These are our go-to vanilla cupcakes. They are perfect for celebrations as well as creating your own small moment of joy.
I don’t make cupcakes very often. In fact, most of the time that I make them it’s at the request of my younger son, now 11.
Just today, which happens to be the second day of summer vacation, he asked if we could make them. My older son, 13, immediately chimed in and said “Yes! We can make them for the World Cup game.” (Sweden vs. USA)
This was a fun reason to make them, although I would have made them for no reason at all other than to create our own small moment of joy. And seriously, when your tween and teen both choose baking over screen time, that’s a moment of joy right there!
So a few minutes later, the three of us were at work in the kitchen. But first, I had to pull out my go-to vanilla cupcakes recipe. As I retrieved my well-worn recipe, I realized it was time to bring this recipe to halsanutrition.com.
Cupcakes for Health
Similar to the Cod Nuggets recipe, upon first glance this may not seem like the healthiest recipe, after all, it contains sugar, oil, butter, and flour. However, if you have been following my blog or Instagram, you know that health is not just about how healthy you eat. In fact, trying to eat “healthy” all the time can be unhealthy as it can lead to unnecessary stress and preoccupation with food.
I believe there is no such thing as good or bad food. Rather, you have to step back and look at the whole picture. My advice: aim to eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods, plenty of plants, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Cut back on added sugar in the everyday foods you eat and instead save that sugar for homemade cupcakes, cookies, and cakes. But most importantly, don’t stress too much about it all–a little sugar, food coloring, or white flour every now and then is just fine.
This advice is especially important to remember when you have kids. Kids are naturally intuitive eaters. But making foods off-limits or telling kids how much they should eat can lead to disordered eating habits. Instead, if you are having cupcakes, let them eat and enjoy. If it’s between meals and they seem a little extra hungry, put out some other snacks alongside the cupcakes, such as nuts, veggies or pretzels with avocado yogurt dip, spring rolls, or even just glasses of cold milk.
Go-To Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup avocado, grapeseed or canola oil
- 1/2 cup plain kefir or buttermilk
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Put cupcake liners into 16 muffin tins.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, add eggs and beat on medium-high with an electric mixer for 20 seconds. Add sugar and beat on medium speed for another 30 seconds. Add vanilla and oil and beat on medium speed until combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and the kefir and mix until combined.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling until 1/2-2/3 full.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
- Let cool for a few minutes and then remove and transfer to a wire rack. Frost when completely cool.
To Make Frosting
- To a large mixing bowl or standing mixer bowl, add the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Beat at low speed to combine and then on medium to high speed for about 2 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. Add more milk, one teaspoon at a time, if needed.
- To make colored frosting: add a few drops of food coloring and combine. Or try using beet or wild blueberry juice for natural coloring.To make chocolate frosting: add 2 ounces of melted, unsweetened chocolate and beat until combined.
- Frost cupcakes and enjoy!