Vanilla Cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180
degrees C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted
with the paddle attachment (or with a hand
mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a
time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape
down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest (if using) with the flour, baking powder, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add
the flour mixture (in three additions), with the milk (in two additions),
beginning and ending with the flour.
Evenly fill the
muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 16 - 20
minutes or just until
set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Always check a few
minutes before the stated baking time. Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be
dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
In the bowl of your electric stand mixer,
fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the
mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides
and bottom of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is
light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if
needed. Tint the frosting with desired food color.
Once the cupcakes
have completely cooled, frost with icing. If
you want to pipe the frosting, I like to use a large Wilton 1M or Ateco 846 star
decorating tip. Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are made, but they can be covered
and stored for a few days.
Makes about 12 cupcakes
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