Whenever my 4-year old sees sprinkles on donuts or cookies at bakery, I can’t steer him away from them. I make suggestions for other healthier options, but he’s insistent on the confetti-speckled treats. He, along with most kids, are drawn to the cute little, colorful dots. The sprinkles make kids smile from ear to ear. As a mom who’s constantly looking for healthier alternatives, I try to avoid foods with artificial coloring, so I recently started using sprinkles with natural food coloring. The colors are derived from natural vegetable dyes. Although the colors are little more pale and not as vibrant, the kids don’t notice the difference.
What better time than my son’s 9th birthday to use these sprinkles. They are perfect toppers and decoration for birthday cupcakes. Here is a simple birthday cupcake recipe using the best ingredients. The frosting is light and not too sweet and the cake is moist and tender. The sprinkles add a nice crunchy texture. These cupcakes are popular with the kids, but the leftovers were a hit with the adults at my office as well. Enjoy!
Birthday Cupcakes with Organic Sprinkles
Yield: about 1 dozen
1 1/2 cups cake or pastry flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
6 tablespoons of unsalted organic butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of organic sugar
2 large organic egg whites
1 large organic egg
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of low fat organic milk
Vanilla bean frosting (recipe below)
3 oz of organic or natural dye sprinkles*
1. Heat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides.
4. Reduce the speed to low. Add the egg whites one at a time, and then the whole egg, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Scrape.
5. Alternate 1/2 of the flour and then 1/2 of the milk. Repeat. Stop the mixer once the batter is just combined.
6. Remove the bowl off the mixer. Fold in 2 oz of the sprinkles.
7. Using a large ice cream scoop, divide the batter into the cupcake liners. (Make sure you level out the batter evenly to the top, no more and no less to ensure perfect size for icing.)
8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean.
9. Cool on a wire rack until cool before frosting.
10. Using an off-set spatula, spread a generous amount of vanilla bean frosting on each cupcake. Decorate with the remaining sprinkles.
Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting
1 cup of unsalted organic butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
3 cups of organic powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1. On a stand mixer on medium speed, add the butter, salt and vanilla bean seeds. Beat for 2 minutes.
2. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, making sure that the sugar is incorporated before adding the next 1/2 cup.
3. Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to medium and beat until cream about 1-2 minutes. The frosting should be light and fluffy.
4. Place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature until ready to use.
*India Tree and Sprinkels brand offers sprinkles with natural dyes.