American Flag Cupcakes

Flag CupcakesCupcakes #2 for our 4th of July cookout came from this beautiful Pinterest inspiration. I absolutely loved the rose swirls cupcakes layout as a flag. This one truly was only a design inspiration so I decided to use my favorite  chocolate cupcake recipe with the Very Vanilla frosting that I was already making for the other cupcakes.

These were relatively straight forward, especially since they were not new recipes. The chocolate went together wonderfully with the vanilla bean frosting and they looked absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, the day was very hot & humid and so my frosting did melt a little while transporting them. Overall, they were a hit though. Happy 4th of July!

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
  • 3/4 cups (175 ml) room temperature water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
For the 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 the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Line 2 muffin pans with 15-18 paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
  4. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk until blended.
  5. Add the water in 1/4 cup at a time and whisk until combined.
  6. Whisk in vinegar and vanilla to blend.
  7. Add the egg and whisk until combined.
  8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are well combined.
  9. Divide the batter equally among the cupcake liners.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out almost clean (it’s ok if a few crumbs stick to it, but should not look shiny).
  11. Cool completely on wire racks.
  12. 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). Divide the frosting and color with the food coloring. Frost cooled cupcakes.
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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.

 

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.

Snow Day Cupcakes

At first I wasn’t exactly sure what recipe to try for my first cupcake blog but then, here in southeastern Virginia, we had a major (for us) snowfall and a subsequent snow day! This provided me the perfect idea and a generous amount of time for baking. I got the idea from Pinterest, but when I followed the link I couldn’t find any recipe, just the decorating idea. That was okay though because I have this little cupcake recipe book that had basic cupcake and buttercream frosting recipes that I decided try.

So this week’s cupcake is a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. I made the little snowflake toppers by melting and piping the shapes with Wilton’s Candy Melts. I did this by hand but it would have been much easier and the snowflakes would’ve turned out better if I had a snowflake mold. To color the frosting, I used Wilton’s Icing Colors in teal. The most adventurous part of this week’s recipe is that fact that the cupcakes were completely from scratch, not from a box at all. I was a little nervous but they actually had a nice texture & flavor. It was a very basic recipe so it wasn’t an extremely moist cake, but the frosting’s creaminess made up for that.

Overall, they were good little cupcakes. I will definitely keep this recipe around and try out some of the other variations!

Basic Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • generous 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • generous 3/4 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.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • scant 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Directions:

  1. Place the butter and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until very soft and pale.
  2. Gradually sift in the confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition. The more you beat at this stage, the lighter and fluffier the frosting will be. Beat in the milk to produce a softer consistency for piping.