Bake cupcakes up to 1 week ahead of time and freeze. Thaw completely at room temperature before frosting as directed.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons almond extract
Paper baking cups
Vegetable cooking spray
Vanilla Bean Frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (16-oz.) packages powdered sugar
2 drops electric purple food coloring
Yellow sanding sugar
How to Make It
Prepare Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in extracts.
Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.
Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 45 minutes).
Prepare Frosting: Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed 2 minutes or until creamy. Remove and reserve 11/2 cups frosting for cupcake filling. Stir food coloring into remaining frosting until blended.
Insert the end of a wooden spoon or dowel into the center of each cupcake to make a hole. Spoon 11/2 cups reserved frosting into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe a generous amount of frosting into each cupcake.
Spoon purple frosting into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a hole. Pipe frosting on cupcakes; sprinkle with yellow sanding sugar.