Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla cream

Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting is everyone’s favorite for a reason, and sometimes it’s best not to mess with the classics. Whether it’s handed out at a kid’s birthday party or served as a tiered cake at a wedding, people go crazy for it, especially when it comes to sprinkles. Its cult following proves that vanilla is far from boring. This recipe is so simple that both ingredients have to be their best selves. It all starts with a moist, fluffy cupcake – here are some tips to help you succeed every time:

The first step is to mix the butter and sugar. Cream the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and it is light and fluffy. Mixing air into the butter-sugar mixture gives the cupcake crumb a fine texture.

Use room temperature ingredients. Allowing the eggs and milk to come to room temperature before use will work into the batter much easier than cold ingredients. Over-beating can compromise the overall texture of the cupcakes, so it’s important that you only mix all the ingredients for as long as necessary.

Good vanilla is key here! Use an extract labeled “pure.” Imitation vanilla extracts do not contain any real vanilla. Since vanilla is the primary flavor component in both cupcakes and frosting, use the real stuff!

The final step is a rich and creamy vanilla buttercream frosting. This is a basic recipe that you can use over and over again for any type of cake or cupcake. Swirl or pipe a generous amount over each cupcake to watch it disappear.

Technique tip: Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the cupcake batter into the cups. A bulk scoop is the ideal amount.

Possibility of exchange: Replace 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar in the frosting with cocoa powder to make a chocolate cream.


Make the scones:


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners (bake in batches if you don’t have two standard pans).


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is evenly mixed.


Divide the batter into muffin cups. Bake until the top of the cupcakes is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine. Using a circular motion, cover the tops of the cupcakes; sprinkle with sprinkles as desired.

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