There’s nothing worse than eyeballing an adorable cupcake that looks too good to eat….stuffing it in your face….and realizing that actually, it really was too pretty to eat and should have been left alone. If there’s one thing I hate doing, it is sacrificing taste for appearance. So imagine my joy to be able to share with you the only vanilla cupcake recipe I’ve been making for the last year. It is so moist, so delicious, and so perfect in any application. Frosted up cute like these polar bears and snowmen cupcakes or simply garnished with frosting and a few sprinkles – either way, the cupcake is beautiful and gloriously tasty. These cupcakes are the best and are my go-to cupcakes (for non-chocolate purposes, of course).
In addition, I wanted to share a quick and easy buttercream frosting that I use all the time. Yes, I love this magical frosting, but the vanilla buttercream recipe, below, makes an equally frequent appearance because not only is it simple, it has a divinely creamy, silky texture that beats out all other easy buttercream frostings. I use this recipe on my kids’ birthday cakes and on most cupcakes I make, especially if I am going to pipe any decorations. It’s fantastic.
Incidentally, both of the cupcakes pictured above are from the brilliant Hello, Cupcake series. Those books make me look like a cupcake-decorating rockstar.
One Year Ago: Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Tomato Vinaigrette
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Three Years Ago: California Chicken Marinade
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)
- Preheat oven to 350 for light, aluminum or silicone muffin pans or 325 for dark, nonstick muffin pans. Line about 16-24 muffin cups with liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in eggs and egg yolk one at a time and then mix in the vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Combine. Add 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix. Add the final 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix and then add the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix until combined and the batter is smooth. Spoon out batter into lined cupcake pan, filling only halfway or just barely over halfway.
- Bake for about 15-18 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven based on the type of muffin pan you have), until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out with moist crumbs. Don’t overbake!
- Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost as desired!
Recipe Source: adapted from Becca H., a reader, who got it from a Parade magazine
Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
*Note: you can substitute milk for the heavy cream but the frosting will be missing an element of silky creaminess.
*Makes about 4 cups of frosting
½ cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
16 ounces powdered sugar (about 3 ½ cups)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the softened butter and cream cheese together until it is light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix in fully after each addition. Cream at low speed until well blended and creamy. Pour in the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Recipe Source: adapted from The Recipe Girl