Miniature Vanilla Cupcakes

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I made these cupcakes on a baking whim. It was one of those times when I wanted something sweet to eat and somehow—miraculously—we had all the ingredients for cupcakes in our pantry. It’s moments like these when it feels like all the stars have aligned to support my insatiable sweet tooth. Normally I’m short one egg or a stick of butter, and the walk to the grocery store seems like too much work for the reward. But not this time!

One nifty tip that made these cupcakes possible is that I used frozen buttermilk which I brought to room temperature for the recipe. Weeks ago I had extra buttermilk from a recipe and I simply froze it in ice cube trays for later use. I originally shared this tip when I made my Peach Upside Down Cake last year. Honestly, it’s a trick that has saved me time and time again because rarely do I have fresh buttermilk on hand.

Outside the Sweet Precision kitchen, it seems as though time has been flying! This is the first week that it’s truly felt like summer here in Ann Arbor. I broke down and had to turn on the air conditioner because we were sweltering away in 85 degree heat inside our apartment—ugh. Matt is teaching a course this semester which has been keeping him busy. I’ve been counting down the days to our Beyoncé concert, which has me ridiculously giddy. I’ve always felt like Memorial Day weekend marks the true start to the summer season. From here on out the days feel noticeably longer, the weather gets warmer, and you can officially break out those white pants! Hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

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Miniature Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes approximately 20 miniature cupcakes 

Cupcake Ingredients
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup buttermilk (room temperature)

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 20 minutes before baking your cupcakes. Spray a miniature muffin pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Onto a parchment paper, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all of the egg yolks are incorporated, add the vanilla extract and mix in.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, 1/3 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Start with 1/3 of the dry, mix well, and then add 1/3 of the buttermilk, and repeat two more times with remaining ingredients. Once everything is incorporated, beat well with a rubber spatula to make sure your batter is fully mixed and fluffy.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan. Bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. When cupcakes are done, the tops should be golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed in the center. A cake tester should come out clean. Remove the pan to a cooling rack. Let rest 5 minutes. Run a small knife or metal spatula around the sides of the cupcakes and invert onto a cooling rack. Let cupcakes cool to room temperature.

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. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with your choice of sprinkles!

Heather’s Helpful Hints
Using fresh butter is very important when you’re making buttercream frosting. Now is not the time to use the butter that’s been sitting in your refrigerator for over a month. To test your butter for freshness, cut a small slice of butter from the block or stick. Look at the color. If the inside of the butter is the same as the outside, it is still fresh. However, if the inside of the butter is lighter than the outside of the butter, this means it has oxidized and is no longer fresh. Typically your butter will last about 1 month in the refrigerator unopened.

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