I made cupcakes over the weekend for my bestfriend’s birthday. She didn’t want anything fancy- no nuts, no espresso, no chocolate chips. A no frills cupcake. I’m not used to simple; I like to spruce things up with different textures, flavor combinations, and the occasional addition of something fancy- like cacao nibs. But it was her birthday, so I made her a simple, yet classic cupcake combination- vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. These cupcakes may be simple, but they don’t fail in the flavor department.

My girlfriend and I enjoyed these cupcakes while watching a movie and chatting about the different goings-on in our lives. We may be adults now, but these cupcakes transported us back to our childhood. As I was licking the frosting off of my cupcake, an abundant amount of childhood memories penetrated my thoughts. Funny how food links us to our past. Thoughts of fun themed parties with cone hats, matching table accessories, piñatas, streamers, pin the tale on the donkey, and water balloon fights (I had a summer birthday). Those were good times. Now we’re adults and have responsibilities, but we can still let loose and have a cupcake on occasion, or daily.

Mmmm, look at all of that butter. It’s what makes this cupcake moist and tender. I eat, sleep, and dream butter. I think I may have a problem. Like I said before, this cake is simple and doesn’t require an excessive amount of ingredients. You probably have all of these items in your pantry.

See that scoop? It’s the best cupcake batter scooper. I used to make an enormous mess trying to get the batter into each individual tin. I’ve been mess free (I’m fibbing. I still have an issue with flour.) since I discovered this handy tool. It’s not just for ice-cream.

I had all I could do to resist eating the cupcakes before frosting them. I have absolutely no will power. None! I ended up eating one. It was good.

The frosting line up. I know there’s a can of cacao nibs in the picture. I didn’t use them, but I wanted to put them in the picture as an option for any one who would like to fancy up there cupcakes. The cacao nibs can be ground in a food processor or spice/coffee grinder and placed in the batter for some extra chocolatey flavor and crunch. My best friend doesn’t like fancy, unless it’s a pair of shoes.

This frosting is so delicious that you’ll find yourself licking the bowl clean. It’s creamy, velvety, smooth, and chocolatey. I’m not going to lie, I totally licked the bowl clean. I’m not even ashamed.

Frosting cupcakes is my favorite. I love how the frosting looks like twirly cloud puffs on top of the cupcakes.

Sprinkles! I think they’re so much fun. They make me feel like a kid inside. Enjoy!

P.S.- Don’t be like me and shove the entire cupcake in your mouth.

Love and sweet treats,

The Messy Baker

adapted from Alice’s Tea Cup


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans.

In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 5-7 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Then add the vanilla, and mix until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the dry mixture gradually, alternating with the milk. Scrape down the mixing bowl after every addition and mix just until smooth.

Fill the cake pans evenly with the batter and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Place the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 tbs. light corn syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup heavy cream, more if needed

1 tbs. cacao nibs, grinned to a semi-course crumb (optional)

In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter. Add corn syrup and vanilla, and mix until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder, alternating with the heavy cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until the frosting is smooth. If needed, add more cream to get the right texture.