I first tested three promising recipes and then chose the best - this was Stef's Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake. My cousin's kindly-provided recipe was incredibly buttery and flavorful, but denser than the Ultimate. Julie Hanson's Very Vanilla Cupcake was also dense and not as tasty. The Ultimate was very light and airy, less buttery (as it had half oil half butter). I believe the secret of it's lightness lies in the 'reverse creaming' method. My quest for the perfect vanilla cupcake ended with the Ultimate.
- The first time I made it, it had 'tunnels' going through the cupcake. This meant my gas oven got too hot, which it tends to do if I let it go for too long. For the next three batches, I was careful to keep temperature at 350 degrees F and each batch was good.
- All the ingredients MUST be at room temperature for this to work.
- Use a good quality vanilla bean, and pure vanilla extract. This is a vanilla cupcake after all. :) I love the premium bourbon-Madagascar vanilla bean by J.R. Mushroom & Specialities. At less than $1 per bean, these are value for money.
(makes 16 cupcakes)
1 cup sugar (225 g)
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups flour (175 g)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter (57 g)
1/3 cup sour cream (75 g)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (60 ml)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk (160 ml)
- Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and vanilla bean seeds.
- In the stand mixer bowl with paddle beater attached, put flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix on speed 2 for 3 minutes.
- Add butter. Mix for another 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk eggs, cream, oil and vanilla till combined.
- Add the egg mixture all in one go to the flour mix. Mix till well combined (1 minute). Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
- Add milk to the batter and mix till very smooth (3 minutes). No lumps! Batter will be thin-ish.
- Transfer batter to jug for easy pouring into cupcake liners.
- Fill liners half full and no more.
- Bake 14 minutes or until test skewer comes out clean. Test every minute after minute 14 until skewer comes out clean.
I love these with swiss meringue buttercream (SMB), which are not as sweet and which contain protein from the egg whites. SMB is also addictive and you could be sucking silky luscious spoonfuls down before you even realise it!
|Vanilla cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream piped roses and topped with fondant butterflies|
The cupcakes can be made up to 3 days ahead, and kept in an airtight container so they don't dry out. They can also apparently be frozen for up to a month, but I haven't tried that.
Have you a favorite cupcake recipe to share? I am always on the lookout for favorite / family recipes and would love love love to try yours out. Please do leave a comment!
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