The Best Birthday Cupcakes

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I truly love trying new recipes, but sometimes tried and true is best. I have made these cupcakes for YEARS to celebrate my kids’ birthdays at school or for parties. This recipe from Food and Wine has served me well- the cake is moist and tasty and the frosting is perfect. The first time I tried these recipes, I made chocolate Elmo cupcakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. (The chocolate cupcakes are especially delicious!) This year they were golden (vanilla) cupcakes transformed into pink & purple peace signs! :) How times change….

Golden Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • frosting (recipe below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar with the eggs and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until smooth and thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and oil and beat until incorporated, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and milk in 3 alternating batches, beating well between additions. Carefully pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, I use 1.5 to 2 cookie scoops each, filling them about two-thirds full.
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for 15 (on convection) to 23 minutes, until springy and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the muffin tin, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost and top the cupcakes as desired.
Note: The unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

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Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • frosting (recipe below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the vegetable oil and water over low heat.
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter mixture and beat with a handheld mixer at low speed until smooth. Add the egg and beat until incorporated, then add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about three-fourths full. (I use a cookie scoop.)
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Frost and top the cupcakes as desired.
Note: The unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

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White Buttercream Frosting

Yield: Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes (When I pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, I often make 1 1/2 times the recipe.)

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  • food coloring to tint, if desired
  1. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the softened butter at medium speed until smooth.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat the mixture at low speed just until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth.
  3. Add the milk or heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes and top as desired.
Note: The white buttercream frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight plastic container for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before using.

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Also! It isn’t a birthday in our house without “number cookies” (& peace sign cookies! :)) Our fun tradition. :)

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About thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.

9 responses to “The Best Birthday Cupcakes

  1. Gorgeous Cookies and Cupcakes. Happy Birthday to your daughter.

  2. How wonderful:). I agree with you on “how times change” :). By the way loved the cupcakes and cookies.. Lots of hard work there. Wish your daughter a very happy birthday:)
    Hugs

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