My mother invented these light as air vanilla cupcake-like muffins that were such a hit with all of her thirteen grandchildren that I now make sure to make them for my own grandchildren when they visit me.
I often take them to church events, and whenever I do, everyone comments on their buttery, moist goodness. (I know I sound saintly taking things to church, but remember I can’t wait to eat these muffins either.) There is no substitute for cake made with real butter and real vanilla, so get out your mixer, soften your butter, and get ready to make a memorable treat.
Mom insisted that the batter be beaten a certain length of time, so I set my timer and I beat the batter for exactly the time required. However, she never mentioned the 2 tbsps of Crisco that she added with the butter and until I discovered her adding it, my muffins never were as short and fluffy as hers. Once I added the Crisco to the butter, I had the same gorgeous result. So that’s the real secret folks. Yes, beat the batter 2 minutes, but don’t forget the Crisco.
1 stick butter, softened plus 1 to 2 tbsps Crisco shortening
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large mixing bowl,place the softened butter and the crisco. Using an electric mixer on medium, cream the butter and Crisco until soft and creamy. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat until the batter is light and fluffy. This could take 10-15 minutes.
Beat in the eggs one at a time. After eggs are added, then beat the batter for 2 minutes. Switching to low, beat in the flour and milk in alternate additions. Beat in the vanilla and the zest of the lemon.
Pour the batter into greased and floured muffin tins. (Ours make 8 muffins to a tin). I would not use cupcake liners because they make the muffins seem drier. I don’t know why. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until tops spring back when you touch them.
Let pans with muffins still inside cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Then remove muffins and place them on a cooling rack. when they are cool, sprinkle the muffins heavily with confectioners’ sugar. Makes 16 muffins.