Sunday, February 20, 2011

Classic Birthday Cupcakes

When I think of a truly classic birthday cake combination, I immediately picture vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

To be honest, my vanilla cake/chocolate frosting/rainbow sprinkles birthday fantasy is also accompanied by other 1950s housewife-ish images. I would be lying if I said my imaginary birthday scenario didn't include a ruffled waist apron and a flaired-skirt dress with polka dots.

Half of this classic birthday scene unfolded this weekend. While I was able to create the ultimate vanilla cupcake, piled high with spoonfuls of chocolate buttercream, there were unfortunately no ruffled aprons or high heels involved. My friend Kate celebrated her 30th year, and sprinkled cupcakes were definitely in order.

The recipe for these sweet treats hails from my top-notch favorite dessert cookbook: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The cupcakes were so moist. I've officially declared this my new go-to vanilla cake recipe. And although I'm always one to lean towards chocolate buttercream, these mini-cakes would also go great with vanilla or lemon frosting, garnished with sliced strawberries.

Maybe in another life I'll get my chance at the 1950s housewife thing. In the meantime I'll keep rocking the whole feminist-of-the-millenium identity...which definitely involves cupcake-baking.

What's your favorite birthday cake?

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

These cupcakes are moist, light, and the just the right amount of sweetness. While chocolate buttercream goes perfectly, I'd encourage you to go wild with your frosting options. Experiment with lemon buttercream, orange cream cheese frosting, or even a rich chocolate ganache.

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk, any kind
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 - 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup real butter (or non-hydrogenated vegan margarine) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 - 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 - 4 TBSP milk
1) To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Use an electric mixer to beat together the milk, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients until well-blended and lumps are gone!

2) Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 -- 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 - 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

3) To prepare frosting: Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and cocoa powder. Beat in the vanilla extract. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk until frosting is light and fluffy and has reached a desirable spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes liberally and top with rainbow sprinkles :)


  1. This looks great! I want to try vegan cupcakes so badly! <3

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. yummmm
    vegan cupcakes with colorful sprinkles! These look so festive!

  3. so cute! ps i saw that cookbook at the library last week and thought of you :)

  4. Kylie, it's SO funny that you post this! I just made some cupcakes from that cookbook yesterday. I made the classic chocolate cupcakes yesterday, and just frosted them with the peanut butter frosting (I can't remember its exact title) like an hour ago! I'll be posting mine soon too!

  5. I have that cookbook :) Cupcakes are pretty much my favorite food of all time- I really want some now!

  6. I could really use a cupcake right now, it's been a cold, crummy day and I could use some cheering up! Nothing like sprinkles to make you smile.

  7. It sounds delish, but I don't know if I could go vegan... gosh, I don't think I could find vegan spread here? But nothing is like a classic cupcake...cupcakes went glam on us...

    These are my favorites!

  9. Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting are the favorite around here. I think that my family would probably not care a bit that they were vegan- they wouldn't even stop eating them long enough to ask. :)

  10. Cupcakes and rainbow sprinkles are definitely the best birthday food :) Ruffled aprons and polka dot dresses are okay in my house too! I've been wanting a cute apron forever now, but can't bring myself to splurge on it!

  11. Ah yes, I would definitely pick this flavor combo for classic birthday cupcakes! These look super cute with the sprinkles. :) I'm with you on wanting a frilly apron, but think my roommates probably think I'm crazy enough without one...

  12. I heart a chocolate cupcake with funfetti frosting....chilled a bit actually is delicious

  13. You have me drooling as always, and I'm more of a funfetti gal...

  14. Delicious looking cupcakes! Chocolate frosting and yellow cake is always what pops up in my head for birthdays as well, although I'm a fan of the opposite- chocolate cake and vanilla frosting!

  15. I love vanilla cake and the sprinkles just look so cute!

  16. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my all time favorite!

  17. with these cupcakes...who need a ruffled waist apron? This vegan cupcake recipe is great. Got to bookmark this for any future birthday events.

  18. I don't know that I have a favorite birthday cake, but I'm always a fan of chocolate raspberry layer cake, or vanilla buttercream frosting. Always a toss-up.

    p.s. Rainbow Sprinkles are necessary for basically everything.

  19. This cupcake is best treat for a better celebrant without the guilt. This classic vegan cupcakes really looks good.

  20. These look so delicious!!Definitely want to give these a try!

  21. I love vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles! The rainbow sprinkles are a must. :) I love vegan cakes and I'm definitely giving this one a try. It looks soo good!

  22. Yay for cupcakes! =) I've yet to make a vegan one though!