There’s really nothing like classic vanilla cupcakes! Light, moist and delicious cupcakes, topped with luscious, buttercream frosting are just a favourite with everyone.
When I think about baking memories, my mind immediately goes to cupcakes. Whether it was making them for my kid’s birthdays, for a bake sale or a school event, or baking and decorating them up in fun ways for holidays or special family occasions, some of my fondest baking memories involve cupcakes :)
This past weekend, my daughter and I got together to bake up some classic vanilla cupcakes and had great fun decorating them up. I must say, her piping skills have improved considerably since our first cupcake decorating days many years ago! It also reminded us both that even when kids grow up and leave home, we can still get together and bake up some new memories :)
Of course, no cupcake baking and decorating session would be complete without enjoying the fruits of your labour!
Note that this recipe calls for cake flour. This is not self-rising flour. It’s is a soft flour, easily available in any baking aisle with the other flours. It is sometimes called “Cake and Pastry” flour.
When it comes to successful baking of cupcakes, always start with room temperature butter and eggs. Simply take them out of the fridge about 45 minutes before you want to bake (depending on your kitchen temperature).
If you want the most delicious and fabulous cupcakes, this is not the time to use low-fat products. As indicated in the recipe full fat sour cream and milk will produce the best results.
Depending on my desired frosting colour, I sometimes omit the vanilla, as I find the dark colour muddies the colour somewhat. If you have clear vanilla or don’t mind the small colour shift, go ahead and add a teaspoon for extra flavour.
For my cupcakes, I used a Wilton 2D tip to make the flower cupcakes. I put a thin line of darker food colouring in 3 places on the inside of the piping bag before adding the icing, to get the variegated effect. For the others, I used an Ateco 855 large star tip.
Get the Recipe: Classic Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine salt, a bit less if using salted butter
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup canola, vegetable or other neutral tasting cooking oil, vegetable or other neutral tasting cooking oil
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste
- 2/3 cup whole milk, 3%
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups icing/confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
- 3-4 Tbsp milk
- Food colouring, for colouring frosting, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350F. with rack in centre of oven. Prepare 16 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a beating blade, mix together the sugar, flour baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and mix on medium-low speed for 3 minutes. Mixture will be fine crumbs at that point.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Slowly add the milk and mix on low speed until just combined. Do not overmix. Batter will be quite liquid.
- Fill muffin liners with batter about 1/2 to no more than 2/3 full. You should get 16 cupcakes.
- Bake in preheated oven 14-16 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Immediately remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
- For frosting: Beat room temperature butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer with a beater blade for 2-3 minutes. Turn mixer off. Add icing sugar, vanilla (if using) and 3 Tbsp of milk. Turn mixer on low and mix until sugar is incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium to thoroughly combine and judge consistency. If necessary, add more milk in very (very!) small increments and continue mixing on medium until frosting looks smooth and creamy. Add food colouring, if desired. Beat frosting for and addition 2 minutes on high speed until fluffy.