Monday, October 10, 2011

Best Vanilla Cupcake (Tested by over 50 Bakers) with Cardamom Vanilla Bean Buttercream

I've been searching for the best vanilla cupcake recipe for a long time.  I'm not talking about white cake, nor yellow cake... but VANILLA!  How many cupcakes have you eaten that are sold as "vanilla" but just taste like cake... flavorless cake. And "vanilla" frosting that just tastes like white sugar. Well the search is over thanks to the Cupcake Project! These cupcakes are divine thanks to the actual vanilla beans in them.  I topped them with my own Cardamom Vanilla Bean Frosting and then with a bit of pink sugar crystals.  They would be perfect for a baby shower! 

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Yield: 16 cupcakes 
  • 1 cup (granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream (I used greek yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil 
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean
  3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes.  Because there is so little butter, you'll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined.  The batter will be liquidy
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it.  The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown.  If they are not done, test again in two minutes.  If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don't own a cooling rack) to cool.

Cardamom Vanilla Bean Frosting
Yield: 12 cupcakes worth of frosting

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp milk
  1. Beat butter and powdered sugar on high until creamed
  2. Add vanilla bean paste and cardamom
  3. Beat until uniform
  4. Add milk
  5. Beat until uniform
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before frosting

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