(Better Than Boxed Mix) Cupcakes + Icing

It’s time to be honest – when the time comes for you to make a cake or cupcakes, do you turn to your great Aunt Betty or Uncle Duncan’s tried, tested, and true recipe? Many of us do, but its usually not for the taste; it’s for the convenience.  Adding 3 eggs, 1/3 c oil, and 1 1/3 c water to the (mystery) contents in the red box and then mixing for 30 seconds is pretty easy, I will admit.  However, every now and then it’s a good idea to actually know what you’re eating.  All cake mixes contain flour, sugar, and some sort of leavener…pretty standard stuff.  However, they also contain Dextrose, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Gum, Artificial Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Colored with (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake). YUMMY! Suddenly, Aunt Betty’s or Uncle Duncan’s “secret recipe” isn’t so appealing, is it?

I set out to make cupcakes that were as easy as a boxed mix, but with ingredients even a pre-schooler could pronounce.  Don’t believe I could do it?

Watch me.

Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.  So far, so good.

Whisk or sift together 1.5 c flour, 1 c sugar, 1.5 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Add 1/2 c softened butter, 1/2 c sour cream, 1 egg, 2 egg yolks, and 1.5 tsp vanilla. All at once, to the dry ingredients.  How easy is this?!?!

Beat at medium speed until the batter is mostly smooth, about 30 seconds.

Do you see the flour that hasn’t been mixed in yet? It’s no big deal; just scrape the sides down with a spatula and stir until any remaining flour pockets have been incorporated.

Divide the batter amongst 12 regular sized muffin cups, or whatever pan you decide to use.  I used a medium-sized muffin tin and got about 22 cupcakes out of it.

Bake @ 350-degrees for 15-24 minutes (depending on the size pan you’re using).

Check it out!

Cupcakes that are as quick to whip up as a mix but are made with only natural ingredients? Yes Please!

Now that we’ve established that it IS in fact possible to make better tasting and better-for-you cupcakes, let’s talk about icing.  It would never occur to me to use a recipe for icing – I usually just whip up some butter, icing sugar, milk, and vanilla until I reach the desired consistency.  However, a while ago I stumbled upon a recipe for icing that sounded so strange I knew I had to try it.  Are you ready for this?

Here’s what you need:

Milk, Flour, Vanilla, Butter, and Sugar.

Whisk 5 TBSP of flour into 1 c of milk and cook until it thickens up.  Bizarre, right?

I felt like I was making play-doh.  Inedible play-doh.

So I added a tsp of vanilla, to at least make it smell good.

Let this mixture cool completely – if you’re in a hurry you can stick it in the fridge.

When it’s cool, put 1 c of granulated sugar (no, not icing sugar , and yes, I’m sure) and 1 c of softened butter into your mixer.

Time to whip it! Whip it good!

It’s time to add the cooled & cooked flour-milk-vanilla mixture. Go ahead, don’t be shy!

You guessed right…just beat it! Beat it! Beat it! Beat it! Beat it!

I’ll stop. You should have the idea by now.

When it looks similar to whipped cream, it’s ready!

Hmmm…it LOOKS good, but how does it taste?

This. Is. Delicious. Not too sweet, super creamy, and very easy to work with. Make this today, and then bring me a piece of cake, ok? PLEASE????


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