Y’all. These cupcakes have me crazy. They are PERFECTION and the best to enjoy with a Hallmark Christmas movie. I know… I know. Sappy, schmaltzy and totally predictable Hallmark movies are sweet and romantic and what most girls want during the Christmas season. Back to these cupcakes. I hadn’t made them in eons and thought I’d bake a quick batch to put up here on the blog. I had forgotten how dense and rich they are… almost like pound cake. And this icing… any thoughts of sticking to a diet are rapidly going through the window. I had to get them out of the house and my reach so I took them over to our neighbors who have twin boys in middle school. They’re all skinny… let them be tempted! Anyway, these cupcakes are wonderfully flexible in that a variety of flavorings may be added to the batter and also the icing to suit your mood and craving. If extracts are added to the icing add them sparingly as they can be awfully strong. For instance, I added 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the whipped cream whereas if I were making a vanilla icing I would have added 1 tablespoon. So almond, peppermint, coconut and rum extracts are capped at 1/2 teaspoon. That said, feel free to use up to 2 tablespoons of liqueur to flavor the cream. Coffee, raspberry, Irish cream and orange are, singularly, heavenly additions. And with so many vibrant and richly colored sprinkles, crystals and decorations on the market, (Home Goods is a treasure trove!), a girl can go crazy. The paper baking cups and liners are also a way to transform your goodies to a higher level. I keep my baking cups and liners in a designer bag on the top shelf of my closet and when I take it down and spread all those lovely boxes on my bed it’s like an Italian fashion show. Oh, the colors and prints! The next time you’re in a discount designer store take a leisurely stroll down the baking aisle and prepare to be enchanted. Until then enjoy these goodies with the one you love and a sweet Christmas flick.
Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Peppermint Whipped Cream Icing
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk, whole milk will do but it’s not as rich
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup butter, softened but not melted
- Pre-heat oven to 350° and set baking cups on a baking sheet or line muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl combine eggs, milk, vanilla extract and mix well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix until completely combined.
- Add the butter to the flour mixture and, using a hand-held mixer set on low, mix until the pieces of butter are no larger than baby peas.
- Add the egg mixture and mix on low for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing on medium for 60 seconds.
- Fill each baking cup or paper liner 2/3 full. I use an ice cream scoop that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick baking spray.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden on top and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely on a cooling rack prior to icing.
Whipped Cream Icing
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint, almond, rum or coconut extract or up to 2 tablespoons flavored liqueur
- In a medium size bowl add the confectioner’s sugar and place the beaters on top. Place the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Add the cream to the chilled bowl and whip on medium for 30 seconds.
- Change speed to high and whip until soft peaks form.
- Add extract or liqueur and continue whipping until the peaks are almost stiff.
- Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Whisk for a few seconds prior to using.
- This is also great over fresh, macerated berries.