My favorite homemade vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix!
What a week it has been!
The truth is… when I was not glued to CNN to follow the tragic Boston bombing all week, I was training my replacement at my full-time job. Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me- my last day at my office job. My job in the corporate financial world has been a part of my life for 4 years. Without the experience learned in my career, I would not be where I am today with my website. I am so thankful for my time there! A new chapter is about to unfold and you may be seeing a lot more of me. I am a full time website publisher, cookbook author, photographer, and sprinkle lover.
Not only all of that, but I also spent this week training myself how to use my new camera. It’s been fun but it’s such a big change – the Canon EOS 5D Mark iii is my latest investment. I love it so far!
With all of the frightening news in Boston, big changes in my employment, and new fancy toys to play with, I craved something a little simple today. No frills, nothing fancy, just pure tasting goodness. Don’t get me wrong, I love an overloaded cookie more than anything. But sometimes you just need to keep things simple.
After I shared my Easy Homemade Funfetti Cupcake recipe with you, I had many readers write to me and ask for a plain vanilla cupcake recipe. How do I not have one of those on my website? Challenge accepted!
I took the funfetti cupcake recipe, tossed the egg yolk, added in an extra egg white, used vanilla yogurt, and loaded the batter with fresh vanilla bean. I topped the pretty white cupcakes with extreme vanilla frosting, which is also loaded with fresh vanilla bean.
Look at all the pretty vanilla bean specks!
I bought a jar of vanilla beans at Whole Foods for only $6. The are sold in the spice aisle of most major grocery stores. 3 large vanilla beans came in the bottle and today’s recipe will only use one. Their fragrance is unparalleled by anything (pure or imitation) vanilla extract will give you.
Wait until you smell these cupcakes baking in your kitchen…
Like my Homemade Funfetti Cupcake recipe, today’s cupcakes come from a very simple batter that can be mixed by hand. Yes, there is no mixer required for the cupcakes! There are 4 ways I included vanilla flavor today: vanilla beans, vanilla extract, vanilla yogurt, and vanilla almond milk. Don’t worry, the only two very important ones are the vanilla extract and vanilla beans. Feel free to use regular yogurt and milk if you need to.
Today’s easy cupcakes are sweetened with sugar, left moist and soft from butter and yogurt, and their color remains impeccably white from using 2 egg whites. The presence of an egg yolk made these cupcakes a bit too yellow, so I subbed an egg white the second time I made these today. Yes, I have a lot of cupcakes laying around the apartment right now…
The yogurt I used is fat free vanilla flavored greek yogurt. Even though there is only 1/4 cup of yogurt in the batter, I still feel good knowing I’m getting a teeny tiny protein punch from its addition. That makes these “healthy”… right? Of course.
Like I mentioned above, I added vanilla extract to the batter as well as pure vanilla bean. I simply scraped the seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean into the batter. In order to scrape the seeds of a vanilla bean, simply cut it down the middle length wise and use a knife to scrape out all of the black seeds, aka the intense vanilla flavor specks.
The cupcakes only take about 20 minutes in the oven. The baking time didn’t really change between my oven switch. I recently moved and have had trouble adjusting to a new oven. Fortunately, these cupcakes bake up no differently here. Quite the solid recipe!
After the cupcakes cool, make your frosting. The frosting I used is my very favorite fluffy vanilla frosting. I recently swirled this frosting on top of homemade lemon cupcakes. If you are a fan of lemon, you don’t want to miss those! I made the fluffy vanilla frosting again today and added fresh vanilla bean as I mixed the frosting ingredients together. Yes, I am now in love with vanilla bean seeds.
All it takes is some softened butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. I piped my frosting on top with a Wilton 1M piping tip. Feel free to just swirl the frosting on with a knife or use another piping tip. I love the 1M; it creates pretty swirls like a soft serve ice cream cone!
Pure, unadulterated very vanilla flavor. Nothing more, nothing less. If you are a vanilla fan, you are going to love these. If you are a chocolate fan, you are still going to love these. If you have any sort of tastebuds whatsoever, you are going to love these.
Taste tip: add a ton of sprinkles to your frosting.
Very Vanilla Cupcakes
My basic vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix! These taste better any way.
Yield: 12 cupcakes
- 1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt (or plain; or regular yogurt; or even sour cream)
- 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or cow's milk; or soy milk; or plain almond milk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
Vanilla Bean Frosting
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4-5 cups powdered (confectioners') sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
- salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Stir in sugar - mixture will be gritty. Stir in egg whites, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Split 1 vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise. Scrape seeds from half of the vanilla bean into batter. Reserve other half.
- Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick.
- Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners (or 24 mini) and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake for 8-9 minutes if making mini cupcakes. Allow to cool.
- To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (1/4 teaspoon). Frost cooled cupcakes (I used Wilton 1M piping tip). There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 7.
*Strongly urged to use heavy cream. You may use milk or half-and-half, but heavy cream will give the frosting a thicker texture. I recommend it.
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Do you like cupcakes? Here are a few of my favorites.
Cupcakes = Love.
What are you up to all weekend? We are (still) unpacking and getting settled in the new apartment! Getting used to a new camera AND new lighting AND a new oven? It’s been a challenge! Nothing a cupcake can’t remedy.