My nephew graduated from high school on Friday. His mom threw a graduation party for him on Saturday evening and I happily volunteered (actually, I insisted!) to make cupcakes! I have felt very out of sorts since moving and most of my kitchen belongings are still packed up in boxes in the garage. It was nice to pull out the KitchenAid mixer and whip up some fun treats. I find baking very relaxing and it makes me slow down and really enjoy the moment.
I also decided to decorate the cupcakes with fondant stars that I painted with edible gold glitter. I just used a box of premade fondant from the baking section of Michael's since I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't actually eat the decoration. Who likes the taste of fondant anyway? I've never met anyone that does.
I used this chocolate cake recipe and it made nearly 3 dozen cupcakes. I really liked this recipe because 1) it was simple to make and 2) it really created a light, airy, and moist cupcake. I found that 18 minutes at 350 degrees was the perfect amount of time.
For the white cupcakes, I used a recipe from a new book I bought, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns. I don't think there is any shame at all in using a boxed cake mix as the foundation for any baked good. I have made cakes/cupcakes/brownies from scratch and from a box, and find that most people can't taste a difference between homemade and box. Anyway, the white cupcakes were a big hit so I wanted to share the recipe:
White Sour Cream Cupcakes
1 package plain white cake mix
3 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream OR plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water OR orange juice
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners and set the pans aside.
Place all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. The batter should look well blended.
Spoon or scoop a heaping 1/4 cup of batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it two thirds of the way full. You will get 22 to 24 cupcakes.
Place the pans in the oven and bake the cupcakes until they are golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 23 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Place the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes longer before frosting.
Store these cupcakes in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature, for up to 3 days or for up to one week in the refrigerator. Freeze the cupcakes, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 3 months. Let the cupcakes thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
The book suggested using a cream cheese frosting for these, but I used vanilla buttercream and chocolate buttercream on both styles of cupcakes and those frostings tasted very good with each of the cupcakes.