4th of July Cupcakes

4th of July CupcakesThis 4th of July, my family was invited to a cookout by one of my husband’s work friends. This worked out quite nicely because we had no real plans for the holiday. It also afforded me the opportunity to bake some beautiful and delicious 4th of July cupcakes to bring to the cookout. I had seen so many cute decorating ideas online and decided that this Pinterest find would be one of the cupcakes I would make. I loved the idea of having a fun red, white, & blue sprinkle surprise as you bit into the cupcake.

Since there was no real recipe with the idea, I decided to use one of my favorites, the Very Vanilla Cupcake & frosting. I knew that the cake would be substantial enough to hold together even with the sprinkles in the middle. To get the sprinkles in the cupcakes, after they cool, scoop out a little bit of cake from the top (I used a small melon baller) and fill the hole with sprinkles. After that, top with the frosting to hold everything in.

With these cupcakes, I also tried a new frosting decorating technique that I see frequently but found on Pinterest (of course). I wanted to swirl the red, white, & blue frosting colors together. To do this, I first put the individual frostings in small disposable piping bags. I then put each bag in my large piping bag fitted with a tip. Now, in a perfect world they all would’ve squeezed out nice & evenly creating a beautiful, multicolored swirl. Unfortunately, this took a bit more finesse than that. I had to adjust the bags quite a bit to get them placed properly. I’m pretty sure that my arm up to my elbow was covered in frosting multiple times. Overall, it worked out okay though. I will just need to practice this technique a little more.

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes:
  • 1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or plain; or regular yogurt; or even sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or cow’s milk; or soy milk; or plain almond milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
  • red, white, & blue sprinkes
Vanilla Bean Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4-5 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
  • salt, to taste
  • red & blue food coloring

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Stir in sugar – mixture will be gritty. Stir in egg whites, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Split 1 vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise. Scrape seeds from half of the vanilla bean into batter. Reserve other half.
  3. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick.
  4. Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners (or 24 mini) and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake for 8-9 minutes if making mini cupcakes. Allow to cool.
  5. To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (1/4 teaspoon).
  6. Divide frosting and add food coloring.
  7. Cool cupcakes, then scoop out a small amount from the top and fill with sprinkles.
  8. Frost cupcakes (I used Wilton 1M piping tip). There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.
  9. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 7.

 

Advertisements

Watermelon Cupcakes

Aidan's Cupcakes Watermellon Cupcake

For each of my children’s birthdays, I have then tell me what kind of cake they want me to make for them. This year I highly encouraged cupcakes. I had my youngest look through my Pinterest boards to find something that he might like. This year he chose this recipe, or to be more accurate, this kind of cupcake. He thought the idea of having a cupcake that looked like a watermelon would be great fun.

In reality, all the cupcake is is a chocolate chip cupcake, colored to look like a watermelon (at least in our case). The site suggested using a cake mix, but I decided to use the Very Vanilla recipe that I so loved from before. The addition of the mini chocolate chips only added to the cupcakes delicious flavor. Have fun with this one, I know we did 🙂

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Make Very Vanilla cake mix as directed. Add food coloring to make a pink watermelon color. I used red food coloring with a small amount of yellow.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared cupcake tins about 1/2 to 2/3 full.
  4. Bake per cake instructions. Allow to cool completely using the Vanilla Bean Buttercream. Add green food coloring to the frosting.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

Graduation CupcakesThis Pinterest find has become my very favorite cupcake! It is simply delicious. I can’t say that it will always be my quick go-to though, because those vanilla beans are expensive! If I need a nice, vanilla cupcake though, this recipe will be it. In the picture, they are the white cupcakes at the upper left corner (the picture is from a graduation party).

For me, the cakes have a very nice texture and flavor, and the frosting is a creamy variation on the traditional buttercream. This will not be the last time you hear about this recipe from me!

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes:
  • 1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or plain; or regular yogurt; or even sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or cow’s milk; or soy milk; or plain almond milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
Vanilla Bean Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4-5 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Stir in sugar – mixture will be gritty. Stir in egg whites, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Split 1 vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise. Scrape seeds from half of the vanilla bean into batter. Reserve other half.
  3. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick.
  4. Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners (or 24 mini) and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake for 8-9 minutes if making mini cupcakes. Allow to cool.
  5. To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (1/4 teaspoon). Frost cooled cupcakes (I used Wilton 1M piping tip). There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.
  6. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 7.

Super Bowl Cupcakes

Well, today is really just a bonus cupcake recipe. It isn’t anything special, I just wanted to try out this cute frosting color scheme that I saw on Pinterest. It was a post from McCormick that showed how many drops of their food coloring was needed to make frosting that matched each NFL team’s colors. I thought this was perfect for the Super Bowl and the little “party” we were having. The cupcakes are the same basic recipe I’ve been using but this time I kept it basic vanilla. The frosting isn’t anything special though because the McCormick color guide called for white canned frosting. My husband is pulling for the Seattle Seahawks to win so of course I made my frosting green & blue. My only regret is that I wish I would’ve thought to swirl the colors together; I think they would have turned out so much better if I had done that. It was still fun playing with the colors though.

The exciting part of this post is the fact that my new mixer came today! It’s beautiful! I have never had a stand mixer before and I am so in love with it! I cannot wait to make cupcakes next week so that I can use it for the first time. This mixer is going to make my baking experience that much better!

Basic Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • generous 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 tbsp milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Put 12 paper liners in a shallow muffin pan.
  2. Put the butter and sugar into a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, beat together until the batter is pale, light, and fluffy.
  3. Gradually beat in the eggs. Add about 1 tablespoonful at a time and beat thoroughly after each addition.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract. Using a large metal strainer or a sifter, sift the flour into the bowl.
  5. Using a metal spoon, gently fold the flour into the batter until thoroughly incorporated.
  6. Add the milk and fold gently into the batter.
  7. The cupcake batter should have a smooth consistency and drop easily from the spoon if tapped on the side of the bowl.
  8. Carefully spoon the batter into the paper liners, being careful not to overfill them.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes are risen, golden, and just firm to the touch.
  10. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely.