Last week, our overly observant 5-year-old noticed that Mommy hadn’t made dessert in like forever. Kudos to him for even paying attention to such things, and since he cares, you know I had to rectify that asap. Luckily I had already planned to make homemade cupcakes for our New Years’ Eve festivities, so he didn’t have to wait long.
Recently I have become, ahem, obsessed with cupcakes from Billy’s Bakery in New York City. I had them for the first time at my sister’s baby shower back in September and have been dying to have them ever since. Truth be told, the bakery is probably less than an hour away from me, and we could certainly make the trip to get more, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably much better that they’re not around the corner.
I got a second fill of the cupcakes on Christmas Eve, when my sister and brother-in-law brought over another batch as part of our fourteen desserts tradition. Now what does this all have to do with the famed Magnolia Bakery in NYC? Magnolia is very well-known for their cupcakes as well, and Billy used to work there. A lot of the employees that left Magnolia went on to open up their own shops, and my theory was that they probably used a lot of the recipes they came to learn and love while at Magnolia. So since I have the Magnolia cookbooks (More from Magnolia), I figured it was worth a shot to try their recipe for the homemade frosting in the hopes that it was close to Billy’s.
Because he was so interested in baking, Nicholas and I went out and I let him choose cupcake liners and the sprinkles as well, giving him complete rein from start to finish. He mixed the batter by himself, filled all the cupcake liners up and frosted and sprinkled them when they were cool enough to handle. Polishing off quite a few over the course of the next few days, he was a pretty happy camper.
The frosting is very, very good, and while it may be closer to Billy’s than, say, a store-bought can or that of another bakery, it’s not quite there. It seems a trip into the city is in our near future, but in the meantime, these will suffice nicely.
As an aside, rumor has it that Billy has left the bakery and New York City and returned home to Ohio, but thankfully the recipes remain.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Recipe courtesy of More from Magnolia
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6-8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Makes enough for 24 cupcakes.