Well, it's official.
I love cupcakes.
(Was there ever any question about that?)
I also love to celebrate.
(Again, not much of a question here.)
But today these cupcakes are celebrating something else entirely.
These cupcakes are celebrating a 1st birthday!
Happy birthday, Blackboard Kitchen!
We made it a whole year without me dropping you on your head or forgetting you in a grocery store.
I'm so proud of us.
Here, have a cupcake.
On a side note that has nothing to do with celebrating or BK's birthday: how cute are these cupcake wrappers? My friend and colleague John recently visited Norway. He brought me and Courtenay (another fabulous friend and colleague!) back cupcake wrappers! So sweet. Thank you John! He is an amazing baker and cupcake-maker, so I hope that he'll approve of these little cakes.
I decided to make these beauties for one reason (other than the celebration at hand, obviously): I had everything that I needed on hand. How often does that happen? It was like a sign from the cupcake gods that these were meant to be.
I hope these cupcakes are meant to be for you, too.
I have a good feeling about this.
Celebration Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes
adapted from Joy the Baker
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs (use extra large eggs if you are high altitude!)
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (see how to scrape out your vanilla bean seeds here)
2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer (or a stand mixer if you’re lucky enough to have one!) to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This may take 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. It is okay if the batter looks a bit curdled here.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and the vanilla milk mixture in three batches, starting and ending with the flour. When the batter is almost combined, stop the mixer and finish mixing the batter with a spatula, making sure that any flour bits at the bottom of the bowl are well incorporated.
Divide batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the center cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Place on wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Celebration Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
½ cup heavy cream
Cream together butter, cocoa powder and salt. Butter mixture will be very thick. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar. Turn mixer on low and mix in powdered sugar while adding milk and vanilla extract. As the sugar incorporates, raise the speed of the mixer to beat the frosting. Beat until smooth. Turn mixer speed to medium and pour cream into frosting in a slow, steady stream, until you’ve reached your desired consistency. You may not need the full amount of cream.
Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. If you don’t have a piping bag (I don’t), you can just use a large Ziploc! Simply fill bag with frosting, cut off the very tip of the bag, and squeeze the frosting out onto the cupcakes.
Add sprinkles, with gusto.
Eat, with more gusto.
Deliver to your neighbors because you made too many cupcakes and you are terrified of what will happen if you are left alone with all 24 of the cupcakes.
Bribe your favorite housemate to help out with the dishes.
You did make him cupcakes after all.
Happy birthday, Blackboard Kitchen! Here's hoping you grow up to be a bit more helpful in the kitchen.
Mama needs a break.