vanilla vanilla (perfect butter cream) cupcakes

sometimes, i’m wide awake and bolt upright in bed, in the middle of the night, with a pang that comes out of nowhere… and then i’m left to reflect. about my endless to do list, about emails from friends messages i haven’t replied to yet, about good things i could do to someone who’s not having a good time at the moment… sometimes, these thoughts keep me awake for hours. sometimes, if i’m lucky, i get back to sleep before dawn (usually like 5 seconds before my alarm goes off). so i usually read a book (always on my nightstand) or browse through blogs. i love that blogs don’t have a specific, fixed appearance date or time, but there’s something new to discover at any (whatever ungodly) hour. 
i fear today will be a long day, sighs. i’m off to work now.
vanilla vanilla cupcakes
kindly borroughed and adapted the recipe for the cakes from gastonlegourmet
and the frosting from martha stewart *
(makes about small 20 cupcakes)

ingredients for the cakes:
250 g flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract (i used more, in fact, i always do, hehe)
120 g butter, softened / at room temperature
2 heaped tbsp. vanilla sugar
300 g sugar (i used a little less)
2 large organic eggs
240 ml milk
directions for the cakes:
preheat the oven to 180 degrees. combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. with an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla sugar. then, one by own, add the eggs and mix until incorporated. combine the milk and vanilla extract. now gradually add half of the milk mix, then half of the flour mix, then the rest of the milk and flour. divide evenly into cupcake liners, place them in a muffin baking form (12 at a time, only, sadly) and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the size of your cupcakes). when an inserted stick comes out clean, they’re good to go. remove and let cool. 
ingredients for the frosting**:
250 g / 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter (the best you can find), at room temperature (this is important)
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or more, see note above)

directions for the frosting***:

in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until white for a couple of minutes (martha didn’t mention this step, but i found that it’s important). gradually add 4 cups of sugar, first folding them into the butter with a spatula, then beating again. add milk and vanilla. beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes more. gradually add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes after each addition, until icing reaches desired consistency. martha notes that you may not need to add all the sugar – but i always find i did.
* this is only the first time that a butter cream frosting turned out perfect in every way. thank you, martha! also, i tried to make this perfect, iconic magnolia bakery swirl. they say it needs about 40 hours of practice to get it right. i didn’t have the time, then and there, so i ended up piping it onto the cakes instead. looks polished every time and you can’t really get it wrong. foolproof. and i rely on foolproof, when it comes to baking, as i’m definitely not a natural at it. 
** my mom used to say ‘frostening’ all the time, about 100 times a day, until, one day, i thought if i’m never going to correct her it’s going to drive me crazy. now it always makes me smile whenever i think of the word. frostening. kinda has a nice ring to it.
*** see above comment (with two stars).
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