Since I love to bake so much (and am slightly crazy) I volunteered myself for cupcake duty this weekend. There was a going away party and cake was needed, but what fun is just one flavor? So it was decided that cupcakes were in order - vanilla, chocolate, banana, and carrot cake to be precise (with chocolate, vanilla, and cream cheese frostings to mix-and-match). For this baking project, I mostly relied on one of my favorite baking books, The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, by Alyssa Torey and Jennifer Appel.
Check out their recipe for Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes. They go great with my Homemade Vanilla or Chocolate Frosting. Believe it or not, frosting is super simple to make, so I don't even bother with precise amounts for the ingredients. Just taste as you go, that's the easiest way to make sure it's the way you like it. Not chocolately enough? Add more cocoa. Too thick? Add some more milk. Too thin? Add some more confectioner's sugar. Not creamy enough? Try another bit of butter.
A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of baking cake or making frosting, but it really is very easy. Give it a try next time it's your turn to bring the cake (or cupcakes) and definitely check out The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook for more delicious recipes. I can attest that many, many of their recipes are fabulously delicious. Besides the vanilla, chocolate, banana, & carrot (cup)cakes I made this weekend, the recipes for hummingbird cake, apple walnut cake, red velvet cake, and caramel frosting are also incredibly delicious. (Not to mention the muffins, cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, pies, etc.).
Homemade Vanilla (or Chocolate) Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
pinch of salt
1-2 tsp vanilla
cocoa powder (for chocolate only)
With an electric mixer, cream butter, salt, vanilla. Mix in remaining ingredients until you reach a desired consistency and flavor, making sure to add the milk a little at a time. (It's much easier to add more milk than to try to fix a frosting turned to soup!)