Cupcakes rich in vanilla flavor, topped with vanilla buttercream frosting, get a little bit of summer flair with candy mermaids and popsicles.
Preheat oven to 350F. Take standard muffin pans and line 16 cups with cupcake lines. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar on slow speed, just to combine. Add butter and beat on medium-low speed for 3 minutes, until mixture is fine and crumbly.
While butter is being mixed in, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla extract and vanilla paste in a small bowl. When butter is incorporated, slowly pour wet ingredients (all but the milk) into the mixer until just incorporated.
Scrape down sides of the bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and slowly pour in milk, until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of the bowl and the paddle, and mix until all of the batter is at the same, liquidy consistency.
Portion batter evenly into prepared muffin tins. Each cup should be a little more than halfway filled with batter.
Bake 14-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
When cupcakes are completely cool, start the icing.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Scrape down sides of the bowl and on medium-low speed, add vanilla paste and salt. With the mixer still running, add confectioners' sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time until frosting reaches desired consistency for piping (it may be a little more or a little less than the 3 cups).
Transfer to a disposable decorating bag fitted with the decorating tip to get desired shape (I used the 1M tip), and frost cupcakes.
While cupcakes cool, make any decorations, as desired. DIY-Lish Kits should be made according to directions inside the package (taking into consideration the tips listed above).
Decorate cupcakes using candy, sprinkles, chocolate, etc.
Serve cupcakes at room temperature.