A First Birthday & Vanilla Cupcakes

Last weekend we celebrated the first birthday of one of my favorite people, WJP.  He's made an appearance on the blog before and is a regular guest at our gatherings and the only person who trusts me and Rob to babysit for him (well, his parents trust us... he doesn't have much say in the matter).  I adore WJP.  He is all smiles and big blue eyes.

While WJP may tolerate my babysitting, he made it clear at the party that he does not likes my baking.  He was most upset by the "smash cake" and not only did he not smash it, but he wanted nothing to do with it.  One taste of frosting was enough to cause a minor meltdown.  Alas, the other guests didn't seem to mind my baking and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the vanilla cupcakes.  The recipe couldn't be easier (one bowl!) and the end result is a simple, moist cake.  It is a great vehicle for any type of frosting - I made vanilla frosting but chocolate or cream cheese frosting would be tasty, too.  The vanilla frosting recipe I used wasn't anything to write home about so I haven't included it. 

I also made Red Velvet Cupcakes from Alexandra Cooks and we decorated the cupcakes with sprinkles and these adorable dinosaur toppers and cupcake wrappers.

One-Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose flour and they turned out just fine - but if you have cake flour, go for it)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake tins with baking papers.  Place the butter in a medium, heatproof bowl placed over a pot of gently simmering water.  When the butter is just melted, whisk in the brown sugar.  Let cool to lukewarm temperature, about 4 minutes.

Whisk the eggs into the mixture.  Add the milk, vanilla, baking powder, and salt; whisk to combine.  Whisk in the flour until evenly combined.

Fill each baking paper two-thirds full.  Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes.