I’m not a food science whiz but I’ve been baking a long time and I recognized some things in this recipe of concern. So I made some changes and ended up with a darn good vanilla cupcake. First, the baking soda - and no baking powder. Baking soda typically is used when there’s something acidic in the batter like chocolate or buttermilk but there is none here. Also, baking soda is 4 times as powerful as baking powder so why so much? If some reviewers complained of an off taste or if their cupcakes were crumbly and coarse too much baking soda could be the problem. I eliminated it entirely, substituting 1-1/2 tsp. of baking powder instead. Others reported these were dry – they might have over baked them, but I’m thinking 5 T. of butter wasn’t enough – I increased it to 1/2 cup. As for technique, I didn’t trust the instructions to heat the milk and butter. I used a traditional creaming method instead – cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each; add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, in thirds, alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Finally, still others mentioned a flat taste – I added 1/4 tsp. of salt rather than just a pinch, and 1-1/2 tsp. of vanilla. As I mixed up the batter I found it needed another 1/4 c. of flour. The cupcakes rose nicely, had great flavor, and were moist with a light and tender crumb. So, some problems as written, perfect with some tweaks.
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I’m not a food science whiz but I’ve been baking a long time and I recognized some things in...