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perfect vanilla cupcakes

Today is a special day in our family… my beautiful, funny, smart, creative little Abby is turning six today! I can’t believe she’s so grown up already. In just a few weeks she’ll be graduating from kindergarten, and I still think of her as being my tiny little baby!

We’re celebrating today by taking her to the children’s museum and out to dinner after school, and then she’ll have an awesome “mermaids and pirates” birthday party this weekend with her whole kindergarten class (more details to come!). Of course, the best part of any celebration is cupcakes, right?

These vanilla cupcakes are a perfect basic recipe that can be customized in any number of ways. You could add sprinkles to the batter for funfetti, or chocolate chips, or coconut, or whatever sounds good to you! You could also experiment with different flavor extracts and frostings. I went with vanilla vanilla because I’m boring that way, but feel free to go nuts!

Vanilla Cupcakes
adapted from Chef Mommy

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (I got 16 cupcakes from the recipe). In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the egg mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Mix until smooth.  Scoop into paper liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes (mine took 16) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream
adapted from Emma the Joy

1 cup butter, softened
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar, and beat well to combine. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Add additional milk if too thick.

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