These sweet vanilla cupcakes, covered with candy-coloured vanilla frosting and sprinkles, never fail to please. When you make these be careful not to overbake them. They should be light golden and spring back when touched. This ensures an airy, moist cake with a subtle vanilla taste. Whip a few batches up for a soirée, bridal shower, or a kids' birthday party.
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp whole milk
A couple of drops of pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
Scant 3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Nonpareils or other edible sprinkles, to decorate
A 12-hole cupcake pan, lined with paper cases
Step 1: Beat the confectioners' sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed.
Step 2: Combine the milk and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tsp at a time.
Step 3: Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325°F.
Step 2: Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electic whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
Step 3: Whisk the egg, vanilla, and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the batter is smooth. Do not overmix.
Step 4: Spoon the batter into the paper cases until 2/3 full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the cake bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 5: When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Vanilla Frosting on top and decorate with nonpareils.
Reprinted with permission from Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers' The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (2009 Ryland Peters & Small).