It was almost 2 years ago that I first made cupcakes for a baby shower. They were so well received then that when I was asked to make cupcakes for a recent baby shower, I already had a pretty good idea of what I was going to make. I could’ve tried different cake and frosting flavours, but decided on vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream again (especially since it was another pink girly theme, and I had just come across some lovely organic strawberries!). I purchased fondant and made similar toppers too. Why mess with a good thing, right? The last thing you want to do is experiment, when you’re preparing for a special occasion! The most important thing was that my friend, the expectant mother, was thrilled when she saw the cupcakes (as was her toddler son)! 😁
These cupcake toppers are actually pretty easy to make. It just takes time and some creativity! To make the round discs, I used a fluted edge round cutter, and then a small round piping tip to cut out the little holes all around. I used moulds to create all the decorations like the ribbons, safety pins and storks, and then painted some with gold luster dust.
I even made cute onesie toppers with a gingerbread man cutter! After rolling out the fondant and cutting out the gingerbread man shapes, I used a sharp knife to cut off the arms (ouch! 🤣) and the base of a piping tip to cut out the neck and leg holes.
And since I baked more cupcakes than I needed, I decorated the remaining few with just buttercream and some sprinkles and gave them to another friend. Who doesn’t love a gift of cupcakes?!
VANILLA CUPCAKES WITH STRAWBERRY BUTTERCREAM
Cupcakes (Makes about 15 regular-sized cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes)
1-1/4 cups cake flour
1-1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil (vegetable or extra light olive oil will also work)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or plain kefir)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1-1/4 cups cake flour, 1-1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. Set flour mix aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 2 eggs with the whisk attachment on medium speed (15-20 seconds).
4. Add 3/4 cup sugar and continue to beat on medium speed (30 seconds).
5. Add vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed (1 minute).
6. Reduce mixer speed to medium/low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Add half of the buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk. Beat until just combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. The batter will be thin.
7. Pour batter into a lined muffin pan. Fill liners just over 1/2 full (do not overfill). For mini cupcakes, fill the liners half full.
8. Bake for 14 -16 minutes at 350°F or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean (for mini cupcakes, bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown). Let them cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then remove.
Buttercream (Makes enough to decorate 15 regular-sized cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes)
2/3 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup butter, softened (I like to use salted, to cut down on the sweetness)
3-1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted, divided
1 Tbsp meringue powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cream
1. Place strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain to remove the seeds, if desired. Transfer strawberry puree to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often, until the puree is reduced by at least half, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
2. Beat butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat 1 cup icing sugar and meringue powder into the butter until just blended.
3. Beat 2 tablespoons strawberry puree and vanilla extract into the butter mixture until just combined.
4. Repeat with 1 cup icing sugar, followed by another 2 tablespoons strawberry puree. Beat until just combined.
5. Add in another cup of icing sugar, and cream. Beat until just combined.
6. Beat the last 1/2 cup icing sugar into the frosting.
7. Beat frosting on high speed for at least another 5-7 minutes (the longer you beat it, the fluffier/creamier the consistency).
8. Once the vanilla cupcakes are cooled to room temperature, pipe on the frosting.
Note: If you are making the buttercream ahead of time, keep it in an airtight container and store in the fridge. When ready to use, simply take it out, let it come to a cool room temperature, then give it a good stir before using it. Buttercream can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.