My sister decided to throw a surprise party for her boyfriend, Daniel. To Becca and I this was just another excuse to make cupcakes. Three dozen in fact. My sister insisted on chocolate and vanilla, but for kicks we had to throw a third, more adventurous kind in there.
For the chocolate cupcakes, we used the tried and true Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes because we were just so in love with them.
We decided to try a new vanilla cupcake recipe. This time from the Joy of Baking. What drew me to this recipe was the fact that it made 12 cupcakes, precisely the number we needed. As well as the cute history of cupcakes proceeding the recipe.
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 large lemon (optional, we didn`t, but more because we hadn`t a lemon in the house)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a handmixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.
Lastly, Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. They are Daniel`s favourite kind of cookies, after all. This recipe was from Martha Stewart`s wonderful, wonderful Cupcakes book.
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups cake flour (we just used the same amount of regular flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon plus ½ teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 ¾ cups sugar plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups milk
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating milk, and beating after each.
3. Divide batter evenly, filling three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool in muffin tins.
4. To finish, combine remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Dust icing with cinnamon sugar.
Fluffy Vanilla Frosting was used for all of the cupcakes. Thank goodness, for Martha.
Ingredients (makes about four cups):
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (we used about triple this, actually, but we love our vanilla)
1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. (We did this for exactly two minutes and the result was heaven! So light! So fluffy! Perfection!)
2. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds, then return to medium. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla, beat until frosting is smooth.
For decorating, we divided our icing into thirds. One we kept white for the snicker doodle cups, one we dyed red for the chocolate cupcakes, and the other we dyed black for our vanilla cupcakes. The colours were that of the Calgary Flames, Daniel’s favourite team. We then spelled out words with Reese’s Peanut Butter candies and Skittles. Note to all those out there, if you are planning on doing this, remember that light colours of candy will absorb the dye. If you’re icing and eating them the same day, you should be fine, if not consider icing them the same day you’ll be eating them.
Many happy surprise parties to come!