On a side note, I've made these with cake mix before, and they turned out great.. but the vanilla cupcake recipe I used here was so good, I had to share! I found this little gem buried in my 700 page Bon Appetit Dessert cookbook, and I am so glad I found it! It makes for deliciously vanilla-y, moist cupcakes, and they come together in a jiffy. Yes, I really just said jiffy. The swirl of crazy colors (and how cool they looked already!) made me refrain from topping them with frosting, as a dusting of powdered sugar seemed to fit them well. But, I can tell you that if/when I open my own bakery, these will definitely be topped by a little cloud of buttercream vanilla frosting... pure white, of course. Depending on the occasion, you may or may not top them with icing, and I won't even judge if you decide to use ready-made frosting from the store. I mean, if you're baking with little kids, who has the time and patience? They'll be delicious anyways.
adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts
Yields: about 12 cupcakes
1 1/3 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup skim milk
3 large egg whites, at room temp
2 tablespoons light sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
food coloring in various colors; I used blue, yellow, green, red, and purple
Preheat the oven to 350F; line 12 regular muffin cups with liners, set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a (slightly large) measuring cup, mix together milk, egg whites, sour cream, and vanilla, whisking until completely incorporated.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture, starting and ending with the flour, and beating on low in-between additions.
Divide batter into several small bowls, as many as the colors you want to do. I did 5 colors, so I divided the batter equally into 5 containers! Add in food coloring to the divided batter until you reach the desired coloring. Drop batter by spoonfuls into the prepared muffin pan, layering colors. If desired, swirl using a toothpick. Don't swirl too much, or the colors will mix together!
Bake cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely, then top with some powdered sugar (or white frosting) and enjoy!
How cute is this?! Your kids will LOVE you if you let them make crazy colored cupcakes like this... how could they not? :)