Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Homemade White Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting and Fresh Strawberries

To celebrate my son’s 2nd birthday, I baked him a special batch of homemade cupcakes…yummy!

This recipe was adapted from my current favorite baking book: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. Every recipe in this cookbook is a superstar (maybe I shouldn't have said that...now everyone knows my secret!). :)

I decided to half the Classic White Cupcakes recipe to make only 12 cupcakes instead of 24 and they still turned out amazing.
Happy 2nd Birthday!!!

Classic White Cupcakes 
Recipe Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Yields 12 Cupcakes

½ cup whole milk, room temperature
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups (4.5 ounces) cake flour
7/8 cup (6 1/8 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
1 ½ cups frosting or buttercream

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, egg whites, and extracts together.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter, one piece at a time, into the flour mixture (about 30 seconds). Continue to beat the mixture until it resembles moist crumbs (1 to 3 minutes).

4. Beat in all but ¼ cup of the milk mixture, then increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, light, and fluffy (1 to 3 minutes). Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly beat in the remaining ½ cup of the milk mixture until the batter looks slightly curdled (about 15 seconds).

5. With a rubber spatula, give the batter a final stir making sure it’s thoroughly combined.

6. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. Portion the batter evenly into the cups (I like to use an ice cream scoop to make this step quick and easy). Smooth the tops if needed, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter.

7. Bake the cupcakes in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with a few crumbs attached.

8. Let the cupcakes cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to completely cool.  Then frost with your favorite frosting or buttercream and serve.

I topped the cupcakes with homemade Vanilla Bean Buttercream frosting and decorated with thinly sliced strawberries fanned around each cupcake. I used my mom’s Buttercream frosting recipe, but added vanilla beans to make it extra special.

Adding strawberries on top is a little trick that not only looks pretty, but allows me to avoid gobbing huge amounts of frosting on top of each cupcake. That can happen when I try to be fancy by swirling frosting on top using a piping bag with a decorative tip. Replacing some of the frosting with fresh fruit for my 2 year old is definitely a healthier update that’s still beautiful and most importantly tasty.

I know box mixes are real time savers and typically turn out flawlessly. I’m trying to cook and bake a lot more from scratch so I can select high quality ingredients for my family and cut out added preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. I’m always trying to balance my desire for healthy eating with making sure everything is super tasty too.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if my homemade cupcakes would turn out as good as a boxed mix, but everyone absolutely loved them. They’re super moist with a light and fluffy texture and deliciously flavored with a kiss of vanilla and almond extracts.

We kept my son’s birthday simple this year with a trip to the zoo and homemade cupcakes. We’re going to have a bigger celebration later in the month at a family Halloween Party where we’ll make a large birthday cake to share with everyone. Stay posted for our Halloween Party recipes and décor as well as pictures of our big Two-Two Train Birthday Cake!

Here are a few of my favorite cupcake pictures:
Starting slow with just a little taste...
Approved!  Perhaps I'll try a Bigger Sample...
So Tasty...Shoveling it in.
Mmm...Finger Licking Good!
Another BIG Bite...Yummy!
Do you think anyone will notice if I smear a little back here for later?
More Please!

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.


  1. Looks great and he's having a ball!

    I'd love for you to stop by What's Cooking Wednesday today (and each week) to share a great recipe! Hope to see you there :)


  2. Hi Cristi - Thanks for stopping by! I will definitely check out What's Cooking Wednesday...sounds fun! :)