By now it probably appears that I am obsessed with cupcakes. Maybe I am. Cupcakes are already pre-portioned, everyone loves them, and they are much easier to serve at a party than your standard cake. At least, that was my reasoning when I made these for a party last week.
In my post for Double Vanilla Cupcakes I mentioned that I’ve been searching for the perfect vanilla cupcake. Though the frosting from that recipe is perfection, I still was not completely satisfied with the cake. And so my journey continued.
These are by far the best vanilla cupcakes I’ve ever had in my life. They are light, tender, moist, and bursting with flavor. Three days later, they were still absolutely delicious. And though I’ve never actually had a *real* Sprinkles cupcake (only from the mix), I would like to think these cakes could give Sprinkles a run for their money.
You have to make these cupcakes. If you’re not a fan of an Italian buttercream, use any icing you like; the cake is the star here.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream
adapted from Sky High
Ingredients for the cupcakes
3 c cake flour
2 c vanilla sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 whole vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 sticks plus 2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 c milk*
5 egg whites
1 T vanilla extract
Instructions for the cupcakes
1. Adjust racks to upper and lower-middle postion and preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.
2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Blend well on low speed. With the tip of a knife, scrape the vanilla seeds out of the bean and add to the flour mixture. Add the butter and 1 cup of the milk, mix on low to blend. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes (batter will be light and fluffy).
3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, remaining milk, and vanilla extract. Add to batter in 3 additions, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Stop when the egg mixture is just incorporated into the batter.
4. Using an ice cream scoop or a liquid measuring cup, fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way with the batter. Bake for 10 minutes, then switch the pans around on the racks. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until tops spring back lightly when touched. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then remove to wire cooling racks.
Makes 24 cupcakes.
Ingredients for the buttercream
3 egg whites
4 oz good quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c sugar
1/4 c water
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
Instructions for the buttercream
1. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer over medium heat.
2. Place egg whites in bowl of stand mixer and attach whisk.
3. Melt white chocolate in heat-proof bowl over simmering water. When chocolate is almost completely melted, remove from heat. Stir until all chocolate is melted, set aside.
4. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil without stirring, until the temperature reaches 238 F.
5. Start whipping the egg whites on medium-low speed. Slowly pour boiling sugar into the egg white mixture, being careful not to get the sugar on the whisk attachment. Continue to whip until the mixture has cooled and a stiff meringue has formed.
6. Add butter, 2 T at a time. When all of the butter has been added, raise speed to medium and beat until the mixture has appeared to curdle. Continue to beat, and the buttercream will come together. At this point, add the melted chocolate and beat until well-combined.
Frost or pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes.
*I use 2% milk.