Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Today is Yule, one of my favorite holidays.  After today, the daylight starts getting a little longer each day.  This morning, I had the pleasure of venturing out in the pouring rain and high winds to deliver cupcakes for M’s class holiday party.  When these cupcakes were in the “design stage,” I consulted with M as to what flavors would be best.  It’s a pretty big deal to have cupcakes at school, the kids don’t get to have them often anymore (I’ll save my rant about how birthdays really aren’t celebrated at school for another time).  M requested half vanilla and half chocolate and conceded to having all of them frosted in vanilla buttercream, but only if I would put the same sprinkles on all of them.  She’s a pretty good negotiator if you ask me.

For the chocolate cupcakes, I made the same cupcakes I used for the cocoa frosted cupcakes and they were great with the vanilla buttercream that I used for these vanilla cupcakes.  The vanilla cupcakes were every bit as delicious and moist as the chocolate ones.   They’re so good that I almost wish I could crash M’s holiday party.  Then I remember that this is a gaggle of third graders hopped up on cocoa and candy canes 🙂 .  I’ve given the amount of sugar and flour for the cupcakes in cups below, but I do advise weighing out  1/2 pound of sugar and flour with a kitchen scale as the original recipe suggests. The buttercream is easy to make and very forgiving.  If you need a stiffer frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar.  If you need a thinner frosting, add more milk.  It’s very easy to adapt it to suit your needs.  I added some red and green decorating sugar because M loves fancy things (and sprinkles were part of the deal) and I don’t know many kids who would turn down a sugar topping on anything.

vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream


for the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 C. sugar (it should weigh 1/2 pound)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • 2 C. all purpose flour (it should weigh 1/2 pound)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/4 C. sour cream

for the vanilla buttercream:

  • 1 C. unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound)
  • 3-4 C. confectioner’s sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • up to 4 Tbsp.  milk or heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line 18 cavities of two muffin pans with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar.

Beat on medium speed until the mixture is creamed and looks light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat after each addition until each egg is incorporated.

Add the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and sour cream.

Gradually add the dry ingredients alternating with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, beating on a low speed after each addition to incorporate ingredients.

Once the last of the dry ingredients has been added, beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until the batter is smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched lightly with your finger.

Cool in the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter for a few minutes in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer).

Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed until the sugar is blended in with the butter.

Increase the mixer speed  to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk or cream and beat for 3 minutes.

If your frosting needs a stiffer consistency, add the remaining confectioner’s sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 Tbsp. at a time.

Pipe or spread over cooled cupcakes.

Makes 18 cupcakes and 2 1/2 C. frosting.

Source:  cupcakes, My Kitchen Addiction; frosting, Savory Sweet Life


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