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Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

First, I wanted to thank you all for sharing your pet stories when I posted about our collie/sheltie Tippy and the great demise of the cinnamon buns. It really brightened my weekend and brought on a couple of welcome laughs! Those animals sure are unbelievable!!

Now, the Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes… B’s mom called Monday night and we started to chat about everything and nothing as we usually do, and she started to beat around the bush, as she usually does, about needing me to bake something for her garden club. She is a talented baker but she does not get in the kitchen much nowadays, and she knows I am happy to give her and "her ladies" a hand whenever I can. I usually try to fit the cake, treats, and sweets to the theme of their meeting, but when she pronounced the words "Easter" I admit I drew a blank. I am still warming up to Peeps and Chicks (nothing wrong there just different countries different candies) and really beside liking the colors I don’t think I wanted to make a bunny cake or something like that (nothing wrong there either). I hung up and went outside to consult with my favorite baking associates, the Twins. We sat down on the sidewalk and after a good ten minutes of dreaming out loud about their favorite desserts, I asked them their favorite questions "So, what do you think I should bake?" They both said vanilla cupcakes with yellow frosting and tons of sprinkles.

They got very distracted by the two little girls at the end of the street so I went on baking and told them to come later help me with the sprinkles. I think it was the loudest "Yeah!" I had ever heard!! I don’t know if they were more excited about the little girls or the sprinkles. In my perfect little world I don’t think I want to know!!

While I was getting all the ingredients ready, I remembered that one of my favorite bloggers, Arfi from HomeMades was hosting a Cupcake Spectacular this month. Very timely! For the cupcakes I went with the tried and true Vanilla ones from Magnolia Bakery and Rose Levy Berembaum mousseline buttercream. I could eat both together or separately by the bucket… I went for minis for a couple of reasons: I love treats that fit in the palm of my hand and the ladies at the garden club have an easier time pretending they only ate four two. When the kids arrived for the decorating part they were really happy to empty a couple of bottles of sprinkles on the cupcakes. Their words? "Look it’s raining sprinkles! Cool!"….and I now have multicolored floors!

Vanilla Vanilla Mini Cupcakes:

Makes 4 dozens minis

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line two 24-cup muffin tins with mini cupcake papers.
Combine the flours together and sift them. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix the batter. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full (I use a mini ice cream scoop to do that) Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tip of a knife or skewer inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the buttercream and pipe it on the cupcakes. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

4 sticks butter at room temperature
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar divided
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
food coloring if desired

In the bowl of stand mixer, whip 5 egg whites until they have soft peaks.
In the meantime, combine 1/4 cup water with 3/4 cup sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled.
Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curddle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the vanilla extract and the food coloring if using.

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Mamina March 12, 2008 um 8:13 am

J’adore, ils sont trop jolis et sûrement trop bons.

Rosa's Yummy Yums March 12, 2008 um 8:17 am

They are ever so cute and pretty!



Anonymous March 12, 2008 um 8:22 am

Très, très, très jolis!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy March 12, 2008 um 8:40 am

4 sticks of butter?? Wow! I would love to taste that – the normal buttercream I make is 1 stick to a box of sugar.

Anonymous March 12, 2008 um 9:17 am

ils sont très beaux !

Meeta K. Wolff March 12, 2008 um 9:58 am

… and you think my panna cotta is going to be the downfall of your hips? Your frosting is going to give me a coronary! 😉 I really like these – they look cute and colorful. I think they would be cool for a birthday party – maybe Soeren’s

Babeth March 12, 2008 um 10:11 am

So cute!!

Mari March 12, 2008 um 10:45 am

Your cupcakes have put me right into the Easter/Spring mood! They look so yummy!

Cannelle Et Vanille March 12, 2008 um 11:01 am

These cupcakes are brining the inner child in me. Love them! The photos are so bright and crisp. Well done once again!

Aparna Balasubramanian March 12, 2008 um 11:05 am

These are so sunny looking and beautiful. Love them.

Bridget March 12, 2008 um 11:44 am

Oooo…I’ve never used vanilla bean paste before. Can you tell me more about it? Do you find a big difference between it and vanilla extract?

Your cupcakes look just perfect!

Anonymous March 12, 2008 um 11:49 am

These look adorable AND delicious! I can definitely relate to the "eat by the bucket" sentiment. . .!

Veron March 12, 2008 um 12:04 pm

What super cute cupcakes! I need to try making minis…i’m just afraid to dry them out. I really need to try RLB mousseline buttercream.

Ginny March 12, 2008 um 12:06 pm

Delicious and very springy! You could definitely easily eat four! or more!

Peeps are one of those things that I am still not sure I like so I have to eat the whole box to find out again…to further entertain the twins, place two peeps facing each other into the microwave. Stick toothpicks into the peeps so they are pointed at each other. Microwave for 30 seconds at most…you have peep jousting! It still cracks my mother and I up!

aforkfulofspaghetti March 12, 2008 um 12:09 pm

I’ll have a dozen, please. They’re mini, right? 😉

Finla March 12, 2008 um 12:27 pm

Oh Beautiful cupcakes.
I have bookmarked them , especially the butter cream.

LyB March 12, 2008 um 12:35 pm

Those are the cutest little cupcakes I ever did see, very "Eastery"! 🙂

Unknown March 12, 2008 um 12:56 pm

Yes, do try peeps jousting, its a riot. Other uses for peeps include substituting them for marshmallows in Smores, or sticking them in a hot cup of cocoa!

I would also like to know where you find vanilla bean paste. It sounds like an essential ingredient for the flavor of these.

Patricia Scarpin March 12, 2008 um 12:58 pm

Helen,these are beautiful! I love the colorful sprinkles!

Anonymous March 12, 2008 um 2:21 pm

Looks and sounds delicious!
The buttercream frosting is completely new to me, I don’t have a sugar thermometer though. Looking at the elegant swirls I may be tempted to buy one..

Gretchen Noelle March 12, 2008 um 2:31 pm

Goodness, how adorable! What a lovely presentation of easter treats!

Cheryl March 12, 2008 um 3:08 pm

Just the perfect little cupcakes. It is so nice that you include the neighborhood children in your baking.

taste memory March 12, 2008 um 3:10 pm

oh my ~ these are a must try & so dainty….so pretty & tempting, i can already taste the smidgen of buttercream…..

Anonymous March 12, 2008 um 3:33 pm

These cupcakes are charming! Thanks so much for sharing the recipes and photographs. I love vanilla vanilla, and I can’t wait to try them!


One Fat Chef March 12, 2008 um 3:35 pm

Those cupcakes are so cute. You can’t even tell that they are mini in the photos!

Anonymous March 12, 2008 um 3:53 pm

Your buttercream is similar to my divinity minus all the butter.

I’ve got to try this!!!

It looks great.

Jen Yu March 12, 2008 um 4:02 pm

Those are the most beautiful little cupcakes! I need to learn to pipe as nicely as you do – such skill. Your neighbors are the luckiest little boys in the world. I wish you were MY neighbor!! 🙂 xxoo

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict….You Decide March 12, 2008 um 4:13 pm

Those are very cute……and you can eat MORE because they are smaller hehehehe.

The only way to eat a marshmallow peep is STALE or FROZEN. Never eat a fresh one. Buy them for Easter but eat them on Father’s Day.

Cakespy March 12, 2008 um 4:45 pm

The quintessential and perfect cupcake. Wonderful!!

Patsyk March 12, 2008 um 4:46 pm

Those are simply adorable!

Ryley @ That's My Family! March 12, 2008 um 4:59 pm

These are so cute and look so yummy!!

I totally need to get my hands on some of that vanilla bean paste!!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups March 12, 2008 um 5:04 pm

Helen I do love your twin stories. Wish I had neighbors like that.
I’ve actually found those little cups so at the first opportunity I’ll have to try them.

Deborah March 12, 2008 um 5:53 pm

I have to laugh, because when I bring regular cupcakes into work, people are hesitant to take them, but when I make mini, they feel like they are justified and all of the cupcakes fly off the table!!

These are such cute cupcakes!!

Evelin March 12, 2008 um 6:03 pm

Vanilla is my thing. Bring it ON, Helen!

By the way, are there any houses on sale on your street?;)

Anna March 12, 2008 um 7:25 pm

These look so amazing! I’m dying to try that frosting recipe now but my mum won’t be impressed if I use five egg whites without a plan for the yolks. I’ll keep it in mind… ^__^

Jenny March 12, 2008 um 8:04 pm

I likely will have 4 kids making these in my kitchen this week, so I’m sure you will feel sorry for me and my floor too, right? 🙂

BitterSweet March 12, 2008 um 8:20 pm

They say the cupcake trend is on its way out, but seriously, just seeing your vanilla cupcakes has me convinced that "they" are dead wrong!

Unknown March 12, 2008 um 8:51 pm

Helen, thank you for your entry. They are as so simple as looking gorgeous with sprinkles! Yes, my kids love sprinkles too, they did that for my hubby’s birthday. Love the swirls! Perfect!

Thanks, Helen!

Warda March 12, 2008 um 9:47 pm

Going back to the basics is the best. I can’t tell you enough how I wish I was your neighbor, your mother in law, or even the twins, right now 😉

Anonymous March 12, 2008 um 9:53 pm

adorable! I have 3 vanilla beans in my cupboard I’ve been saving, but they would be fun to subsitute for the paste in this recipe. Do you think that would work well? I definitely want to get my hands on some of that paste, too- I’e heard rave reviews. beautiful pics, as always 🙂

Brilynn March 13, 2008 um 1:11 am

Those just look like fun! Little handfuls of fun.

Jerry March 13, 2008 um 1:33 am

Sprinkles! Sprinkles! And they are yellow!

Cakelaw March 13, 2008 um 1:33 am

Aww, these are so cute!

Peabody March 13, 2008 um 4:37 am

I bet you do have sprinkled covered floors! Very cute.

Stella March 13, 2008 um 1:04 pm

These are sooooooooooo cute!!! I should get hold of some vanilla bean paste quickly!

Susan from Food Blogga March 13, 2008 um 6:18 pm

These are more festive than Easter eggs, plus you don’t have to worry about messy food coloring and shells cracking! 😉

Anonymous March 13, 2008 um 8:19 pm

These are just adorable with those playful colours. They would be a great choice for a baby shower party 🙂

Paula March 13, 2008 um 10:34 pm

These look like spring, and tasty with it.
Just to add my voice to the many, I love your blog. It sits on the bookmarks to be read with my morning coffee.

RecipeGirl March 14, 2008 um 4:52 am

These look like cute little cheerful birthday cupcakes 🙂

Cakebrain March 14, 2008 um 5:11 am

Oh! Those are so cute and evocative of spring!

daphne March 14, 2008 um 6:38 am

Oh my! they are adorable beyond words. Thank goodness they are mini. =)

Anonymous March 14, 2008 um 11:52 am

Oh those are just adorable! I think they would be perfect for an Easter themed get together 🙂 I could probably have 5…you know, since they are mini 😉

Kajal@aapplemint March 14, 2008 um 12:07 pm

oh these look so cute. The fact that they are so small make them even more adorable. The frosting looks perfect.

Anonymous March 14, 2008 um 7:27 pm

Too adorable! These remind me of birthday parties as a kid!

Anonymous March 15, 2008 um 6:16 pm

they look beautiful, love the pale primrose colour, very Easter! Also liked the coffee and chocolate tarts on an earlier post.

kellypea March 16, 2008 um 8:49 am

Absolutely completely darling. I still need to work on SMALL! Jeez. And guess I better keep reading backwards to figure out what happened to those cinnamon rolls…

Dharm March 16, 2008 um 1:13 pm

Those cupcakes look so pretty. C’est Magnifique! No, I dont speak French, just trying to show off a little 🙂

Emily March 16, 2008 um 7:18 pm

You’ve got some serious skills! Look at that piping. So perfect! I wish I need how to decorate cakes.
These sound really good. I was assigned to make two kinds of cupcakes for my sister’s wedding shower, so I might have to make these.

I’m sorry you couldn’t participate in the Pub Crawl, but that’s ok. I’m not going to push it on to people and try to force them to. YOU MUST PARTICIPATE! Ha ha. I’ve actually had people do that to me in the past.

skoraq cooks March 16, 2008 um 10:33 pm

Those cupcakes are so very cute. Simply adorable

Anonymous July 1, 2008 um 4:24 pm

how do we use the other 1/4 cup of sugar in the frosting? I already made these once and just added the rest of the sugar while beating the buttercream, it got grainy at first of course, but hte grains melted afterwards…

Anonymous May 14, 2010 um 1:55 am

a stick of butter = how much in ounce or gram weight? i work in restaurants so usually my stick of butter is a pound even. i think store bought for home use butter comes in a pound but packages into 4 smaller sticks? i'm hoping by 4 sticks you mean one pound even.

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