It’s been a long and arduous journey over this past year of delving into the world of cupcakes. When I started out, I knew one thing and one thing only – there was no way in the world I was going to use a cake mix EVER.AGAIN. And I am pleased to say that I have never had to fall back on one because of a failed batch of cupcakes.
I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite, go-to recipes for vanilla cupcakes, since vanilla seems to be one of the MOST difficult flavours to accomplish a really good, moist, flavourful, light, fluffy cupcake in. The numerous recipes I have tried have all claimed to be the PERFECT vanilla cupcake, but a certain level of satisfaction was never quite reached.
While I haven’t achieved 100% JUST yet what I am looking for in a vanilla cupcake – and to tell the truth, with all the variables in baking, and using only a home kitchen, I don’t know that I will ever be just ready to die and go to heaven after eating one (I am, after all, my own worst critic). But I’ve come pretty close, and it was using these following 3 recipes that almost-bliss was achieved.
I hope you enjoy them, and let me know how they turn out for you when you try them out!
VANILLA CUPCAKE #1 – NOT JUST ANOTHER VANILLA CUPCAKE
Duff Goldman’s Vanilla Cake from People’s Magazine
This was my most recent vanilla cupcake trial. They turned out light and relatively fluffy, and were the best out of the three recipes even a few days later. AND it makes 36 cupcakes without having to double anything!
3 1/2 cups flour (recipe calls for all purpose, but I made them with pastry because I had it, and GENERALLY vanilla cupcakes do better with pastry flour since it’s a bit lighter than AP)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups butter, unsalted, room temp
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 1 1/2 vanilla beans)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
In a large bowl, sift/whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer (use a flat beater), cream butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, or until light. Add vanilla.
Add eggs, one at a time. (The batter may look curdled – I nearly freaked out the first time it happened, but don’t worry, it’s supposed to happen!) Add oil and buttermilk. Slowly add flour mixture in 3 additions and mix until just combined. Try not to over-mix!
Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full.
Bake about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
VANILLA CUPCAKE #2 – VALENTINE’S VANILLA CUPCAKE
These cupcakes do not dome, so they’re perfect for if you want to add a lot of decor to the top. The taste was excellent, definitely best within the first day or two. Also, this recipe only makes 12 regular size cupcakes.
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (I made these twice, once with AP and once with pastry flour – same results)
3/4 cup butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup milk, room temp
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 egg white, room temp
Preheat oven to 350F, centre rack. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together milk, buttermilk and vanilla.
In a stand mixer with whisk attachment combine butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed, 2-3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides. On low, add the whole egg, increase to medium and beat until incorporated. Scrape down sides, repeat with egg white.
On med-low, add the dry mixture, alternating with the wet, in 3 additions (beginning and ending with dry). Scrape down between additions.
Mix just until combined (it won’t look completely smooth).
Fill liners 3/4 full (don’t over-fill or they will bake concave! Yes, I did that :D).
Bake 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
VANILLA CUPCAKES #3 – NOSH WITH ME VANILLA CUPCAKES
One of my first favourite vanilla cupcake recipes! Makes 24 cupcakes – give or take :0)
3/4 cup butter, room temp
1/4 cup shortening (crisco or high ratio)
2 cups sugar, ground until fine (measure before processing)
4 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond or lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cup cake flour or all purpose flour (or a combination)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup warm half and half cream or full fat milk
Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
In a mixer, cream butter and shortening until fluffy. Add in eggs (one at a time) and the extracts and beat about 3-4 minutes on high speed (mixture will seem lumpy, but will even out with the addition of sugar).
In a bowl, sift/whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.
Blend into creamed ingredients, along with warm milk until smooth (about 3 minutes).
Fill the pan about 2/3 full.
IMMEDIATELY reduce the oven temperature to 350F.
Place the cupcakes in the oven, bake for about 20 minutes, or until cupcakes test done.