A Southern Grace: birthday parties ≡ sprinkles

September 5, 2016

birthday parties ≡ sprinkles


My niece is 5 years old. I can hardly believe it.

I still distinctly remember holding her in my arms at the hospital, and now I doubt I could pick her up without straining. Where does the time go? I'm sure her mother feels this way much more intensely (along with all of the mothers)!

We had a birthday party to celebrate that adorable, smart, and sweet rascal's five years on the planet, and I made cupcakes. I took a traditional route and made chocolate cupcakes, but I decided to make the frosting a little more exciting than plain ol' vanilla buttercream. I blended in a bit of Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush" from Sonoma Syrup Co. and found that it added an amazing flavor to the otherwise basic frosting. The website describes this as an exclusive blend of pure vanilla extract from the finest quality premium Madagascar Bourbon and Tahitian vanilla beans that attains the highest desirable taste note, and I must concur--it was delicious.

Sonoma Syrup Co. has many, many simple syrups that would be perfect for blending into frostings. I'm thinking Cinnamon simple syrup in a frosting for apple or spice cake, White Ginger simple syrup for carrot cake, Mint simple syrup for chocolate cake, and Lavender simple syrup for lemon cake. Oh, the mouth, it does water.

Oh, and as you can tell, I made the frosting quite colorful. Sprinkles make any occasion more fun and festive, and I personally love rainbow streaks and would happily include them on any cupcakes regardless of the effort (and potential mess clean-up) involved. Happy birthday, LG! Only the prettiest for you!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting (and sprinkles!)
(printable recipe)
Makes 24
Chocolate cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla bean frosting:
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk, plus more, if needed
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush"
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
Divide batter evenly among prepared cups, filling each 2/3 full.
Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed.
Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, be sure to have all the ingredients at room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer or with a hand mixer, combine the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
If the frosting seems dry, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks. Tint with food coloring as described here if desired.


Angie Schneider said...

So festive and beautiful...perfect for the celebration! Happy Birthday to your sweet Lydia Grace!

Wendie Schneider said...

These are so beautiful!

Pam said...

Happy birthday to your niece! The cupcakes are perfect. Seriously - so pretty!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

Seriously. Cupcake perfection right there.

Marjie said...

Happy Birthday to a special little girl, who had a very festive celebration! I'll have to look into your vanilla bean syrup; I do love vanilla.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aww aren't you a nice auntie!! I bet she loved them and sprinkles always make me happy :D

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

These are beautiful, love the colors, your niece must feel so special!!! What a wonderful Aunt you are Grace!

Barbara said...

Oh, I bet she loved those cupcakes, Grace! So cute! All those rainbow swirls and chocolate to boot. You are no doubt her favorite aunt of all time. Bet it was a fun party, too. Happy 5th to her!

Katerina said...

When it comes to kids time really flies!I love these cupcakes! Even I who am not kid would go crazy for these!

Juliana said...

Oh Grace, these cupcakes are so cute...I love the colors of the frosting...great combo...chocolate and vanilla bean. Happy Birthday to your niece!
Have a great week ahead :)

Velva said...

Grace, those are beautiful cupcakes! Children show us how quickly time flies. You are so incredibly talented


Food Gal said...

Those are some technicolor cupcakes! They would put a smile on anyone's face. So fun!

Summer said...

They are beautiful! Yum


Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Beautiful cupcakes! I'm sure they were a big hit!

Adina said...

Oh my God, these are so pretty. I have never made a frosting look like that, I definitely have to try this!!! And I know what you mean about the time flying, my daughter turned five as well in August, it feels like she was born yesterday...

Erin said...

SO Cute!! Love these colorful cupcakes. Five is such a great age!

Marcelle @ A Little Fish in the Kitchen said...

I love the wonderful bright colors you chose, Grace. Turning five is a big deal and she will definitely remember those pretty cupcakes that Aunt Grace made. Beautiful job and happy birthday to her!! :)