Sunday, April 3, 2011

Magnolia's Bakery's Vanilla Cupcakes with Better-than-Maltesers Chocolate Frosting/All things Sweet and Beautiful.

I rarely like the colour white in my food.

I just had to say that. Truth is, I'm very apprehensive about white food. White (and hence, plastic) bread. Blah. White chocolate. Don't like. The white sandwich cream in Oreos? Nephew eats them for me. In fact, I thought Vanilla flavouring only existed to mask the eggy smell in sponge cakes (which are even wimpier than Creamy Peanut Butter).

 So when I got my hands on a bottle of golden Vanilla extract, I knew there was no dodging the issue. I had to make Plain-Jane Vanilla a superstar. And I had just the recipe.

One of the things in my Eat-before-I-die Bucket List are Magnolia Bakery (NY)'s cupcakes. On one of my food hunts online, I came across a recipe for these beauties and there it was. A sign. To make these cupcakes. It's OK, my friends think my world is slightly delusional too, in a Willa-Wonka-esque way.

And next was my Match The Following Exercise. The hunt for the perfect chocolate frosting. I've made frosting earlier. Two days back, Sign #2 popped up in the form of a frosting so divine, I took the remainder of what was in the bowl to eat with a spoon, like I would do with Nutella. That really is saying something, because usually after I'm done baking, I can't even face the goods, let alone eat them.

These cupcakes made up for all those traumatized years of dodgy, eggy cupcakes that made their appearance in my childhood snacks-boxes.

The frosting tastes like the clumpy bits of Maltova/Bournvita/Milo and sugar that collects at the bottom of your mug of your haphazardly-mixed, after-school malt drink. Even today, I unabashedly finger-scoop the crunchy sugar bits that remain after I drink up my bitter Filter Coffee. Mmmmmm.

Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Cupcakes with Better-than-Maltesers Chocolate Frosting:

Source: Vanilla cupcakes from Magnolia bakery.
               Frosting from Joy.


For the cupcake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup almond milk (or whole milk)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (highly recommended!)
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

10 tbps unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
a pinch of gourmet salt
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup Bournvita Five-Star/Milo/Maltova/Ovaltine


For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade (350 F). Grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder.

In another bowl, mix the milk and vanilla extract and seeds if using.

In a large bowl, beat the softened butter until fluffy.

Ooooh. Yes.

With the hand-mixer set on High, beat in the sugar for at least 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl so all of it gets incorporated.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating for at least one minute after each addition.

Add the flour mix and the milk alternatively, with the hand-mixer set on Low. Beat only until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. If there are floury lumps, use a big spoon for mixing it in.

Do you like Vanilla milkshakes? Yes? Taste the batter. No? Taste it anyway.
Not speaking as a doctor, though!

Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes.

Eat it steaming hot from the pan. Again, not speaking as doctor.

Take them out of the pan and cool completely before dabbing on the frosting.


In a bowl, dissolve the Milo/Bournvita into the cream until dissolved. Keep aside.

Beat, on High, the butter, cocoa and salt. Scrape down the sides, if necessary. Beat in the sugar, on Low, alternating with the milk and vanilla. 

A few flecks of Fleur de Sel can transform your cupcakes. LESS is more.
Pour in the Bournvita cream, little at a time, until you reach desired consistency.

Malt-on-chocolate action. Am I even allowed to post this picture?

I added all of the cream and Bournvita and skimped on the sugar, so my frosting was more like a glaze. I'll take something with a bit of a punch any time; the cupcakes more than make up for the sweetness-factor.

Frost, dab, glaze, dunk the cupcakes into the frosting. Serve to people. Or not.

Note: The unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen in a Ziploc bag or box for a week or so, until you want to use them. If you live in Madras, store the frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for a couple of days so the frosting doesn't make an almighty mess.

If you're still not convinced, make these cupcakes (and they are Yummy-ness Incarnate themselves) instead. I made both. I was told I was a wise woman.


  1. I've had Magnolia Bakery's cupcakes (thanks to Radhika) and trust me, they do not deserve to be on your bucket list! The only good thing about them is they make mini cupcakes, so you can actually finish the whole thing.

  2. Aw. Sigh. There's always Serendipity III. I don't know if I should take your word though, considering how you think Chocolate and Mint is bad (that's plain crazy talk, C!)

  3. Ask Radhika if you don't believe me, Rabia. But then again she didn't know what Frozzzzzen Hot Chocolate was, so I dunno if you'd believe her! I did have better cupcakes at this place called Prantl's. I'll see if I can find their recipe and give you.