Our dear friends, Mike and Christa, asked if I would make a “smash” cake and cupcakes for their daughter’s 1st birthday party. I was happy to bake for their little girl’s birthday party, but I’ve never made an official birthday cake or worked with fondant before. Uh oh. Thank goodness fondant is not that difficult to work with. If you know how to play with play doh then you can work with fondant. I stuck with simple decorations since I really have no idea what else do with fondant besides cut shapes. Christa’s favorite childhood cake flavor was Vanilla Funfetti Cake. So that’s the flavor that we decided to go with for both the cake and cupcakes. The colors for the party were pink and yellow so I used pink sprinkles in the cake for the “funfetti” and topped the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and fondant hearts and flowers.
I adapted the recipe from the Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes. The cake is very buttery…almost like a pound cake. It is so good fresh from the oven without frosting. Make sure you do not over beat the batter or the cake will be very tough and dense.
Vanilla Funfetti Cupcakes
adapted from Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
prep: 15 mins bake time: 20-25 yields: 24 standard size cupcakes
1½ C self rising flour
1¼ C all-purpose flour
1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, soften
2 C sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 C milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1½-2 Tbs of sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350º. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Combine self rising flour and all-purpose flour in a bowl. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating between each addition. Scrape bowl when needed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract. Add flour in 3 parts alternating with the milk and vanilla mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl after each addition of flour. Beat until everything is combined and make sure to not over beat. Fold sprinkles into batter.
Fill each cup ¾ of the way with batter. I use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter between the cups. Bake for 20-25 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.
Remove tins and place on wire rack. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes (this step will help the cupcakes stay moist). Remove cupcakes from tins and place on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes
1 C (2 sticks) of butter, room temperature
1 - 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, depending on how intense you want the vanilla flavor to be
4 – 6 C of powder sugar (the more sugar you use the more sugary sweet the frosting will be)
4-8 teaspoons of milk
Place butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
Gradually add powder sugar, 1 cup at a time. Make sure the sugar is fully incorporated before adding more sugar. Keep adding a cupful of sugar until you reach your desired consistency. For a creamier frosting, add 1-2 teaspoons of milk at a time and beat until you get the texture that you want.
Frost your cupcakes after it’s cooled. I used a star tip (Wilton 1M) to frost these cupcakes. Working from the outer edge, I swirled the frosting until I reached the center. I applied extra pressure to the piping bag while frosting the cupcake to get the “ruffled” look. Piping your buttercream will definitely put a lot of frosting on the cupcake. If you don’t want too much frosting then use an angled spatula to spread the frosting on the cupcake.
To make the fondant heart and flower shapes: buy a package of fondant. Pinch off the amount that you will be needing. A little bit goes a long way since you will be rolling it flat and cutting it with cookie or fondant cutters. Dip a toothpick into the icing color of your choice. Poke the toothpick into the fondant to transfer the color. Using your hands, knead, stretch and pull the fondant to incorporate the color. Keep in mind that the color will become darker over time, so use the icing color sparely. Cover a surface with shortening and powder sugar if needed. Place fondant on the surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the fondant to the desire thickness. (if you are using a wood rolling pin – make sure to sprinkle a little powder sugar on top of the fondant before rolling to prevent sticking) Use cookie or fondant cutters to cut shapes. To adhere the shapes together use a tiny bit of water. I let the fondant shapes sit out on a baking sheet to dry and harden. If you are not using immediately, then cover with plastic wrap. Place on the cupcake right before serving. The moisture from the frosting will eventually soften the fondant and the shapes will not hold up if left on for long periods of time.
The cake is a bit more of a challenge. Roll the fondant out on a surface that has been lightly covered with shortening and powder sugar if needed. Make sure to roll it out to a large enough piece to cover the cake and do not roll too thin or the fondant will tear when placed on the cake. I then roll the fondant back on my rolling pin and roll it over the top of the cake. Smooth the top then quickly press the fondant down along the side of the cake. Then I used a small juice glass and pressed it gently along the side of the cake to smooth out the fondant. Use a knife and cut the excess off the bottom of the cake. I am no pro and the bottom edge was not real smooth….so I covered it with little pink hearts. Yay for decorations that help hide your mistakes.