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Apr 18, 2008 09:33 AM

Slightly urgent vanilla cake question

I'm still fairly new at this baking thing, but I'm hoping to surprise the lovely ladies of the cast and crew of the play I'm in with a cake (or cupcakes) tomorrow. Nothing totally fancy, but I was hoping for a simple, maybe lemon-laced recipe. I saw that the magnolia's vanilla cupcakes win accolades ( although all I have is cake flour and ap flour, would it be a problem to swap one in for the self-rising flour? Could I add lemon zest and/or almond extract into most recipes? And lastly, if I wanted to layer the cake with a red raspberry jam interior, can I just slap the jam on a cooled cake or should I reduce it/mix it with something to prevent it from getting gummy?

I did also see the Lemon and Honey recipe at Couture Cupcakes ( which sounds lovely but I haven't got sour cream on hand. I already posted a comment there about any substitutes but I'm not sure if she'll comment back. Thoughts?

Thank you so much!

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  1. Hi chocolatstiletto,

    Based on the "magnolia's" recipe, you can substitute AP for the self-rising, (for a total of 2.75 cups AP) and add 2.25 teaspoons of baking powder, and .75 teaspoon of salt.


    1. if the recipe calls for self rising flour, you need self rising flour. the good news is you can make your own, provided you have baking powder (which i'm assuming you do since you're baking! :)


      1. Using a dry measure, measure the desired amount of flour into a separate container.
      2. For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
      3. Mix to combine.

      you could add lemon zest and/or almond extract, sure. in terms of a jam based filling, you could certainly just use jam, but i would probably make a sauce, just because i'm a snot that way. since fresh berries aren't in season (here, at least) and you'd be making a sauce anyways, frozen would work.

      here's an example:


      Raspberry Filling

      * 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
      * 1 tablespoon cornstarch
      * 2 tablespoons lemon juice
      * 1/4 cup sugar


      1. In a small sauce pan, combined all of the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
      2. Let cool completely before spreading onto cake.

      1. 1. You can substitute self-rising for cake flour or AP flour. If you are going to use it cut back on the salt and baking powder unless your self-rising is not impeccable fresh. If it is not you will need to add baking powder. Over all cake flour would be the better choice.

        2. See the recipe I posted today about muffins. It wants you to grate the zest and combine throughly to bring out the natural lemon oil and flavor the sugar. You could add pure lemon extract, never use the "imitation stuff".

        3. If you are making cupcakes they won't be layered. You could pour some batter in each cup cake paper, about half way, add a tsp. of your jam and top with more batter.

        4. If you have some plain yogurt on hand you could substitute that. I would not use a low fat type. You will lose some richness, moisture and mouth feel

        2 Replies
        1. re: Candy

          1. Thank you, although the problem is that I have both cake and ap, but no self-rising. I like using the cake flour in cupcakes, but can I apply the (great) substitution measures given above (i.e. baking powder and salt) to it as well? Would it make sense to use all cake flour, plus equivalent amounts of baking powder and salt?

          2. I saw that recipe. It made me ridiculously sad that I am the only person I know that likes ginger that much, and so I have no excuse to make it.

          3. Oh, I do know that- If I do a cake, it will be layered; if I go with cupcakes for ease of mass eating, I was hoping to use the cut-a-cone-and-fill-method from to put a dab of jam or nutella in each one. (In part, the jam and odd flour mixtures are because it's the end of the semester and I'm trying to use things up before I go home!)


          1. re: chocolatstiletto

            Hi, I was just suggesting that you use the method I did with the muffins to get the lemon flavoring into your cupcakes.

            The advice on the amounts of salt and baking powder are good ones. I usually avoid using self-rising flour for anything. I never know how long the self rising flour has been sitting a warehouse or on the shelf in the store. Plus i can control the amount of salt I am using.

            Good luck.

        2. Yes, you can add the kinds of flavorings you are talking about to a basic recipe. (You may not want to combine lemon and almond flavorings though, IMHO. I think they might fight each other a bit. But either would be good alone, or some good vanilla extract.

          1. Thanks for the help! I ended up going with the magnolia recipe, subbing in all cake flour, plus the necessary add-ins, plus lemon to make homemade buttermilk, dashes of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp pure almond extract. It made two dozen and then a verrrry thin layer of a 9x9 pan. Ended up filling half with nutella, half plain and straight up with frosting, and then two mini layer cakes with a red raspberry (all fruit version from TJ's) layer. If anyone's interested in it, it is a solid vanilla cupcake recipe. Definitely a thick, more creamy cupcake rather than one of the lighter, airier ones. Doesn't rise that much, and the batter is fairly thick. I used the 1 cup milk boiled with cornstarch/1 cup sugar/1 cup butter/vanilla icing recipe given in the traditional red velvet cake threads, which served as a nice foil to the rich cupcake. I actually really liked the raspberry flavor, and I liked too using it with very thin (around a centimeter or so) layers- better ratio of vanilla to fruit. I might do that again on purpose instead of just leftover batter and slice it into thin rectangles, topped with whipped cream and fresh berries if I can find a tea party as an excuse...

            1 Reply
            1. re: chocolatstiletto

              Hey chocolatstiletto,

              Just reading about the results is making me envious!

              Congrats on success!!!