Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Aren't rainbow sprinkles just happy and festive? My niece turned 6 a couple of weeks ago and, like any human, is obsessed with rainbow sprinkles. Obviously she needed these at her birthday party. 

Truthfully, I've been eyeing this Funfetti recipe from a cookbook Kent gave me. It's called Baked Occasions and on the cover is a tiered Funfetti cake. It's glorious as a cake, but thought cupcakes were a bit more appropriate for a kiddie party. 

I’ve made many homemade vanilla cakes before but wanted to make this recipe for a couple of reasons: 1. They had me at vanilla extract. Have you seen the amount of vanilla called for? That’s right, it’s two TABLESPOONS, not teaspoons, and no I didn’t change that. That’s what these guys use and I was impressed. 2. The frosting is a unique recipe that I’ve never seen before, so I was intrigued. It involved cooking milk, sugar and flour together until it boils, then beating (which cools it down) and adding the butter. It ended up having the consistency and creaminess of the Swiss MeringueFrosting I like so much, but may be a bit easier to work with (although I had my issues with it too…).

The temperamental frosting may have been a bit of human error (not really paying attention to a pot of creamy boiling liquid) as well as a bit of confusion about the temperature of the butter. Nonetheless, I was able to fix my errors and have included how you can avoid making my same mistakes. But if you do make my mistakes, I've given you the answers on how to fix them!

nice and smooth!

Funfetti Cupcakes

Recipe barely adapted from Baked Occasion by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Makes 36 regular-sized cupcakes

Recipe Notes-
- This recipe is originally for a 3-tiered 8-inch cake, which it could still be; I just decided to make cupcakes instead.
- Initially the cake batter called for half shortening and half butter, but since I don’t have shortening on-hand, I used all butter and it tasted moist and delicious.
- The cake is light and fluffy, mainly because at the end of making the batter, you add stiffened egg whites, which imparts a delicate airiness.

For the vanilla cake:
2 ½ Cups cake flour
¾ Cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¾ Cups granulated sugar
2 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 Large egg
1 Cup ice-cold water
½ Cup whole milk
½ Cup buttermilk, well shaken
3 Large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 Cup rainbow sprinkles

For the vanilla frosting:
1 ½ Cups granulated sugar
1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ Cups whole milk
1/3 Cup heavy cream
3 sticks (12 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ Cups rainbow sprinkles

For the vanilla cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and prepare the cupcake/muffin pans with liners.
2. In a medium bowl whisk the dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until combined.
4. In a small bowl combine the water, milk and buttermilk together.
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer, alternating with the milk mixture, ending with the dry mixture. Scrape the bowl as needed.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks are visible. Then, gently fold the egg whites and sprinkles into the cake batter.
7. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each cupcake about three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 7-10 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then remove cupcakes from pan to cool completely.

For the vanilla frosting:
1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan whisk the flour and sugar until there are no lumps. Add the milk and heavy cream over medium-heat and whisk until the mixture comes to a boil and has the consistency of a light pudding (this should take about 10-15 minutes. Mine burned a bit on the bottom, so I poured it through a fine-mesh strainer to take out the lumps and burned bits- see above picture).
2. Pour the thickened mixture into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until the mixture cools (may take about 8-10 minutes, or you can cool it down with bags of frozen fruit and veggies around the bowl [see above picture]). 
3. Cut the butter into chunks and, on low speed, slowly add the butter one piece at a time until each piece is incorporated. Then increase the speed to high until the frosting is thickened and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
If the frosting is too soft, place the bowl in the refrigerator to let set up. Beat it again until it can hold its shape. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until spreadable.
4. Assemble the cupcakes by frosting each one with an offset spatula. In a small bowl, place the rainbow sprinkles and gently press each frosted cupcake into the sprinkles. Serve at room temperature. The cupcakes will last 3 days in an airtight container (if your kitchen is hot though, store them in the refrigerator).

** If the frosting separates and curdles, all hope is not lost. Here is what I researched:
“The biggest threat a buttercream faces is temperature. If the frosting appears soupy and slippery, it’s likely grown too warm. Plunge the bowl into an ice bath and whisk briskly until the icing becomes silky and cohesive again. If the buttercream resembles fine-curd cottage cheese and slides about in the bowl, it’s likely too cold (from cold butter or a chilly ambient temperature). Wrap a steaming hot dish towel, turbanlike, around the bowl to heat it up and whisk or stir it with a wooden spoon to bring the icing back to its shiny, satiny self.”  
- March, 2001 Cook’s Illustrated

I think my butter may have been too cold for the mixture so it didn’t fully incorporate. I dumped the frosting all into a large glass bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water and watched it all melt down together. Then I poured it back into the stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) and beat it on high until it thickened up (I also put bags of frozen fruits around the bowl to cool it faster) and was the perfect, spreadable consistency.


  1. I can understand why children like those bright colors. I'd almost swear they are a "newer" invention. Growing up, all we had were the chocolate "jimmies" for ice cream.

    1. I still love the chocolate one's though....

  2. Such a delicious and fun cake!

    1. Thank you Aubrey! Glad you liked them.

  3. Beautiful Colors- the favorite of any kid- small and tall. Jimmies or Sprinkles- they are tun and delicious. Great pictures Trish.

    1. Couldn't agree more, Amy, they are fun for all ages! And thank you for the photography compliment- I'm working on it!!