Ridiculously fluffy, perfectly soft vanilla cupcakes, topped with vanilla icing and filled with a secret sprinkle surprise.
Happy Monday everyone. How was your weekend? It’s a public holiday here in Hong Kong, so for us it still feels like a Sunday. The holiday is for the Chung Yeung festival, a day for ancestor worship where families flock to graves to clean them and give respect to their relatives. Today also marks the start of our half term break. I can’t tell you how happy I am that the holidays are here!
We’re dog sitting this week, and we’re loving having a little furry friend around the house again. To be woken up by less than subtle snuffling and sniffing at the bedroom door reminding us that she’s there and ready to be taken out, and then the explosion of tail wagging energy and beaming doggy smiles as we open the door to say good morning really starts the day off well.
These cupcakes are suitably festive to match my half term mood. Like mini piñata cakes, they’re filled with a surprise sprinkle centre. They’re really fun to bite into, and its great to watch the faces of people who eat them and don’t know they’re going to find sprinkles inside! I think these would also make great baby gender reveal cupcakes if you were to fill them with pink or blue sprinkles. They’d also make great cakes at a wedding, filled with sprinkles that match the wedding colours. In fact, I wish I’d thought of that before our own wedding!
The cupcakes themselves are the lightest vanilla cupcakes I’ve ever baked. Usually when I’m making vanilla cupcakes I’ll base them on the sponge mix I’ve used since childhood. For these though, I wanted them to be a bit lighter, and I wanted to have that pale white cupcake against the bright, cheerful sprinkles. To achieve that super white cake, the recipe only uses egg whites. The fat that is lost through the removal of the egg yolks comes from the sour cream. I love using sour cream in baking. Its a magical ingredient that makes cakes richer whilst improving the texture. Don’t worry, you can’t taste it at all in the finished cupcakes. The bicarbonate of soda is going to netrulize the acid in the sour cream as it using it to rise, so that will take away any tangy taste.
The vanilla flavour in the cupcakes comes both from vanilla extract and the seeds of a vanilla pod. This gives them a really intense vanilla flavour, like a really good vanilla ice cream. Yum!
– recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
– If you don’t have any vanilla pods to hand, you can just use the vanilla extract, but the vanilla taste won’t be quite as strong.
- ---- for the cupcakes
- 200g plain flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 115g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- seeds scraped from ½ of a vanilla pod
- 120g full-fat sour cream
- 120ml milk
- ---- for the vanilla icing
- 230g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 480g icing sugar
- 60ml double cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / 350F. Line a deep cupcake or muffin tin with paper cases. You should be able to get about 14 cupcakes out of the mixture.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, cream the butter until its soft and pale. Add in the sugar and beat to combine. Add in the egg whites, vanilla extract, sour cream and seeds from your vanilla pod. Beat until everything is combined, then slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing as you go. Finally, pour in the milk and mix until combined.
- Spoon into your cupcake cases, filling the case three quarters full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 19-22 minutes, until the cupcakes are risen and just starting to turn golden (these are very pale cupcakes so you're not looking for a golden brown finish), and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes completely. Once cool, take a small knife and remove a small section from the centre of each cupcake top. Fill these with sprinkles until the sprinkles are flush with the top of the cake.
- To make the vanilla icing, beat the butter until its smooth and pale. Sift in the icing sugar, and add the double cream and vanilla extract. Beat until everything is well combined. Taste, and adjust with a little salt if too sweet. If you find the mixture is too runny, add a little more icing sugar. Likewise if its too stiff, add a splash more double cream. Spread onto your cupcakes with a small palette knife. Top with more sprinkles.