Winter gets a bad rap, but I love it. I think snow is beautiful, appreciate seeing the branches of the trees, and actually prefer cold weather to warm. If I had my choice between Florida and Maine, I’d choose Maine every time. So here at midwinter, I’ve whipped up some cupcakes worthy of a snow queen, a simple vanilla cupcake recipe topped with vanilla buttercream and blue sugar and pearl sprinkles.
Pearl sprinkles can be a bit unwieldy, so I recommend placing the cupcakes in a bowl or other container to catch any runaways during sprinkling and gently pressing the pearls into the frosting using the tip of a knife.
For the cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup sour milk (1/2 tablespoon vinegar mixed with enough milk to yield 1/2 cup – stir and let stand for 5 minutes before using)
For the frosting
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- Blue sugar sprinkles
- Pearl sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tines with paper liners; this recipe yields 17 cupcakes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Place eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue to beat for another 30 seconds. Add vanilla and canola oil and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
Add flour mixture and sour milk alternatively in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Batter will be very thin.
Using a quarter-cup measuring cup, scoop batter into prepared regular-sized cupcake liners, filling half full. Use a teaspoon measuring spoon to fill miniature cupcake liners.
Bake for 13 – 16 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, beat butter on medium speed for 1 minute, then add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is incorporated. Add vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes on medium speed. Fit a piping bag with a large star tip (I use the Wilton M1) and pipe swirls onto each cupcake. Top with blue sugar crystals and pearl sprinkles. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.