But after the "complex" cupcakes I made last week, a friend requested a vanilla cupcake. Plain vanilla. I don't get it, but being a people pleaser, I decided I'd make those vanilla cupcakes. I've made the recipe before in mini cupcakes and a cake, and since they were so good those times (even to me, the vanilla non-lover), I stuck with that recipe again.
And then I did something so uncharacteristic of me....I made (gulp!) regular-sized cupcakes. And then I decided to quarter the recipe, since I was making cupcakes for two people and didn't want tons of cupcakes (I still got 9!). But, in true fashion, I made a chocolate icing. Originally, my goal had been a vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing as I knew my friend is a huge vanilla fan, but my vanilla buttercream recipe is time-intensive and I simply didn't have the time today. Years ago I had made a really good easy chocolate icing, so I googled that, but couldn't find it. So I googled "easy chocolate buttercream" and found the icing I ended up using. It is SO good! And, I actually made it with a whisk -- I didn't even need to use a hand mixer or my kitchenaid!
For the yellow cake cupcakes, click here. Again, I divided the recipe by 4 and ended up with 9 full-sized cupcakes. That would be 36 cupcakes for a full recipe, but the original says 22-24. Someone's math is wrong, and I don't think it's mine.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream (I used skim milk, since it was all I had as I had used all the cream in my apartment to make homemade vodka sauce today)
Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed (I used a whisk and did it by hand). Turn off the mixer.
Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl.
Turn mixer onto the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter.
Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes.
If frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar/If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.