As I was planning my child’s first birthday I vowed to myself to keeps things simple. I promised myself that I would not stress out over a birthday party that would only be remembered by her father and me. I swore I wouldn’t even consider creating a Pinterest board or homemade treats… well all of that was thrown out the window as the day approached and I realized just how much this celebration meant to us as parents, as well as grandparents and friends who were there for us this past year. The whole “it takes a village” thing is so unbelievably true. It takes a village to raise a child and keep her parents sane. Well, needless to say I did create a (secret;) Pinterest board and did in fact make some treats…from SCRATCH!
Something I really wasn’t intending to do was bake a cake from scratch. Honestly, homemade made cakes to me are from a little red box with a spoon on the logo. I feel like boxed cake mixes can be tough on their own and for special occasions I will throw together a homemade frosting. Well after looking at several recipes online I realized that baking a cake from scratch really wasn’t that intimidating and if all else failed… I had a vanilla bean cake mix hidden away in the pantry that could always be my stand in birthday centerpiece.
Just putting this out there, I got several compliments on these delicious little morsels and the only two that were left were the two connected to the name sign. I opted for cupcakes because tiny human = tiny bites and I’m really not one to waste an entire cake on a baby smashing it when more of that cake can be eaten by others. (: I hope you all make these cupcakes and eat your weight in them (it is Easter season after all, time to celebrate!). They are seriously that good.
Recipe: Mexican Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe inspired by the Vanilla Cupcake Recipe from http://www.littlehouseliving.com/vanilla-cupcakes.html
Ingredients (makes about 30 cupcakes):
- 4 c. cake flour (I used Swan’s Down Cake Flour)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 c. softened butter
- 1.5 c. white sugar
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 c. whole milk
- 2 tsp Mexican Vanilla Extract (I honestly probably put in more like 3-4…)
Cream your butter and sugar together in stand mixer until well combined. I find that not completely melting my butter – but softening it helps. I used to think soften = melted. I actually prefer leaving it out to become room temperature and then creaming in a tbsp of butter at a time. Add in vanilla and milk until well combined. Then add in each egg one at a time until well combined. In a small, separate bowl sift together flour, kosher salt, and baking powder. After you have combined those three ingredients add flour mixture to your wet ingredients by the 1/2 c until you have created a thick cake batter with little to no lumps. I turned my stand mixer on high for about 30 seconds to “whip” the batter and make it a bit more airy.
Line muffin/cupcake tin with cupcake liners and fill each cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes. (And if you’re not like me you will make sure your oven is actually on when you start baking…because otherwise you will but a batch in there and wonder why an hour later nothing has baked:).
Recipe: Buttercream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup of slightly softened unsalted butter
- 1 8oz package of cream cheese (don’t skimp and get nonfat/neufchatel cheese)
- 2-3 tsp of Vanilla Extract (I used Mexican Vanilla again)
- 4-5 cups of powdered sugar or until you get the consistency you desire
In a stand mixer combine butter and cream cheese until well combined. I pulsed between a moderate speed and a whipping speed. Add vanilla until well combined and then start adding powdered sugar by the 1/2 c until you reach the consistency you are looking for in a frosting. I whipped for about 30 seconds at the end to have a lighter frosting. I let it sit for about 5-10 minutes and then I scooped it in a gallon sized ziplock bag. Zipped it up and cut off one of the corners. Then I piped it on in swirls on the cupcakes.