About three years ago, I decided I would come up with a cupcake to rival Candace Nelson’s. There were a couple of problems with this plan. First, I’d never actually had a Sprinkles cupcake. Second, I certainly wasn’t what you would call a cupcake master; up to that point, every cupcake I’d made had come from a mix (shameful, I know).
Nevertheless, I set out on my cupcake journey. I’ve made many, many cupcakes during that time. Some I’ve been happy with, some, not so much. There’s a balance needed between fluffy cake and moistness, and I discovered it’s not always the easiest to achieve.
The frosting would be a simple buttercream that you could whip together in no time flat. While I love an Italian buttercream, that was not the right choice for a simple cupcake. The challenge? I find most buttercreams to be sickeningly sweet, and I’m a self-confessed sugar addict, so that’s saying a lot. No, this buttercream would have to be buttery with lots of vanilla flavor. I took a page out of my recipe for cream cheese frosting and used a lower ratio of sugar to butter than most recipes called for.
The following cupcake is not yet perfection, but I will admit that I like it much more than the recipe from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook (and I had such high hopes for that cupcake recipe). You will likely see multiple versions of this recipe, as it keeps evolving. If you already have a favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, I’d love it if you’d share!
Double Vanilla Cupcakes
1/2 c unsalted butter (softened but still cool)
1 c vanilla sugar
1 whole large egg (room temp)
2 large egg whites (room temp)
1 1/3 c cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c milk
2 tsp pure vanilla
Take the butter, eggs, and milk out of fridge 30 minutes prior to starting the recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk together egg & egg whites in small bowl, set aside. In glass measuring cup, combine milk and vanilla. Set aside.
Sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter and vanilla sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add eggs, 1/3 at a time. Increase speed to medium for about 2 minutes, until well mixed. (You may need to scrape down the bowl a couple of times.)
Reduce speed to low. Alternate adding flour and milk mixtures in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, being careful not to overmix. Scrape the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream Icing
½ c unsalted butter (remove from refrigerator for 30 minutes)
1 ¾ c powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp milk
2-3 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Cream butter and salt on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar on low speed until combined. Add milk and vanilla (start with 2 tsp of vanilla and add an additional tsp if you want more of a vanilla punch), beat until well mixed. Frost or pipe icing onto cupcakes.