Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Vanilla Sprinkle Cupcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting

A trip to the local bakery can be a magical thing. Shelf upon shelf of colorful and sweet treats, most at the eye level of small children. I can recall smooshing my face up on the glass display case when I was a kid, checking out the M&M sugar cookies, powdery Italian almond cookies, and delicious looking cupcakes of our neighborhood bakery. It's a memory that still makes me happy!

When my Little Man decided to name the cupcakes at our local bakery "Happy Cakes", I knew the experience was a universal one! Since then, we have made many different 'happy cakes' in our own kitchen: chocolate Nutella, toasted coconut, and classic vanilla to name a few. But one of our favorites is Vanilla Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Icing.... And lots (lots!) of sprinkles!
Tender white vanilla cake is studded with colorful sprinkles and jimmies that excite even the most dour eater! Topped with rich, but surprisingly light, whipped frosting and even more sprinkles (because, come on, who can have too many sprinkles?), these cupcakes are a child's delight! I have made these for birthdays, open houses, and bake sales.... They've never failed to please!

So, enjoy these "happy cakes", and try not to smile with each bite!

Vanilla Sprinkle (Funfetti) Cupcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
very slightly modified from the original recipe found at sweetapolita.com 
makes 24 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes

4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cubed
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or more, assorted sprinkles

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line 2 standard sized muffin tins with cupcake liners and put aside.

In a small mixing bowl, lightly mix the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup of milk, and vanilla extract with a fork. Place aside.

Next, take the bowl of your stand mixer and pour the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together and mix using the paddle attachment. Set to low speed for about a minute. Add the shortening & butter and blend on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the milk and mix until moistened. Continue to mix now on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes to combine.

Scrape the sides of the bowl, and still mixing on medium speed, add the egg & milk mix in 3 increments. Beat 20 seconds between additions.

Stop the mixer and remove the bowl from the stand. Gently fold in the sprinkles.

Divide the batter evenly into the cups. Only fill to about 2/3 full. Bake until a tester toothpick comes out clean after inserting into the middle of a cupcake. I only needed 14 minutes in my oven, but anywhere from 14-18 minutes, should suffice. Try not to over-bake (nobody likes a dry cupcake!).

Remove the pans from the oven and transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Note- unfrosted cupcakes freeze very well. Toss into a freezer safe baggie and head these delightful cakes into the freezer. They should be good for a few weeks. Just defrost for an hour or two before adding the frosting.

For the Frosting

3 sticks + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cubed
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
assorted sprinkles for decorating

Fit your electric mixer with the paddle attachment and whip the butter in the bowl for 8-10 minutes on medium speed. The butter will become very creamy and light yellow. Add the cream, vanilla extract, salt, and confectioner's sugar to the bowl. Continue to mix on low speed for 1 minute, and then raise the speed to medium. Mix for 6 minutes, until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

Remove the mixer bowl from the stand and take a spatula or wooden spoon and vigorously mix side to side, to get rid of any air bubbles. Frost immediately. I like to fill a piping bag and use either a very large closed star tip or large plain round tip to frost. Sprinkle with your favorite jimmies or sprinkles.

Store in a large air tight container in the fridge. Best if eaten within 3 days.

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