Friday, November 16, 2012

Notes from the Field: The Classic Birthday Cupcake

It's no surprise that I love me a good birthday celebration.

I'm all about the birthday signs, the party hats and the crazy nights out. But I reserve a special kind of celebration for my nearest and dearest people. 

It seems like the older I get, the more I value my truest friends. And if the past weeks of chaos in the northeast have taught us anything, it's that these kinds of connections are to be held very dear. 

I'm talking about the kind of friends that don't play games. They are honest, true and direct. They are without expectations and are full of respect. When you meet people like this, you know that you're kindred spirits. Whether introduced by fate, friends or virtual connection. The ones that know your secrets, your passions and your values just by being in your life. And so, these are the people that you look forward to celebrating most.

I think vanilla bean cupcakes with double vanilla buttercream and rainbow sprinkles do it best.

Now, it's not typical that I share my recipes, but I do believe that every baker should have a good classic birthday cake recipe on hand for celebrations such as these. So after the jump, you can find mine.

And so, happy, happy birthday to my sweet and true friend, Silvie. Here's wishing you a new year filled with happiness, love, fortune, wild adventures and much much more. 

Vanilla Cupcakes
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
1 ½  cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp of pure vanilla PLUS scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
½ tsp of salt
2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
2 ½ cups of flour
1 ¼ cups of milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and fill a cupcake pan with baking cups.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla and vanilla bean.
4. Add in baking powder and salt.
5. Mix in the flour and milk in three parts, alternating, and ending with flour.
6.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back to touch. Remove from tray and let cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream
2 sticks butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup milk 
4-6 cups confectioner's (icing) sugar

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla.
2. Add 1 cup confectioner’s sugar and mix until combined. Mix in ¼ cup milk.
3. Mix in remaining cups of confectioner’s sugar, and additional tablespoons of milk depending on consistency and preference.
4. Frost cupcakes and decorate as desire.

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