When most people are asked to say the first word that comes to mind when they hear the word birthday, many will respond with cake. Tastes have changed somewhat overtime and lately it seems that cupcakes seem to be the new birthday cake, people immensely enjoy these birthday treats.
When hosting a birthday party, a nice vanilla cupcake and frosting is a simple choice that is likely to appeal to a broad audience. When you serve homemade cupcakes with homemade frosting it shows that extra thought and care have gone into these celebratory confection covered cakes. Here’s one recipe that’s sure to please:
Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes approximately 30 cupcakes.
• ¾ cup butter
• 3 eggs (large)
• 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
• 1 ¾ cups sugar
• ½ tsp. salt
• 3 teaspoons vanilla (or more to personal taste)
• 1 ¼ cups milk
• 2 /12 tsps. baking powder
- Make sure the eggs and butter are at room temperature. Grease and flour two cupcake pans. You can alternately use cupcake wrappers or foils if you prefer.
- Mix the salt, baking powder and flour together.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is preheating, beat butter with an electric mixer for around 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until thoroughly mixed. Continue to beat while adding the eggs. Beat well and add vanilla.
- Add part of the flour mix, then part of the milk while beating on low. Make sure the flour and milk have combined thoroughly and repeat this process until all flour and milk is added.
- Pour the batter into the pans making sure to level each cup. Leave a little room at the top for the batter to rise and expand.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. When the tops are golden brown, poke a wooden toothpick into the cupcake. When the pick comes out with no batter residue, they are cooked through.
Homemade Vanilla Frosting
• ¾ cup butter – softened
• 2 pounds or approximately 8 cups powdered sugar
• 1/3 cup milk
• 2 tsps. Vanilla
- Beat butter until smooth with an electric mixer
- Slowly mix in powdered sugar until mixture is smooth
- Once smoothed, beat in 1/3 cup milk and vanilla. Add in the rest of the milk and sugar.
- Frost the cupcakes
Some tips to ensure these cupcakes are a hit:
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. This is the most common mistake when frosting cakes of any size. Trying to frost a cake before it’s cooled properly can result in tearing and peeling of the top layer. It can also melt your frosting. It’s not pretty.
- Some recipes will call for salt in the frosting. Take it with a grain of… Well, go lightly. Sometimes salt can be excluded altogether.
- During baking, make sure to check how done the cupcakes are frequently as they get closer to done. Be careful not to overcook. Be careful not to undercook. It’s a delicate balance for perfect consistency.
- Use a high quality vanilla extract. Some of the more inexpensive brands are bitter. Imitation extract just doesn’t taste as good.
Decorating the Cupcakes
Personalizing these cupcakes is as simple as decorating with small touches that reflect the personality of the person whose birthday is being celebrated.
Adding a single chocolate covered coffee bean for the java lover, or a decorated wafer cookie with the person’s age can add some flair. If it’s a spring event try adding confectionary flower decorations. For a fall birthday adding some candy corns will provide color and keep with a theme.
A little imagination and knowing the hobbies of the guest of honor will help when creating small touches that go a long way toward making a great birthday cupcake.