Violet and White: A Snowstorm, Plus SpyMom's Vanilla Cupcakes With Lavender Buttercream Recipe

The snowflake is totally not photoshopped! I actually (accidentally) captured it on film!Guess what? It is snowing in New Jersey. Like, a lot. In fact, to the point that we've been nostalgically recalling the Blizzard of '96. A real post-Christmas miracle!

But wait, there's more to this miraculous day. You do not need to worry about the SpyCrew starving in the snow, because SpyMom made cupcakes. Delicious ones, based on Magnolia Bakery's recipe (now, I personally am not a Magnolia naysayer, but SpyDad is, and even he said that this homemade version had a leg up on the original), but with an added element of pinkies-out-ness from lavender coloring powder to the frosting, and candied violets (edible!) used as garnish. 

Want a piece of this holiday magic in your own home? Here goes:

SpyMom's Christmas Miracle Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Violet food coloring, such as this one from Wilton
  • Edible candied violets


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  5. Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  6. While they cool, prepare your frosting. 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 to 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.