It has been birthday season in my life recently. A little bit ago, in the same week, it was my niece and nephew's birthday, this past Saturday was my roommate's birthday and today was my sister's birthday. For regular people, this many birthdays means a whole lot of birthday cake. But for me, it just means tons and tons of cupcakes.
For her birthday, my niece decided to throw a fairy party. In advance, my sister and her created (with the wonders of a little machine very foreign to me that you may know as "the sewing machine") little fairy dolls that looked like each one of her party guests. Upon arrival (decked out in their prettiest dresses and hairdos), each little girl fairy made a wand, complete with ribbons and sparkles and all of that good stuff. For dessert, my sister asked me in advance to make cupcakes. We decided, with my niece as our consultant, that vanilla would be a safe bet. I made the cupcakes the morning of, and brought them over (rather easily, thanks to my handy dandy cupcake carrier, thanks Nayereh!). Together, my niece, sister-in-law and I decorated them making a basic powdered sugar/butter/milk frosting that we dyed purple. To make them extra special I picked up edible flowers from Whole Foods, which were actually just pretty standard flowers, but they made them look so pretty and fairy-like. My sister-in-law brought over the adorable cupcake tree in the photo which I'm totally jealous of because just like cupcakes need their own proper carriers, they need their own towers.
I used Amy Sedaris's vanilla cupcake recipe which I just love. I'm sad to report I think this cupcake recipe has actually gotten a bad rep because of Chockylit's comparison of it to Martha Stewart's vanilla cupcakes. She concedes that they are more delicious, but ultimately goes in favor of Martha's cupcakes if you need them to be pretty and presentable. Let me hereby say (I like to pretend lots of people read this blog and take my opinions very seriously), I (respectfully) disagree with the verdict reached. Not only are Amy's cupcakes more delicious, but mine have come out perfect looking (perfect domes and all!) every time. This is definitely my go-to recipe when I want basic vanilla cupcakes or a vanilla base with which to add on something new and exciting (like lavender!).
from Amy Sedaris
1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
2½ cups flour
1¼ cups milk
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
3. Beat in eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder.
4. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk.
5. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and satiny.
6. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
7. Cool on wire rack for 45 minutes or until at room temperature.