Ahhh, the vanilla cupcake—a baker’s classic. It’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t have fond memories of a vanilla cupcake, even if they’re one of those people who doesn’t like cake. All that being said, it comes as no surprise that there is actually an entire day devoted to this heavenly pastry. November 10th is the lucky day that claimed this title and I could think of no other way to enjoy this day than to dig into my cupcake recipe archives, pull out my favorite one, and bake, bake, bake away!
In honor of the day, I decided to make some vanilla cupcakes with a twist. I started with one of my favorite recipes from Food Network—with a few of my own changes, of course. I baked a small batch of just a half dozen, leaving my mess small but not impeding on my imagination of endless decorations.
Obviously, I busted out the Christmas themed liners even though we’re still about six weeks away from the best day of the year. I’m just getting into the holiday spirit a little bit early, no judgements, I hope!
After I baked the cupcakes and let them cool completely, I was ready to decorate. I decided these would be cupcakes with a unique surprise in the middle of each, so I began by hollowing out the center of the cupcake. They make “cupcake hollowers” for this, but I used a knife (carefully) and it worked just the same! Make sure to scoop out a little bit of the cake in the middle to make room for your fillings of choice.
The first is a starry take on my favorite cupcake of all time—funfetti! I stuffed the center with assorted pastel sprinkles in the shape of stars and replaced the center cutout on top of the filling before topping the cupcake with a swirl of classic vanilla buttercream and an extra sprinkle of sparkle from the stars to top it all off!
**Disclaimer: I made these on a college budget AKA I used what I had on hand for the buttercream. Honestly, it had a weird consistency this time even though it tasted good and has come out perfectly in the past. My advice is to just follow a recipe exactly to get the light, fluffy texture that buttercream should usually be.
My love for strawberries appeared in full in the center of the next cupcake. I stuffed this one with strawberry preserves before topping it off with the same vanilla buttercream and some sprinkles—because why not? In the end it kind of tasted like a jelly doughnut, which honestly made it ten times tastier.
The final variation I made on the vanilla cupcake featured my favorite food of all time. I love peanut butter. It’s actually an obsession. I’m pretty positive I clean out a jar of it every week and I’m certainly not mad about it! In this last cupcake, I mixed some PB2 peanut butter powder into the OG vanilla buttercream—which actually fixed the consistency! Then, I filled the cupcake with freshly ground, all-natural peanut butter from my local grocery store. The slight roast and saltiness to the peanuts perfectly complements the sweetness of the vanilla cake, creating an absolutely surreal journey for my tastebuds.
Don’t let this holiday be the one that got away! It’s a perfect reason to bake the day away and make all of the fun, creative variations on the classic vanilla cupcake that has been such a staple to most, if not all of our lives. Happy Vanilla Cupcake Day, celebrate by licking the bowl clean and sneaking an extra spoonful of frosting. And also sprinkles. Never forget the sprinkles.