2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (can use 1-1/4 cup for a less sweeter taste ,or can use 3/4 cup Splenda)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (very soft but not melted, Crisco is best)
3/4 cup milk (or half and half cream)
1 tablespoon vanilla (or use 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract)
2 large eggs
1.Set oven to 350 degrees F.
2.In a large bowl, mix together the flour with sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.
3.Add in the shortening cream or milk, vanilla and eggs; beat on medium speed of an electric mixer scraping the bowl constantly until just blended (the batter will be thick, if desired you may add in a few more tablespoons cream or milk).
4.Pour into paper-lined regular size muffin tins filling under just three-quarters full.
5.Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cupcakes test done (do not overbake as they will be dry).
6.Immediately remove from pans.
7.Cool completely before frosting.
8.*Note* if desired 1-1/2 tsp almond extract may be used instead of vanilla, for a almond flavor.