Pretty and delicious, these cupcakes are easy to decorate with a basic buttercream icing, a Wilton 2D tip and food colouring.
For the Vanilla Cupcakes:
1 1/4cupscake flourcan use all-purpose flour, but results will not be as tender
1 1/4tspbaking powder
2largeeggsat room temperature
1 1/2tsppure vanilla extract
1/2cupcanola/vegetable or other neutral oil
1/2cupbuttermilkor 1/2 cup milk with 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice and let stand 5 minutes
For the frosting:
1-2Tbspmilk or cream
Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
For the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed for 15-20 seconds.
Add the sugar and continue beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
Reduce mixer speed to low add about 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add half of the buttermilk, then a second 1/3 of the flour mixture, the rest of the buttermilk and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Beat until combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary.
Pour batter into a lined muffin pan, dividing between the 12 muffin cups, filling to about 1/2 full.
Bake in preheated 350° F. oven 14-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. (Mine took 18 minutes to reach this point, but start checking at 14 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, them remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.
For the frosting: Fit a large icing bag with the Wilton 2D Tip. Fold down the top of the piping bag so you have a top opening of only about 3 1/2 - 4 inches. Set aside.
Make your frosting by combining all the frosting ingredients in a bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using an electric beater or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat until smooth. Add a bit more milk (if too thick) or icing sugar (if too thin) as needed to make a frosting of pipe-able consistency (holds it's shape, but is not too stiff).
Divide the frosting evenly between 3 bowls. Leave one bowl plain white. Using food colouring, colour the second bowl a light purple (lilac) and colour the third bowl a pretty cornflower blue. You don't want a huge shift in colour intensity between your two colours, so if your purple is lighter, keep your blue on the lighter side (not intense).
Take your prepared icing bag and, using your non-dominant hand, reach up under the fold and cup the top of the piping bag. Using a kitchen teaspoon, take a generous spoonful of the white icing and press it against the right side of the top opening, pressing against the inside edge of the piping bag and your hand until it sticks in place. Take a spoonful of the lilac frosting, and press a spoonful in the same manner in the middle of the inside edge. Finally, take a spoonful of the blue frosting and press a spoonful on the far right hand side. Unfold your piping bag a bit to give you some more room at the top and repeat this process with the remaining frosting, keeping the white to the left, the lilac in the middle and the blue to the right. Once all the frosting is in the bag, unfold the bag and lay on a flat surface. Use the full length of your hand to evenly more the frosting down towards the tip (so all three colours move down evenly. If frosting has warmed a bit from all the handling, pop the whole bag in the fridge for 5 minutes to firm up before frosting.
To frost the cupcakes, twist the top of the piping bag and squeeze until the frosting reaches the tip. Pipe out a few florets on to a paper towel, until you see all 3 colours coming out. Working with completely cooled cupcakes, start piping large florets around the outside of the cupcake, then fill in the middle completely. You don't want any space between them. They should flow in to each other, so keep squeezing your icing bag until the icing meets up with the floret next to it. Continue to ice all cupcakes.