Spring is Always the Perfect Time for Baking
Whether it’s Mother’s Day, Easter or just to simply share a plate of baked goods with a new neighbor, spring is the perfect time for baking light and airy cakes and cupcakes. This spring, join Nielsen-Massey Vanillas as we explore the art of cake baking, sharing and eating.
Following are some tips and tricks for baking the perfect cake at home:
- Use cake pans and cupcake tins with a shiny aluminum finish, avoiding those with a dark finish. This will prevent the bottom of your cakes and cupcakes from getting too brown in the oven.
- Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer to make sure that it is calibrated correctly. While baking, place cake pans in the center of the oven for an even, golden-brown color and perfectly-baked, moist center.
- Allow cakes to cool completely before decorating to keep frostings, glazes and fillings from getting too soft.
- Follow the directions exactly! Different types of cake require different ingredients and methods of mixing. Carefully read and follow the recipe as written to ensure cake-baking success every time.
Lemon Cupcakes with Marshmallow Meringue
(Makes 2 Dozen)
For the Cupcakes:
2½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest (3-4 large lemons)
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
3 large eggs
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Place paper liners into two standard cupcake tins; set aside. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and lemon extracts. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients one-half at a time, alternating with buttermilk; beat after each addition and scrape sides of bowl as needed. Do not overmix batter.
Fill each liner with about ¼ cup batter and bake until done, about 18 minutes. Carefully place cupcakes in 2 (9 x 13) pans and cover with plastic wrap; set aside to cool. Make sure the wrap does not touch the cupcake tops; this method of cooling will make deliciously moist cupcakes.
For the Marshmallow Meringue:
4 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ cup sugar
1 cup marshmallow creme
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract
In a large bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar. With a handheld mixer, beat on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase mixer speed to high and gradually add sugar until soft peaks form.
Add marshmallow creme, vanilla and lemon extracts, and beat until combined. Using the back of a spoon, mound and creatively swirl meringue onto each cooled cupcake.
Place cupcakes on a rimmed sheet pan. Use a handheld kitchen torch or place under a broiler and toast until golden brown. If using the broiler method, watch to ensure meringue does not over brown.