It’s time for another giveaway on the blog, as promised, although this week is a little special because tomorrow happens to be my sister’s birthday. This is my middle sister, the one who I call my twin because we look so much alike, and because I’ve declared us “twins” I think we should share the presents she gets tomorrow. Just saying. Since it is her big day, I wanted to make sure I dedicated this post and recipe to her. She loves sprinkles, cupcakes and the color pink so here we are. She also isn’t a fan of chocolate (thankfully we don’t share this weirdo trait) and so vanilla or yellow cake is always her go-to choice of cake. A while ago I made her this Tres Leches because that’s her absolute favorite cake, and so this year I wanted to go back to basics and make these simple but pretty great looking Vanilla Birthday Sprinkle Cupcakes. Now thanks to my sister Nick, we can all act like it’s our birthday and celebrate with something sweet.
Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s giveaway! The response was so great and your stories were so touching to read. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of those childhood memories. I felt like I was right there reliving them with you. A huge congratulations to Marisa Franca for winning! Even better news for everyone else is that you still have two more chances to win! This week’s giveaway is another signed copy of my cookbook The Slider Effect, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, AND a swanky Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Square Grill Pan in the greatest color red I’ve ever seen. I use a grill pan several times in the book and it is a key component for many of the sliders, especially if you don’t have an outdoor grill. I’m an hardcore fan of the stove top grill pan because you can bring a little summer to your kitchen in the winter. You can also avoid going through all of the motions of heating an outdoor grill or firing up some charcoal; instead you can be right in the comfort of your own kitchen still getting that amazing grill flavor!
To enter, leave a comment below letting me know what your favorite birthday cake flavor is/was/or has been. If you don’t eat cake for your birthday, then just tell me what your favorite birthday treat is! As always, my mamma will be picking the winner at random. It’s one of her greatest pleasures in life, what can I say? I love reading all of your comments so feel free to elaborate as much or as little as you’d like. Throw in your favorite birthday memory if you’re feeling super chatty. I enjoy chatty as a matter of fact. Remember, let’s keep things fair with only one entry per person, and if you win this prize (or won last prize), you can’t enter the following weeks or this week. Sorry but I want everyone to have a fair chance. You have until Friday night to enter! Good luck, I’m rooting for you!
Let’s start by making the cake batter first. This is a classic vanilla cake recipe. It has the perfect crumb and is the complete opposite of dry. It’s moist, even though I hate using that word so let’s pretend I didn’t just say it and allow me this one free pass. Begin by creaming together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and vanilla extract.
**Note: Whenever I make cake, I always add the eggs one at a time. I first crack the egg into a small bowl and then add it to the butter and sugar. I continue until all the eggs are incorporated. This makes sure that you can check to see if the eggs are still okay. If you add the eggs directly into the batter and it’s bad, well now you’ve just ruined your cake. If you crack it into a small bowl first, you’ll be able to see what’s going on.**
Add the dry ingredients along with the buttermilk to the batter, alternating between the two. It’s important to begin and end with the dry ingredients. So you want to go dry ingredients, buttermilk, dry ingredients, buttermilk and once again dry ingredients. Make sure to only mix until just incorporated. You don’ want to end up with a dry cake.
**Tip: Another way to ensure that my cakes don’t dry out, is that I always use buttermilk. Now if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, then feel free to use whole milk instead. You can also make your own buttermilk by measuring out 1 cup of milk and adding a bit of squeezed lemon or vinegar to it.**
Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake tins and bake off in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly golden brown around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes.
**Note: I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure out the batter, using one scoop per cupcake. This ensures that they are all the same size and bake off at the same time. Plus it makes it an easier process altogether.**
While the cupcakes cool down, let’s make the buttercream. This is a classic buttercream that I’ve pumped up, just a little. I wanted the frosting to be pink, but I know that not everyone is really into food coloring so what I did was puréed a bit of frozen thawed strawberries and added it to the buttercream.
**Note: This step is mainly just for color. While it does give the frosting a slight strawberry flavor and taste, you won’t really be hit over the head with it. So keep that in mind. Also, you could just use food coloring if you’d like, or just leave it white.**
Using an ice cream scoop once again, add a bit of frosting on top of each cupcake. Then use a small offset spatula to frost the cupcakes evenly and create a flat surface with rounded edges. Roll the edge of the cupcakes among the sprinkles to coat the sides.
**Tip: You can really decorate these cupcakes anyway you’d like. If you prefer the look of a pastry bag and happen to have mad piping skills, then go ahead and do that instead! You can just sprinkle the sprinkles on top after.**
At this point you can serve the cupcakes or you can store them in the fridge until ready to eat. These cupcakes can be made up to 2 days in advance and be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, at most. When you’re ready to serve, just place them at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow to come to room temperature.
But of course, because these are birthday cupcakes, they wouldn’t be complete without candles. So slap those on and light them up. Make a whisk and blog out the candles, even if it’s not your birthday. Promise me that you’ll still light a candle on a cupcake and make a wish. Everyone deserves a good wish every now and then, and you my friend are no exception. We’ll call it an early birthday present from me to you.
The great thing about birthday cupcakes is that you can customize them a thousand different ways to adapt to whomever you plan on making them for. Try the same vanilla cake base but add chocolate or peanut butter frosting instead.
**Note: These would also be a great way to practice those piping/decorating skills you have. Even if they don’t turn out quite as you’d like them to, it doesn’t matter at all because they taste amazing. I’d know, I ate about a dozen just by myself.**
These can also be your go-to “any occasion” cupcake. Oh you got a new job? Time to break out these cupcakes. Oh you’re invited to a housewarming party? These cupcakes go so well with everything and anything in your house and/or work life. Make someone that you know really happy, by baking them these treats. They’d love you forever. I know, I just checked.
As a quick side note, if you have a few minutes, Saveur Magazine is currently holding nominations for this year’s Food Blog Awards and if you feel like my blog is good enough for a nomination, I’d be so humbled if you nominated The Candid Appetite in the “Best How-To Food Blog” category. Nominations close today and you can do it here! I thank you so much for your support!
Don’t forget to enter below for a chance to win a signed copy of my cookbook, The Slider Effect, and the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet! You’ll need a good stovetop grill pan in several of the recipes in my book, but also a lot of the recipes on my blog! Remember that it’s one entry per person, anyone is allowed to leave a comment, and you have until Friday night to enter. One winner will be picked at random and will be notified via email. If you don’t win this prize, come back next week as there will be two more chances to win! Good luck, I’m rooting for you!
Update: Congratulations to Lisa Legendre for winning the book and grill pan! Thank you so everyone that participated in the giveaway!
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cups (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 to 3½ cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons puréed frozen strawberries
- 1 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper liners, set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients along with the buttermilk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. So a little dry, buttermilk, dry, buttermilk, dry once again. Make sure to only mix until just incorporated. You don't want to over-mix the batter at this point. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake tins, filling just a little over halfway up each. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the buttercream, beat the butter in an electric mixer on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and frozen strawberry purée and beat until well combined and fluffy. (To make the frozen strawberry purée, let a bag of frozen strawberries thaw in the fridge overnight and then purée about ¼ of them until smooth. Then measure out 3 tablespoons). If the frosting is too thick, try adding a bit of cream or mill, a little bit at a time and mix until desired consistency is reached.
- Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost each and shape with an offset spatula. Roll the edges of the cupcake in sprinkles. Serve immediately or place in the fridge until ready to eat. Just let them come to room temperature before serving.