Yesterday was Lucy’s birthday. Lucy is my son’s best friend (although once your 7 I don’t know if it’s cool for a boy to call his girl his ‘best friend’). Our families are close and the kids are like siblings. When I asked what we could bring to her birthday dinner last night, she requested cupcakes. I was honored to be making her birthday cakes so, I got to work.
Years ago I copied down the recipe for Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. This small storefront on Bleeker Street in New York has been around for a long time. Thanks to Carrie Bradshaw and Saturday Night Live, they’ve become synonymous with the cupcake. They were, in fact, making them long before the $4 cupcake craze began. Their bakery is my favorite kind-old school baked goods from banana pudding to icebox cakes, and of course the window ledge brimming with cupcakes.
I have had this recipe for ages (can’t remember where I got it) and wanted to try it so I got it out yesterday and went to work. It couldn’t be easier! I played with the frosting a bit and, in the end, was very happy with the results. The cupcakes stayed nice and moist and the frosting was light, airy, and buttery without being sickeningly sweet. Next time you need your Magnolia fix, give ’em a try. I’ll tell you after our meal last night, they go especially well with perfectly fried chicken!
Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temp
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temp
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until very smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk, one third of each at a time, mixing on low speed just until the ingredients are incorporated. Transfer the batter to the cupcake tins, filling each no more than three-quarters full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the pans on racks for 5 minutes then remove the cupcakes and cool completely before frosting.
1 cup butter, room temp
8 cups powdered sugar (yep, that’s two full boxes)
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 ounce melted unsweetened chocolate, optional for chocolate frosting
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix until the frosting is very light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. If white frosting is desired, use as is. For colored frosting, separate the frosting into smaller bowls and stir in very small amounts of food coloring (for the pink and blue above I used about 1/2 drop). For chocolate frosting, separate out 1/2 to 1/3 of the frosting into a bowl and mix in half of the melted chocolate to start-taste, adding more chocolate as needed plus an extra pinch of salt.
Frost the cupcakes and if using sprinkles for decoration, add them as soon as the frosting gets on the cupcake or it hardens up a bit and they won’t stick.
Happy Birthday Lucy!