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Testing for the Best Vanilla and Best Chocolate Cupcakes

The Testing Process for Vanilla Cupcakes

Best Vanilla Cupcake

I developed my vanilla cupcake recipe with the Cupcake Project Explorers (my team of 50 test bakers that helped perfect my vanilla cupcakes by baking three rounds of cupcakes and providing feedback).

The team consisted of professional bakers and beginners because I wanted to make sure that these cupcakes would be perfect for beginner bakers and pros alike.

You should know that the Explorers did not go easy on me.

I was sure that the first recipe I sent them would be the ultimate. It only got a 29% approval rating – ouch!

I went back to the mixing bowl and came up with a second recipe for the Explorers to try. “Surely, this will be the one,” I thought.

The round two recipe fared only a bit better, with a 36% approval rating.

I learned that, for the most part, the Explorers wanted the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake to be light and fluffy with an intense vanilla flavor. They didn’t want the Ultimate Yellow Cupcake recipe; rather they wanted the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake recipe.

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes
The recipe that I created for round 3 (the one that you read the quote about above) took all of the Explorers’ feedback into play. I created vanilla cupcakes where the cake was moist and light with an unmistakable vanilla flavor.

They got an approval of 66%.

If you had been following the quest for the ultimate vanilla cupcakes through my blog posts and status updates on Facebook, you’d know that my goal was for my best cupcake recipe for vanilla cupcakes to receive 80%. However, I’ve concluded that with bakers using different brands of raw ingredients, different ovens, different tools for mixing, and living in places with different humidity and altitude, 80% was an unattainable goal.

Best Vanilla Cupcake GraphicFinding a cupcake recipe that 2 out of 3 people agreed was not only good but actually the best cupcake recipe for vanilla cupcakes was an amazing achievement. After weeks of debate, I decided to declare the round 3 cupcake recipe the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake!

Here’s what some of the other Explorers had to say about the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake Recipe:

  • I can officially say that this will be the last round I will participate in for the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake recipe because I love it so much. I would bake these over and over and recommend it to anyone and everyone I know. This will be a recipe that I can add to my “when I’m having a bad day, I bake” list because baking a favourite recipe always makes my day better and puts me in a great mood.
  • I loved this cupcake! I have used this recipe 4 times in the last two weeks. And 3 of those batches were orders other people placed for the cupcakes! This is the Ultimate Vanilla!!
  • I really don’t see how you can improve on this one. I have really had a good time with this. I used to be a boxed-mix-girl. This has changed me for life!!!!
  • My future grandchildren will thank you for making me a best-baking-granny.
  • I’ve been looking for my ‘go to’ vanilla cupcake and I think this is it!
  • I loved this recipe – the taste was heavenly.
  • It was an easy recipe to follow and the cupcakes came out perfectly.
  • Is there any way to give it an 11 out of 10?!

As a special thanks for being Cupcake Project Explorers, I’ve promised the team that I would share any blog posts they write about this recipe and the Explorer process.

I know that even though the Explorers and I thought this was the best cupcake recipe, some of you will not like these cupcakes. If we all liked the exact same things, the world would be a boring place. But, I encourage you to give this vanilla cupcake recipe a shot.

You’ve got a two out of three chance of finding your new best cupcake recipe for vanilla cupcakes!

The Testing Process For Chocolate Cupcakes

The Testing Process for Chocolate Cupcakes

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake

WINNER WINNER WINNER! Search no more, you have created the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake! These were hands-down the BEST chocolate cupcakes I have ever tasted, let alone baked myself. I am a sucker for cupcake bakeries and I honestly don’t believe any of the cupcakes I have paid $5 a piece for come even close to these.

That was a quote from Amy Hendricks, one of the Chocolate Cupcake Recipe Cupcake Project Explorers.

I developed this recipe with the Cupcake Project Explorers (my team of 50 test bakers that helped perfect my vanilla cupcakes by baking three rounds of cupcakes and providing feedback). The team consisted of professional bakers and beginners because I wanted to make sure that these cupcakes would be perfect for beginner bakers and pros alike. The Explorers helped perfect the chocolate cupcake recipe by baking seven rounds of cupcakes and providing detailed feedback.

You should know that the Explorers did not go easy on me.

When I sent them the first recipe, I was sure that it would be the best. It only got a 25% approval rating – ouch! I went back to the mixing bowl and came up with a second recipe for the Explorers to try.

“Surely, this will be the one,” I thought. It took 7 rounds of Explorer testing and a total of 69 different recipes baked by me before we found the best one.

I learned that, for the most part, the Explorers wanted the best chocolate cupcake to be moist, light and fluffy (not brownie-like), and with an intense chocolate flavor. It was a hard balance to find.

As I made the cupcakes lighter, they tended to become less chocolatey; packing in cocoa powder made the cupcakes too heavy. It took almost a year of experimentation to nail down the perfect combination of ingredients.

Then, there was the question of the chocolate itself. Some Explorers preferred milk chocolate, while others liked deep, dark chocolate, and the rest liked everything in between.

chocolate
How could I please everyone? I almost gave up – more than once.

The recipe that I created for round 7 (the one that you read the quote about above) took all of the Explorers’ feedback into play. I created this version where the cake was moist and light with an unmistakable chocolate flavor.

They got an approval of 63%. If that sounds low, consider that more than half of all tasters not only thought that the chocolate cupcake recipe was good, but also thought that it was the best chocolate cupcake recipe they have ever tasted.

It’s a number that I’m extremely proud of.

Reviews

Here’s what some of the Explorers had to say about the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake recipe:

  • Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate is the only way to describe the taste in my mouth. Sweetness is perfect. Cake is not dry. Cake practically melts in my mouth. It’s impossible to take one bite of cake. After one taste, my mouth wants more. Delicious. The ultimate chocolate cupcake.
  • What can I say? Perfect!
  • I have participated in all seven rounds of the cupcake experiment, and I will even admit I have labeled past trials as “perfect” and as The Ultimate; however, THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE ONE. If others don’t agree, so be it, but this is the one for me. I will more than likely not continue the process because I simply can not imagine a chocolate cupcake that tops this version. Everything about it was, for lack of a better word, PERFECT!
  • I remember really tasting chocolate on my first bite and not having to search for it like you do on many standard chocolate cakes.
  • Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! The best ever!
  • I am usually the one who likes the frosting the best. I was pleasantly surprised on the taste of the cupcake. It had a nice chocolate taste and was not overpowering. The flavor was so good it didn’t really even need any frosting.
  • I’ve had way too many brown-colored cakes that taste faintly of dust. But this cupcake tastes chocolatey without overdoing it.
  • I felt like the bite I took just melted in my mouth. One person said she preferred the cupcake without icing because it was that good. I would definitely make this one of my “go to” recipes.
  • These babies, in my opinion, are the honest-to-goodness ultimate chocolate cupcake!
  • I can sleep soundly at night with these as the Ultimate Chocolate Cupcake! The texture, appearance and taste were all just right – a perfect combination.
  • Though I have loved the past several rounds, each time I do agree that they get even better – which I didn’t think was possible!
  • Lovely. Just lovely.
  • Whoop! I think we really found it this time! Perfect in every way!! :)
  • Absolutely the best!
  • The immediate reactions both from myself and my taste testers make me feel that this chocolate cupcake is a winner! Good chocolate taste, excellent texture had us all making yummy noises!
  • Even my friends who aren’t big dessert people asked for a second cupcake. I can’t imagine a better recipe!
  • It is by far the best made-from-scratch chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had.
  • Perfect in all aspects of a cupcake!
  • Easy to bake, easy to eat!

As a special thanks for being Cupcake Project Explorers, I’ve promised the team that I would share any blog posts they write about this recipe and the Explorer process. As their posts come in, I will add links to them right here.

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