Happy Birth-Day Cupcakes


As a resolution this year, I decided that I would like to start annotating and sharing more about the food Brandon and I have been making (and that I have been Instagram-ing).  So here it is!

I begin two days after the new year and one day after my 27th birthday.


We live in a loft apartment and have a spacious kitchen, but what it lacks is a proper pantry.  Another of my resolutions was to organize and label all the random glass jars on the wooden cart we use as a “pantry” (and to keep it organized throughout the year) so the unlabeled jar of white-ish powder in the back doesn’t just get tossed.  While I was consolidating and labeling I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, “Does anyone REALLY need this number of different flours and sugars?”  And then I realized although I use the contents of one of the jars for only one recipe, it certainly pays its rent for the pantry space.

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Self -rising flour, the homemade and not store-bought kind.  When it gets low I simply add one cup of AP flour, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.  After a good shake, its ready to use.

With the self-rising flour replenished it was time to make a birthday treat for myself.  Cupcakes have been very popular lately, with people stuffing and filling and freezing and coating them.  As fancy as the nut-crusted, chocolate-filled cupcakes may be I still don’t think that they compare to the famous Magnolia Bakery (NYC) recipe for vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream.  Aside from my great-grandmother’s chocolate cake (which I am sure I ‘ll write more about later), these morsels of joy are my favorite confection.  And lucky for me, the bakery published their recipe!

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A few things that make my life easier when baking cupcakes:

  1. Eggs and butter that are at room temperature.  I have tried the microwave method (5 sec? 10 sec?) but after dealing with a stick of butter that is half melted and half still refrigerator-cold, the countertop is my go-to warming method.
  2. An ice cream scoop.  This is a no-brainer way to get almost uniform amount of batter in each cup without the mess of a measuring cup.
  3. Pastry bag.  Instead of attempting to ice with a spatula this time, I employed a pastry bag for the icing.

These cupcakes are truly heavenly – slightly crispy on the sides and decadently sweet.  Ice them after only a short cooling period and eat the first ones warm, just like at Magnolia Bakery.  Except you didn’t have to wait in the line!

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And so, a happy birth-day to the blog and a happy birthday to me!

Bon appétit.


Yield Makes about 2 dozen


  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. In a small bowl, combine flours; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 2 sticks of butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with 1 cup of the milk and 1 tsp. vanilla, and scraping down sides of bowl in between each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  2. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about three-quarters full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Clean the bowl of your electric mixer and the paddle attachment. Combine 2 sticks of butter, 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, and the remaining milk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes after each addition, until icing reaches desired consistency; you may not need to add all the sugar.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in tins for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tins, and cool completely on rack. Once cupcakes have cooled, frost tops of each cupcake.
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5 Responses to Happy Birth-Day Cupcakes

  1. Debbie Liby says:

    thank you for sharing the cupcake recipe…looking forward to your Great Grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe!

  2. bryon yoder says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Magnolia cupcakes! I must try them…and follow your blog. Great job!

  3. Laura Medvic says:

    This is fabulous, Austin! I can’t wait to read future entries!

  4. Pingback: Warm Scones for (not quite) a Crowd | Mince + Dice

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