The Perfect Cupcake, Birthdays, and the Struggles of Modern Motherhood


My son will turn two in less than three months and I have no clue what his party theme will be for his 2nd birthday party. In case you haven’t reproduced in the social media age, let me break that down for you.

I’m woefully behind in planning.

While my peers and I have may have turned out just fine with a Totino’s Pizza and a cake from the Piggly Wiggly, for the modern birthday child this will not do. Today’s parent must procure a custom made designer cake with 3 inches of fondant and a backyard petting zoo complete with a panda. Think I’m exaggerating? Search “First birthday party ideas” on Pinterest. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Are you back? Are your eyes spinning? SEE, I TOLD YOU.

For my son’s first birthday, I did a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme. I bought a few things online, picked up a few things at Dollar Tree and all in all, I think it turned out well although I certainly didn’t have a Pinterest worthy party. One thing that did rock though was the cupcakes.

I decided to buy a cake from-gasp– Meijer for him. I just couldn’t justify spending a small fortune for a cake that he wouldn’t remember, I’d be too tired too enjoy, and my husband probably wouldn’t like. To supplement the cake, I made these cupcakes.

And while I may have been lackluster in my other party efforts, I was a rock star with these cupcakes. The taste of them, that is. My icing skills are sorely lacking.

I hadn’t blogged the recipe yet and considered not blogging it since I didn’t change anything and the recipe is already out on the interwebs. But I’ve lost some really good recipes before when the original site disappeared and I don’t want to lose this one.

The cupcakes were a huge hit and I had requests for the recipe. I also made my son a small cake using some extra batter and a ramekin as my cake pan. It wasn’t fancy but it was cute. And he loved it. And didn’t realize it wasn’t a fancy smash cake. Because, he’s you know, a baby.

So, while I may be clueless about this year’s party theme, one thing is for sure: these cupcakes will be on the menu.

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Orginal recipe here.


1 16.25 oz box white cake mix

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup water

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

4 egg whites

For the Buttercream Frosting:

6 cups powdered sugar

2 cups butter, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with your choice of cupcake liners. Set aside.

In the bowl of an upright mixer, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Attach the paddle attachment, add the rest of the ingredients and beat together until well mixed.

Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 full of batter.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

While cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Mix the butter and powdered sugar together slowly and carefully so that the sugar doesn’t go flying everywhere. Add in the vanilla extract. Mix slowly until frosting consistency.

Top your cooled cupcakes-make sure they are completely cooled-with frosting.


2 thoughts on “The Perfect Cupcake, Birthdays, and the Struggles of Modern Motherhood

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