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Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe & Video

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These Vanilla Cupcakes have a deliciously sweet vanilla flavor with a texture that's wonderfully soft and moist. I love to frost them with a creamy smooth vanilla flavored Confectioners Frosting (Butter cream). You can make them festive with a dusting of candy or chocolate sprinkles.


I bake cupcakes in a 12 cup muffin (cupcake) pan that has been lined with fluted paper liners. The paper liners make the cupcakes look pretty, keep them moist, make them easy to release from the pan, and also makes clean up a breeze. These Vanilla Cupcakes start with a white cake batter. The batter is mixed using the 'creaming' method which produces a cupcake that is light and airy with a soft crumb. In order to have a moist cupcake, it is important not to over bake them, as over baked cupcakes are dry and crumbly. So always check the cupcakes a few minutes before the stated baking time.

Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled to room temperature, they are frosted with a sweet and buttery Confectioners Frosting made from butter and confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, with a little vanilla extract for flavoring.

The name "cupcake" was used differently back in the 1800s. Then the name "cup cake" simply referred to a cake where the ingredients were 'measured' not 'weighed'. It seems that before the 1880s ingredients for cake baking were actually weighed so when recipes started to be given in 'cup' measurements, the cake recipes were named 'cup cakes' to reflect this difference.

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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.

In a 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.

Confectioners Frosting: 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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Vanilla Cupcakes:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar

3 large eggs (150 grams out of shell), at room temperature

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin) (optional)

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

1/4 cup (60 ml/grams) milk, at room temperature

Confectioners Frosting:

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk or cream

Assorted food colors (optional)

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