Vanilla Sprinkle-Dip Cupcakes

In my son’s six-year-old mind, there is no better treat than anything loaded with sprinkles. The multicolored kind, if possible – a sundae, doughnut or cupcake will do – after all, they’re simply vehicles for the sprinkles. And so last time I made cupcakes, rather than give them a mere sprinkle, I doused the tops in a shallow dish of sprinkles. Sprinkle-dip cupcakes look great, especially to the under-ten set, and relieve the decorator of any pressure to delicately apply frosting. It’s all just delicious glue for the almighty sprinkle.

You could, of course, use this technique with any type of cupcake-frosting combo, but I myself am a fan of the simple vanilla on vanilla cupcake, and like the paleness as a blank canvas for all those brightly colored sprinkles.

To make chocolate cupcakes, swap 1/2 cup of the flour for unsweetened cocoa powder; ditto the frosting (go for about 1/4 cup cocoa in place of 1/4 cup of the icing sugar).

Vanilla Sprinkle-Dip Cupcakes

adapted from Paula Deen

1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until well blended and fluffy; add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in the vanilla.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add a third to the butter mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Add half the milk, then another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the milk and the rest of the flour. Beat just until smooth. (It may look curdled along the way – don’t worry, it will all work out fine.)

Spoon the batter into baking cups, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting: beat butter until smooth and fluffy; add half the sugar, then the milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth, gradually adding the rest of the sugar until you have something with a frosting consistency. Spread over the cupcakes and if you like, fill a shallow dish with sprinkles and dip the cupcakes in, icing first. Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

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