Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bird's Nest Cupcakes {Vanilla Cupcakes}

    Hi everyone!  The first day of spring was last...Wednesday, I think?  Spring's my favorite season (it's the season of my birthday!), and I'm glad it's finally here.  However, it still feels like winter here and the weatherman's calling for a couple of inches of snow on Monday.
    No wonder I've been sick all last week.  I guess you could call it "spring fever" (pun intended).
    Anyways, to welcome this so-called "spring," why not make some delicious vanilla cupcakes resembling little birds nests?   I've been in the mood for cupcakes all week.  And I've been planning to make these cupcakes since I saw my cupcake-themed calender's picture for March.  I really like cupcakes.
     So first I baked some vanilla cupcakes.  But not just any vanilla cupcakes, these are the perfect vanilla cupcakes.  The cupcakes that make your taste buds weep tears of happiness.  Except your tongue doesn't actually cry, because that would be gross.
     The cupcakes have a poignant vanilla flavor and soft, fluffy texture.  No other vanilla cupcake can compare.  The recipe has been genius-ly put together by the Cupcake Project blog.  It uses milk, sour cream, butter, and oil.  It's like a hybrid of all vanilla cupcakes.
      Then I whipped up some of my favorite chocolate fudge frosting.  I made half of the recipe found here.  But you can use any frosting you want, I just wanted a dark brown frosting for the nests.
       Nest, I spread some frosting on the cooled cupcakes (see what I did there?)  Make sure that the cupcakes are cool or else the frosting will melt. Then I used a grass piping tip to pipe a ring around the border.  I added some jumbo-sized quins from a craft store to look like eggs.  I remember that once when I was younger, I found a birds nest with a blue robin egg in it and I was absolutely fascinated by it.  I then proceeded to go home and put a hard-boiled egg in a pile of blankets, hoping that the egg would some day hatch.
Mix together the sugar and vanilla bean seeds.
Whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir in the sugar and butter.
Whisk together the wet ingredients.
Combine wet and dry.
Slowly stir in milk.
Pour into baking cups.
Bake in the oven.
Let cool. 
Pipe on the "nest"
Add sprinkles.

       So, happy spring, everyone!  Enjoy!

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

makes about 16 cupcakes
recipe from  The Cupcake Project


1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. ( Watch this video to learn how to get the seeds out of the bean.)
  3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes.  Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  The batter will be liquid. 
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.  The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown.  If they are not done, test again in two minutes.  If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.

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