On Frosting [vanilla buttercream]

So, cupcakes.

cathy's cupcakes.

I make them.  I make a lot of them.  Mostly for other people, rarely for myself.

If you walked up and asked me what kind of cupcakes I wanted at any given moment, I doubt I’d have an answer for you.  But I know I’d ask for something with cream cheese frosting.


Which is why it blew my mind that Jess created a vanilla frosting I love.  I’ve always had a hard time pinning down a winning butter : sugar ratio in my vanilla frosting.  No matter what I try, my vanilla buttercreams always turn out cloyingly sweet.  Nothing remotely close to what I want atop my cupcakes.

But, for a friend’s recent birthday I was devoid of any inspiration and chose to make homemade funfetti cupcakes because yum. Then I got swept away in a kitchen-frenzy, and left the sprinkles out of the batter.  So they were just vanilla cupcakes.  With the best vanilla buttercream I’ve ever had.  A vanilla buttercream I’d want to eat again and again.  The perfect recipe to keep up your sleeve when you’re in a baking pinch.  And the perfect ratio of butter : sugar.

A little tip–I find that when you are too rushed to make cupcakes from scratch, box-mix plus homemade frosting does a darn good job instead.  Dunking those puppies in a bowl of sprinkles doesn’t hurt either.

To make vanilla frosting for 12 cupcakes*, you will need:

  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 T milk, if needed

Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixture until completely smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar slowly. Gradually increase mixer speed and add vanilla, then beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl. If frosting is too thick, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached If it’s too thin, add sugar gradually until it thickens. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

*A note – Frosting is usually the reason I’m eating a cupcake in the first place.  Sometimes I’ll scrap the bottom half of the cupcake and just eat the muffin top and frosting.  As such, I pile my cupcakes with frosting.  You might be able to get 24 cupcakes worth of frosting out of the recipe if you’re not quite as heavy-handed.

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