.