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
(recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)
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.
- 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
- 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 :)