Vanilla Cupcakes

For Christmas I received a lot of really great gifts, once of which was a lovely cupcake cookbook full of recipes and ideas from my lovely and talented mother. I‘m not really big into receiving gifts, I always get really awkward while opening them, as I really don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But I have to say that it warms my heart sometimes when you know that the person really knows you and really thought about the gift they decided to give you. Giving me a gift that invites me to be creative is probably one of the best gifts you can give me.  

My mother knows as well as anyone that I love cooking, and she’s no stranger to the kitchen either. As I have said numerous times, she is an amazing cook and actually studied culinary arts and worked as a chef in restaurants/bakery’s alike (she‘s awesome you should like her Facebook page). Growing up in a house where there were always pies, and cakes on the counter it’s a wonder that I am not 1000 pounds heavier.  

Needless to say I was bursting to try out my new “Cupcakescookbook, there are so many lovely recipes that I wanted to try. But what was I going to do with 12 cupcakes? Surely if I made them I would eat every last one, and I had already eaten a poutine that day, so that just wasn’t an option. I decided to make them and take them to work with me at the hospital. The woman I work with at the hospital are not easily fooled. They like the good stuff, and so they are usually a little reluctant when I tell them that they are a “healthier” version of traditional cupcakes. But when treats look this good they aren’t about to say “no” either. For the record none of them made it home with me today. 

So I made some of the usual healthy adaptations, I never typically use full butter or margarine, but instead I add half apple sauce. Sometimes when making cookies I omit the butter altogether and opt just for apple sauce. The measurements for subbing in apple sauce is the same as butter, so you don’t have to worry about scaling anything. Adding applesauce will make cookies slightly puffier than you‘re probably used to, but when it comes to cakes and muffins you’ll hardly notice the difference! I also always scale down the sugar by a third, it’s not much but it makes me feel better. I didn’t have self rising flour so I used the whole wheat that was in my freezer and then added 1 tsp of baking powder and pinch of salt to help the cupcakes puff up 😀 

1/4 cup of butter or margarine plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup of apple sauce
1/2 cup super fine sugar (plus 2 tablespoon) – didn’t add the extra 2 TBS
1 1/2 cups self rising flour (or use all purpose and add tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt)
3 eggs 
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract DirectionsPreheat over 350 degrees
Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper cups  With a hand held mixer cream butter or margarine, apple sauce, and sugar. 
Continuing with the mixer, mix in the eggs and vanilla until blended.
Combine flour, and baking powder and salt if you are not using self rising flour. 
Using the hand held mixer slowly add the flour to the mixture (about 1-2 minutes) until the texture is light and creamy. 
Divide the mixture evenly among the baking cups. An
ice cream scoop with a release handle works amazing for easily scooping in muffin or cupcake mix.  

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until risen and firm to touch. If you’re really skeptical you can insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean you’re good to go. 
Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to completely cool BEFORE icing them.

A cupcake isn’t a cupcake without some icing and sprinkles! So here’s how you fancy them up!

Buttercream Icing

Makes enough to cover 12 cupcakes
Prep time (5 minutes)

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
2 cups confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 teaspoons of hot water


Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon or hand-held mixer until it is smooth and creamy.
Add the vanilla extract and hot water and beat again until smooth.
I scooped my icing out into my little Chinese tea cups, so I could make various colors. I just added a couple of drops of neon food coloring. Remember the important thing when using food coloring is it’s a lot easier to add than it is to subtract, so less is ALWAYS more. Start with one drop and completely mix into the icing, and see how it turns out THEN you can always add more if you want a darker shade. 

Vanilla Cupcakes

I didn’t bother with a piping bag, or tips or anything. I just simply used a silicon spatula and ran it around the outside of the cup turning the cupcake in one hand and bringing the spatula of icing towards the centre and pulling it up on the top to get this adorable little curl. Then I covered the hell out of them in super cute sprinkles! 

Beautiful and delicious these cupcakes are guaranteed to please!
Happy Tuesday Blog Reader! Let me know if you make these I’d love to see how you decorate them! Tweet me @shortpresents
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