Recipe Review

This One Underrated Pantry Ingredient Is Key to Making Way Better Cupcakes

published Jun 7, 2023
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funfetti cupcake with frosting and sprinkles on top placed on a marble surface
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaffer; Food Styling: Brett Regot

When searching for the ultimate confetti cupcakes, Chelsweets’ recipe set itself apart from the rest. This recipe was the only one that used water instead of milk, included a whole egg instead of egg whites, added sour cream, and stirred in a hefty amount of almond extract. I was eager to see how these choices would affect the final flavor and appearance of the cupcakes.  

How to Make Chelsweets’ Funfetti Cupcakes

The cupcakes come together in one bowl and with just a whisk. First, you’ll combine all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Then you’ll add water, oil, an egg, and vanilla and almond extracts and whisk until smooth. Finally, you’ll stir in sour cream and then fold in rainbow sprinkles. You’ll then divide the batter evenly into a 12-cup muffin pan lined with paper liners and bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes. 

For the vanilla buttercream, you’ll beat together unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and salt with an electric mixer until smooth. You’ll then gradually add powdered sugar plus a little heavy cream to lighten the texture. You’ll beat the frosting on low speed until fully combined, then on medium-high until fluffy. Then you’ll simply spread or pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes.  

Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaffer; Food Styling: Brett Regot

My Honest Review of Chelsweets’ Funfetti Cupcakes

First of all, I loved the whisk-together ease of the batter. This mixing technique makes for a moist, tender crumb that’s a little coarser than cupcakes made with a mixer. For me, that’s more than a fine trade-off — the ease of making these cupcakes makes up for a slightly heartier texture. 

I was a little concerned that the flavor would be bland, with oil (no butter) and water (no milk) in the batter, but I couldn’t be more wrong. These cupcakes had a rich, complex, deep flavor, thanks to the combination of sour cream, vanilla extract, and (most importantly) a hefty amount of almond extract. I typically use the latter sparingly because it’s easy to overdo. This recipe calls for a half teaspoon, and that amount was key to the delicious sweet flavor. No, they did not taste like marzipan; they tasted like birthday cake. The whole egg did not take the cupcakes into yellow cake territory, either; they were barely darker than the other cupcakes that used egg whites only. The frosting was creamy and luscious, and there was a moderate amount of it. That was plenty for my taste, but my kids wanted more (typical).

If You’re Making Chelsweets’ Funfetti Cupcakes, a Few Tips

  1. Increase the frosting. If you, like my kids, want a tall, ample swirl of frosting, I suggest using 1 1/2 to 2 times the amount of frosting ingredients. 
  2. Weigh dry ingredients. The recipe gives the weights (in grams) of all of the dry ingredients, which allows for more precision. Measuring by weight is especially helpful for flour (in the batter) and powdered sugar (in the frosting).
  3. Scoop the batter. Use a large cookie scoop to more easily divide the batter among the muffin cups; there are typically fewer drips and spills with this method, too.

Overall rating: 9/10