When it comes to cupcakes, or any dessert actually, do we really need more than 2-3 bites? I think not. I love all desserts mini – I cut brownies into squares and then in half in triangles. I love mini cookies that cook more quickly and let’s be honest, are cuter than giant cookies.
These mini cupcakes are really all you need for a cupcake fix, and they are the perfect size for kids’ birthdays and other celebrations. Plus, mini cupcakes bake in almost half the time. Don’t you hate it when you’re cleaning up after a party and you see a sad and abandoned half eaten cupcake? I know I do. Problem solved.
I know a lot of people turn to a boxed mix and/or canned frosting for cupcakes – I for one used to, until I realized how easy homemade cupcakes and frostings are to make. Added bonuses? They taste better and you most likely have all ingredients on hand – no special trip needed to the store for cake mix.
These vanilla cupcake and frosting recipes are my go-tos. The frosting is a classic buttercream recipe that is incredibly light and fluffy. The key to the cupcake is cake flour (or a substitution – see recipe below) and sifting your dry ingredients. I’ve tried recipes with regular flour and whisking, not sifting, and I’ve ended up with a dense cupcake, not a soft cupcake. I will take soft over dense any day, in cupcakes and beyond.
You start with the sifting – I have an old school hand crank sifter, but a strainer does the trick as well.
Next you cream your butter and sugar, add the vanilla and eggs, and add the flour and milk until you have a thick and creamy batter.
Divide evenly among 48 mini cupcake tins – thank goodness for liners. Buttering and flouring mini cupcakes is not fun.
Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool in the pan  for 5 minutes then turn out on the cooling rack to completely cool.
Your buttercream frosting should be thick and creamy – yum.
Frost the completely cooled cupcakes. Sometimes I like to pipe, and sometimes I like to frost with an offset spatula . This day I piped. Enjoy!
Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Makes 48 mini cupcakes
For the cupcakes
1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 cups cake flour (No cake flour? For a quick substitution, measure out 2 cups all purpose flour, remove 4 tablespoons of the flour, and add 4 tablespoons corn starch. Sift 3 times.)
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
For the frosting
1 cup butter, softened
3-4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
up to 4 tablespoons milk
Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl  and set aside. With an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add vanilla, then eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down bowl  as necessary. With mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and beat until well combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan  and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool.
Make the frosting. Beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes until creamy. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and beat on low until the butter has absorbed the sugar. Increase the mixer to medium speed and add vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons of milk. Beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes. If the frosting is too stiff, add more milk. If it’s too loose, add more sugar. Decorate cupcakes.
Looking for more cupcake recipes? Try these:
Plan B Mom is a mostly-stay-at-home mom of 3 who works from home but sees her main job as managing her family. When she is not taking care of her 13-year old and 11-year old girls, 9- year old son, yellow lab, and husband – she is baking, running, carpooling, or helping with homework. She tries to stay organized to keep life running smoothly – or at least catastrophes at bay. Follow her on Twitter at @PlanBMom .