mike kostyo

I know food.

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

Just a few months to wait for the vanilla counterpoint to those chocolate cupcakes. That's nothing. Absence makes the heart go hungrier is how the phrase goes.

Happy Halloween! What did you go as? Oooh spooky. Or oooh sexy. I went as nothing, because I'm an adult. Just kidding, adults can dress up. On my way home from work a woman was sitting on her door step dressed as Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast and she offered me a piece of candy. I didn't take it because strangers and diets (I'm not worried about either of those things), but I also saw a piglet, a Wonder Woman, a guy in a pimp coat with a Brittish hat, and a dog dressed as a devil. A devil dog.

We were going to go to the Chicago Halloween parade but it's raining all the rain here in Chicago. Once it started raining I said I should have gone as the Gorton Fisherman and my sister said she should have gone as the Morton Salt Girl, but we only thought of this last night. So instead we are going to stay in and watch The Shining. Have you seen it? Do you like when people ask you questions on blogs? I watched it years ago but I forgot a lot of it. I think because I fell asleep. I also lasted about 5 minutes before I fell asleep during The Exorcist. Sorry old scary movies! I have seen Room 237 though, which, what? The lady who thinks the skiing person is a minotaur is my favorite. Hahaha what are you talking about? If you haven't seen it you can watch it on Netflix. Dot com.

Anyways, I'm going to start blogging again! I miss the ole blog! I've been spending a lot of time running Chicago Food Bloggers and not even writing my my food blog. For shame.

Here are some vanilla cupcakes for you. These are my favorite vanilla cupcakes -- so moist, so fluffy, a great crumb. And I use swiss meringe buttercream, because, as I have said time and time again, it's the best. Add fall colored sprinkles and they become Halloween cupcakes! Baking.


Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

Adapted from Magnolia Bakery  |  Makes 24


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line 2 tins with 24 cupcake papers. Set aside.

3. Combine the 190 grams of self-rising flour and 160 grams of all-purpose flour in a bowl and set aside.

4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the 2 sticks of softened butter and 400 grams of sugar together until very smooth and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

5. Add the 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the reserved flour in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla, mixing until just combined after each addition (do not overbeat this batter!). Scrape down the bowl. 

6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about 3/4 full.

7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, checking with a cake tester/toothpick to ensure it comes out clean. Cool completely.

8. Frost with the swiss meringue buttercream (see recipe below).


+ 190 grams self-rising flour 

+ 160 grams all-purpose flour

+ 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

+ 400 grams of sugar

+ 4 large eggs

+ 1 cup milk

+ 1 tablespoon vanilla

+ 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream


1. In a heavy, medium saucepan, add the 4 egg whites, 200 grams sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Over medium-low heat, begin whisking the mixture. Check the temperature frequently, mixing constantly, until it reaches 160 degrees F, about 5 minutes.

2. Pour the mixture into your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. With the mixer on high, begin whipping the mixture. Bring it to stiff peaks, about 6 to 8 minutes. The mixture should no longer be warm -- feel the bottom of the bowl to ensure it is room temperature.

3. Switch to the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on medium-high and begin adding pieces of the butter. Continue adding the butter and mixing until you have used all of the butter. At some point the mixture may look "curdled," but don't worry. Keep mixing and it will become beautifully smooth.

4. Add the tablespoon of vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, and combine. 

Frost the cupcakes and serve.


+ 4 large egg whites

+ 200 grams sugar

+ 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

+ 454 grams (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

+ 1 tablespoon vanilla

+ 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt