Best Birthday Cupcakes


The latest birthday girl at work insisted she didn’t want me to bake anything for her.  However, I jump at the opportunity to bake for a special occasion and set out to figure out what type of birthday treat she would pick if she had her druthers.  Now, if it were my birthday I’m sure I would request an elaborately chocolatey treat. But this birthday girl wanted yellow cake with vanilla frosting.  And there’s nothing wrong with being vanilla. So I set out in search of the best yellow cake I could find.  Lo and behold Smitten Kitchen had just what I was looking for.  Combined with a quick and easy vanilla buttercream, I was in business!

I didn’t have cake flour or buttermilk on hand, so read on for my easy-peasy quick fix substitutes for both ingredients.

Next time I would love to try this moist, yellow cake with the chocolate sour cream frosting.  Who’s birthday is next?!

Best Yellow Cake from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake.

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising) *If you don’t have cake flour, you can easily substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour, minus 2 tablespoons for each cup a recipe requires.
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken *If you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge, measure out just under 2 cups of milk and add 2 Tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice.  Let sit for 5 minutes then stir well. Voila!

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tray with baking cups.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes (20-25 for cupcakes). Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before frosting.

Mighty pretty cupcakes. And not too shabby on their own before you have even made the frosting…not that I would know or anything…just saying!

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe from

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup butter (softened)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. (If you don’t have a standing mixer, a hand mixer will work just as well)

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

All packed up and ready to go to work.


2 Responses to “Best Birthday Cupcakes”

  1. 1 Mom

    These look great Ari and I LOVE the color papers. Lucky coworker.

  2. Amazing! Its in fact remarkable post, I have got much clear idea about from this paragraph.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: