Vanilla Cupcakes, Part 2: Redemption is Sweet

Hi there, Readers!

After the disappointing results of my first attempt at baking vanilla cupcakes, I searched and found a second recipe to test. I love vanilla cupcakes, and I really wanted to bake again.  So, after getting all of my ingredients together, I made my second attempt at making these cupcakes, and hopefully, they were tasty ones, too.

Here is the recipe I found at Canadian Living.com for vanilla cupcakes:

  • 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

1.   In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2.   Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix in butter, milk, eggs and vanilla; beat on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

3.   Spoon into 12 paper-lined or greased muffin cups, filling about three-quarters full.

4.   Bake in the centre of 375°F (190°C) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 18 minutes.

5.   Transfer to rack; let cool completely.

After mixing together the wet and dry ingredients together, I had to taste the batter to gauge whether I was on the right track with this recipe. Let me tell you, Readers, tasting that batter was the highlight of my night! It tasted great!

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I then quickly scooped the batter into my cupcake tin and placed them in the oven to bake.

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It took about 14 minutes for them to bake, and I was on pins and needles waiting for them to cool.

I decided to kick these cupcakes up a notch by whipping together frosting from scratch.  I found this recipe at Food.com for Basic Vanilla Frosting. I had to get arm going to whip together these ingredients (use a hand mixer if you have one):

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

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I had to add a bit more milk and butter than the recipe suggested, but it looked and tasted so good!  It  only took about 5 minutes to make, so I’m going to keep this recipe in my back pocket and use it again!

After icing these cupcakes,

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it was finally the moment of truth: I had to find out if it was the previous recipe, or if it was just me, that couldn’t bake vanilla cupcakes.  I first took a bite out of the bottom of the cupcake, so I could taste the cake part of the cupcake without having the flavour of the icing interfere with the flavour of the cupcake. You can see that one of the cupcakes also had gold sprinkles on it.  I made these cupcakes for the gold medal men’s hockey game between Canada (YAY!!!) and Sweden.  It was my way to cheer the Canadians on early in the morning from my couch from the other side of the world.  The yellow was not as “golden” as I would have liked, so only a select few donned this extra hit of sugar.

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I am happy to tell you, Readers, that these cupcakes were delicious! They had a lightly sweet taste, moist, and fluffy.  They tasted even better with the vanilla frosting on them.  This latest recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes and the Basic  Vanilla Frosting recipe were a success!  Here is  a side-by-side picture of my previous attempt and this most recent attempt:

Cupcake Collage

My eldest daughter, who doesn’t like cake ate a few of these cupcakes!  My boyfriend/partner fell in love with the icing.  With the success of this cupcake recipe, I can truly say that redemption is sweet!

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Second Avenue Sweets: A Satisfying Pleasure for Your Sweet Tooth

It’s been a long time coming for this review, but this one was one worth waiting for!  The focus of this review is on Second Avenue Sweets, a family-owned and operated bakery and cupcakerie that is nestled near the corner of Second Street and Bank Street in the Glebe within Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario. They make their products by hand in small batches without the use of preservatives, and have been at their location since 2007.

Second Ave Sweets Store Front

I had only in my new home for a few weeks when I decided to go for a walk-about to get a better lay of the land.  With my little ones in tow, we weaved up ad down streets until we got to Second Street near Bank Street, and I saw Second Avenue Sweets.  We were getting a bit hungry, so we went in to see what they had.  It was displays of treats and sweets and baked goods!  Since I’m a butter croissant lover, I had to try one! Well, actually, I bought two of them; you know, one for the kids, too. I also bought an oatmeal raisin cookie.  I know it sounds lame of me to say (but I don’t care), but oatmeal raisin cookies are my favourite cookie, so I couldn’t say no to it.

After giving my kids their snack, I hurried home, gave the kids a lunch, and tore into the packages to finally enjoy my treats.  I was not disappointed, Readers, as the croissants were soooooo good!  Besides their golden brown hue, they were slightly crispy on the outside, and super moist with so many layers on the inside.  I’m used to having the outside crispier, and the inside a bit drier, but these croissants were delicious.  Oh, I forgot to tell you that they were big, too, so I felt stuffed after eating it.  I waited until the kids were asleep to have the oatmeal raisin cookie.  It was how I liked eating cookies: soft, with a bit of hint of firmness on the outer layer.  It was a good cookie.

These croissants were some of best I've had in a long time! I'm in love with them.

These croissants were some of best I’ve had in a long time! I’m in love with them.

This oatmeal Raisin cookie was really good.  I should have bought more than one.  :(

This oatmeal Raisin cookie was really good. I should have bought more than one.  😦

On my second visit to Second Avenue Sweets, I brought my eldest child, along with my youngest and my niece and nephew who were visiting us for a weekend.  They had a hard time deciding what to choose as their treat.  Here is what we finally bought:

  • A Classic French Chocolate Cupcake
  • A Flour-Free Chocolate Cupcake
  • Two Vanilla Cupcakes
  • A Chocolate Chip Cookie
From Top to Bottom; Left to Right - Chocolate Chip Cookie, Flour-Less Chocolate Cupcake, Vanilla Cupcakes, and Classic French Chocolate Cupcake.

From Top to Bottom; Left to Right – Chocolate Chip Cookie, Flour-Less Chocolate Cupcake, Vanilla Cupcakes, and Classic French Chocolate Cupcake.

We sat down on one of the benches that lined the streets of the Glebe to enjoy our afternoon treats.  The kids were not fans of the amount of icing on their cupcakes, but I was. It looked as though it was placed on to the cupcakes in a way that I can only describe as being home-style, you know, with a knife, and it was a thick layer of icing.  It was a bit dense, but it tasted good. They said there was too much of it.  I removed the access amount of icing (and ate it), and they dove into the cupcakes.  They really liked them.  I, being the biggest kid there, had to have a nibble of each treat for myself, so I could properly assess each one.

The Classic French Chocolate Cupcake was really good.  It had a rich chocolate flavour, and it was moist, too.  The Vanilla Cupcakes were delicious as well. They had that simple, natural taste you get from a good vanilla cake.

The Flour-Free Chocolate Cupcake was the only one that was no adorned by any frosting.  My eldest was the adventurous one who chose it as her treat.  As you would expect, it tasted a bit different than what you would expect from a normal chocolate cake, and it had a different consistency. The best way I could describe it was that it was denser than a cake that was made with flour.  Even though there was no flour used to make this cupcake, it was good.  It was chocolatey, soft and good. She finished it and said she would get another one the next time we visited.

The cookie was mostly consumed by my sweetie at home since he was sad that I didn’t buy him one on my first visit.  I, of course, had a nibble.  Just like the oatmeal raisin cookie I previously ate, the chocolate chip cookie was really good, too.  It was soft, and the chocolate chips had a smooth, chocolatey taste to them.  It was eaten in an instant.

What can I say, Second Avenue Sweets is a great spot for picking up treats or baked goods within Canada’s capital.  Their products are fresh, hand-made, and there is a lot to choose from.  So if you ever find your way to the Glebe-area of Ottawa, Ontario, you should swing by Second Avenue Sweets to get a satisfying pleasure for your sweet tooth! I can’t wait to go back for yet another croissant, too.

I would rate Second Avenue Sweets a 4 out of 5.  As I previously said, the icing on the cupcakes were a bit too thick for my liking, but, everything we ate was ever so delicious!

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