There’s Something About Pink Cupcakes …

When I see a pink cake or cupcake, it brings me back to my childhood (pink was my favorite color).  I can still fondly recall a pink bunny birthday cake covered in coconut flakes!

These vanilla cupcakes are moist with a tender crumb.  I tinted the buttercream with just a touch of pink color gel.  Depending on the texture of your buttercream, the swirls can be either easy, or a bit challenging to perfect.  Practice makes perfect and my first few batches tasted way better than they looked!

To me, this is the perfect pink cupcake!

Double Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
Recipe adapted from


  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar (I took 2 tablespoons out to cut down on the sweetness)
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (or one whole bean if you can spare it)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Cut open and scrape out the seeds of a vanilla bean.  Place the seeds, empty bean, and the milk into a small saucepan.  Heat to just under a simmer for a few minutes being careful not to scald the milk.  Remove from heat and allow the milk to steep and cool. (Be sure to remove the bean after it cools)
  3. Beat the butter for about 3 minutes on medium speed, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and beat for 30 seconds.  Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each
  4. In one bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In another whisk together the vanilla steeped milk, vanilla extract, and sour cream
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter sugar egg mixture in alternating additions (dry-wet-dry method), starting and ending with the flour.  Mix until just combined, do not overbeat
  6. Divide the batter into cupcake liners in a muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes or until slightly golden brown.  Be sure to rotate the cupcakes after the first 10-15 minutes to ensure even baking.  I use the toothpick test at the 16 -18 minute mark
  7. Be sure to keep a close eye as these can get overbaked quickly.  Allow to cool on a wire rack
  8. Frost when cooled

Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream

Makes 6 cups
Recipe adapted from


  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces and softened
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Special equipment: a candy thermometer (I used my digital electric thermometer from President’s Choice)

  1. Combine whites and salt in a kitchen aid mixer bowl
  2. Stir together water and 1 ¼ cups sugar in a 3 to 4 quart heavy saucepan until sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil over moderate heat, without stirring, brushing any sugar crystals down side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water
  3. When syrup reaches a boil, start beating egg whites with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until frothy, then gradually add remaining 1 tbsp sugar and beat at medium speed until whites just hold soft peaks. (Do not beat again until sugar syrup is ready.)
  4. Meanwhile, put thermometer into sugar syrup and continue boiling until syrup registers 238 to 242°F
  5. Immediately remove from heat and, with mixer at high speed, slowly pour hot syrup in a thin stream down side of bowl into whites, beating constantly.  Beat, scraping down side of bowl with a rubber spatula, until meringue is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes in a standing mixer or 15 with a handheld. (It is important that meringue is properly cooled before proceeding)
  6. With mixer at medium speed, gradually add butter 1 piece at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated. (Buttercream may look soupy after some butter is added if meringue is still warm.  If so, you can take some ice gel packs from the freezer (if you have them) and hold them to the side of the bowl, while it is still mixing, or just continue to beat until smooth).  The mixture may look curdled before all of butter is added but will come back together by the time beating is finished.  This buttercream is very resilient so just be patient and continue beating; it will all come together beautifully!
  7. Add vanilla extract and beat 1 minute more

Kitchen notes:

  • You can puree fresh or frozen strawberries (just enough to equal 2 tbsp), strain and then add to your buttercream at the end.  Do not add too much or your buttercream will curdle.  If that happens, keep beating, it should come together
  • Buttercream can be made 1 week ahead and chilled in fridge or frozen 1 month. Bring to room temperature (this may take up to 3 hours; do not use a microwave) and beat with an electric mixer before using
  • My favorite decorating tip is the Wilton 1M which is a very popular swirl tip
  • Tip (no pun intended): YouTube has great tutorials for learning how to make swirls

3 thoughts on “There’s Something About Pink Cupcakes …

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