3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Line a standard muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and incorporate well.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk in batches to the mixture.
4. Spoon batter into each cup, filling about ¾ full. Bake 20–25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before topping or frosting.
For Buttercream Icing
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
5 large egg whites
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 package store-bought cotton candy
Red food coloring
1. Using a double boiler, combine egg whites and sugar, whisking until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat on high until mixture is completely cool, about 15 minutes.
3. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated.
4. Add vanilla and 2 drops of red food coloring to achieve pink color.
5. Before serving, add pinches of packaged cotton candy, about a handful total.
6. Frost cupcakes traditionally or scoop frosting into a zip-top plastic bag and squeeze into the bottom. Snip off the corner with scissors, pipe in a swirling motion onto cupcake. Top with a pinch of cotton candy.
Recipes by Sara Lane