Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

I’ve always loved Funfetti cupcakes, although I’m skeptical of all the added ingredients in most box mixes. So when I came across this super simple recipe on one of my all-time FAVORITE food blogs, Lovin’ from the Oven (seriously, check it out), I knew I had to give it a try.

The cupcakes are really easy to put together, and plain yogurt is substituted for part of the butter, so the final result is a cupcake that tastes amazing, is super moist, and is better for you. I swear, most baked goods taste better with yogurt instead of butter (case in point: Ina Garten’s lemon yogurt cake). They don’t rise very much in the oven though, so if you fill the pan liners enough you should probably yield about 12. You’ll also get a ton of frosting from this recipe, so I would recommend cutting it in half or doubling the cupcake recipe.

Funfetti Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 XL egg whites
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/8 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • a handful of rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Mix together in a bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together melted butter and sugar until combined. Add egg whites and beat until mixture is smooth and light. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the yogurt. Gently fold in sprinkles, if using. Scoop batter into prepared tins.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, until cupcakes are barely golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with a couple of loose crumbs. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in tins. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I’ll admit that the frosting wasn’t my favorite for these particular cupcakes, so if you want to substitute a buttercream recipe, I’m sure they would also be totally delicious! The cream cheese frosting is really rich and a bit heavy, so it overwhelms the cupcake a bit.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • About 1/3 cup and 3 T of softened butter
  • 10 oz cream cheese
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat butter and cream cheese together until well blended. Mix in the vanilla. Gradually incorporate the powdered sugar into the batter. Beat until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if necessary to get the desired consistency.

Happy baking!!

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America’s Cupcake Obsession

Georgetown Cupcake | D.C.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or your town is strangely deprived of bakeries), a quick glance around makes it clear that cupcakes are in style right now — and in a huge way. I see cupcake shops popping up almost everywhere I go, with store windows decked out in folds of tulle and plenty of pink and signs adorned with pretty script. Shows like D.C. Cupcakes and Cupcakes Wars are airing on TLC and The Food Network. So, what’s up with this trend? (Which I know isn’t so new, but it still warrants a mention here.)

Sprinkles Cupcakes | Los Angeles

I have nothing against cupcakes. I love cupcakes. And my recent visit to the now-famous Georgetown Cupcake only helped to solidify the relationship between consumer and cupcake. (Fun fact: they sell between 6,000 and 12,000 cupcakes per day and, at $2.75 a piece, they are some of the least expensive cupcakes around.) The industry surrounding cupcakes, however, I find a little unsettling, and I can’t help but wonder what the deal is with cupcakes being so trendy in recent years. Something about it bothers me — maybe because they’ve become so popular that they’re no longer original or fun anymore. When something becomes mainstream, it risks losing its allure. (It also strikes me as a fairly sexist business, but that’s a different story.)

Magnolia Bakery | New York City

So, naturally, I read up on the cupcake phenomenon. Some place the blame on Sex and the City. Thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker’s cupcake stop at Magnolia Bakery on Bleeker Street, the area (and its cupcakes) have become increasingly popular over the years. Others find the cupcake boom to be a bi-product of the recession, and therefore claim that the industry is not economically viable. In an article entitled “The Cupcake Bubble” by Daniel Gross, the author, quoting a colleague, wrote:

“Their economic rationale withstands any and all conditions. When the economy is going well, people can afford little extras like cupcakes. When the economy isn’t going well, people can afford only cupcakes.” Indeed, they are being pitched as affordable luxuries. In an age when discretionary, feel-good spending is at a nadir, cupcake bakeries are trying to persuade people to trade up from cheaper sugar-delivery vehicles (such as, say, a doughnut).

He also proposed that people find comfort in the in-complexity of cupcakes in an increasingly complex world, especially food-wise (because, apparently, new and exotic flavors of dark chocolate confuse customers?). Both of these arguments are valid, but the first is much more likely. I still love cupcakes, but the business has become a little too prominent for it to be special anymore, especially with many new cupcake shops opening up daily.

Vanilla Bake Shop | Santa Monica

But the fact remains: they are undeniably delicious and charming. (Although in some cases they are vastly overpriced and taste like cardboard.) The cupcake will always be a go-to treat for many people, myself included — but the cupcake craze needs to stop. Cupcakes aren’t so cute anymore when they’re on every street corner.

Thoughts? What is your opinion on the cupcake trend? Do you think it’s here to stay?

{Sources: Georgetown Cupcake image courtesy of Ahn Tran, via theeagleonline.com. Spinkles image via whitenoise.net. Magnolia bakery cupcakes image taken by Alison Krause. Vanilla Bake Shop image taken by Sam Kim. All images accessed via Google Images.}

chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. Try saying that five times fast.

Yeah, it’s a mouthful. No pun intended! (Okay, fine. Pun completely intended. I even spent a good three minutes setting that one up!)

But seriously, bad jokes aside — these cupcakes are too die for. For some reason, my friends and I all have an incurable obsession with cookie dough. It’s delicious and honestly who wants chocolate chip cookies? The batter is ten times better! (Try saying that five times fast too!) But I digress.

When my friend first proposed the idea of making these, I scoured the blogosphere for a good recipe to try out. Many called for baking the cupcakes first and cutting a hole in the baked cupcake to insert the cookie dough, but I wanted to find a recipe where the dough was actually baked inside the cupcake. I finally came across this recipe on Lovin’ From the Oven. (Well, it’s actually three separate recipes she compiled from various sites. This girl’s a genius!) They are not nearly as beautifully decorated as hers, as I am not skilled (at all!) with piping frosting. I can assure you they tasted heavenly though!

I used these adorable cupcake holders, which you can’t really make out on the finished cupcake. If you doubled the holders, though, I’m sure you would be able to see the pattern clearly.

You can see the cookie dough center here (although it blends in with the cake somewhat). I would recommend using mini chocolate chips if you can, as the larger chips can be a bit much. Also, the frosting is divine. A little sweet, but it balances the cupcake quite nicely and is fluffy and has the perfect subtle hint of cookie dough. Don’t skimp on this stuff!

The recipe I used was for 12 cupcakes, so I doubled all the ingredients to make 24. You will want to make the eggless cookie dough (for the filling and in the frosting) the night before. With the doubled recipe, I set aside about 3/4 cup — 1 cup dough (if you want a stronger cookie dough flavor use more) for the frosting and put that in the fridge. I then added the chocolate chips to the batter and rolled out 24 balls of dough and put those in the freezer overnight. You have to make sure they’re frozen before you make these, otherwise they’ll bake in the oven if they’re not cold enough!

Another thing I found was that I had a lot of extra cupcake batter (because the dough balls in the cupcakes displace some of the batter) and plenty of frosting (perhaps from doubling the recipe?) so if you want to make more cupcakes, make a little extra cookie dough and you’ll probably get 5-10 more, depending on how much batter you put in the cupcake holders.

These cupcakes require a little extra work than your run-of-the-mill chocolate and vanilla treats, but they are well worth the effort!

{ Source: Images by me. Please feel free to use — just leave a credit/link! }