Birthday Cupcakes

These little cakes of fluffy love are inspired by the birthday cake my mom made for me and my brother every birthday. But now that we're grown, my brother doesn't get a cake and I apparently, make my own! And I was just as excited to make "birthday cake" for my friends and me as I used to be for mom's birthday cake. Her cake was a classic white cake with fudgy Hershey's cocoa frosting with fabulous "Happy Birthday Joanna" colored lettering. These cupcakes use the same white cake with a fluffy vanilla cream filling and chocolate ganache. This recipe is from the 975 edition of The Joy of Cooking. My mom has the original 1964 edition-and it's so wonderful to flip through the batter-stained pages.

White Cake
Preheat oven to 375. Have all ingredients at room temp. (70 degrees)

Sift before measuring:
   2 1/4 cups cake flour
Resift it twice with:
   2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream well:
   1/2 butter
Add gradually and cream until very light:
   2 1/4 cups sifted sugar
In a separate measuring cup combine:
   1 cup milk
   1 teaspoon vanilla

Add the sifted ingredients to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating with the liquid combination. Stir the batter until smooth after each addition.

Whip until stiff, but not dry: 
    4 egg whites

You want the egg whites to make peaks like this!
Fold them lightly into the batter and bake in: two 9-inch round pans or in cupcake tins. Cake pans should be greased with butter and a bit of flour. If you bake cupcakes, turn the heat down 25 degrees. Both will bake for about 25 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Cream Filling
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk- any percent fat will work
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium/low heat until thick (a few minutes) Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring to a boil. Once thick (like custard consistency), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.

When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until light. Add in the  milk mixture and vanilla and beat at high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about seven minutes).

Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.

For maximum filling, cut a funnel-shaped hole with a very sharp knife

After the filling is added, the top fits back on concealing the filling

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
sprinkles for decoration (optional)

Melt the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring constantly . Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache. Decorate with sprinkles. Do not refrigerate.



  1. these look ridiculously good! i'm going to make them for stu - he just had his birthday, too :)

  2. Jeannie- I might try cutting the filling recipe in half. I had at least 5X more than I needed...I think it would translate well. Please send a picture and let me know how yours go over!

  3. just looked at these - my mouth is watering!!


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