I needed vanilla cupcakes to take to a barbecue this weekend so I converted this recipe for a 2-layer, 9-inch cake into 22 cupcakes. It uses only egg whites rather than whole eggs so it's a bit lighter than the norm. I can't pretend it's healthy though since you've still got the butter, sugar and flour in it. For the frosting, I just beat a stick of butter until it was soft, added a couple cups of powdered sugar and enough milk to make it spreadable. Plus a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract. I didn't measure anything exactly since frosting can be pretty forgiving as long as you get it to the right consistency. This was a basic vanilla cupcake. I wouldn't say they were the best cupcakes I've ever made but I'm also sometimes cupcake impaired since I either never bake them long enough or bake them a minute past done. Cupcakes dry out easily so they're best consumed the day they're made. This was okay but I'm not sure I would make this again and would probably got for a whole-egg version instead for a better mouthfeel.
2 ¾ cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
1 cup milk
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, tapping out the excess flour.
2. In a medium-sized bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the vanilla and egg whites and beat at high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in half of the dry ingredients, just until blended. Beat in all fo the milk and then the remaining dry ingredients. Beat for one minutes and then turn into the prepared pans, dividing batter equally between them. Smooth the tops with a spatula and firmly tap pans on the surface to level. Bake on same shelf until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes and then invert onto racks. Return one layer to an upright position and cool both layers to room temperature.
4. Place one layer bottom side up on a serving dish and spread with 1 cup of frosting. Add the second layer, right side up, over the frosting. Spread top and the insides with the remaining frosting.