Monday, April 23, 2012

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake

I've eaten a lot of different homemade vanilla cupcakes in my life, so I've tasted a fair share of good, bad, and great varieties. This vanilla cupcake recipe belongs in the BEST category. The cake is sweet, moist, has a wonderful vanilla flavor, and beautiful flecks of vanilla bean throughout. I loved these cupcakes even without frosting. This recipe will now be my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe, especially for parties or events. They are well worth the expense to make them, trust me!

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake
(recipe slightly adapted from cupcakeproject)
Makes 16-18 cupcakes

1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising (I used Queen Guinevere from KAF)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 T pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk (for best flavor do not use reduced fat milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 16-18 muffin tin cups with paper liners.

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out all of the black seeds. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar with the vanilla bean seeds, using the back of a spoon to break up the clumps.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the sugar/vanilla bean mixture to the flour and mix well.

Add the softened butter to the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Because there is very little butter, the mixture will resemble fine crumbs when mixed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Slowly add the milk to the batter while mixing on low speed. Continue until just combined. The batter will be quite thin and that is OK.

Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 full with batter.

Bake for 14 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle of each cupcake (I baked mine for about 17 minutes, but the baking time will depend on your oven). The cupcakes will be very light in color on top.

Remove the cupcakes immediately from the pan (still in the paper liners) and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To finish the cupcakes, frost with your favorite frosting. I chose to thinly frost my cupcakes with my favorite chocolate frosting found here. Enjoy!

Little flecks of vanilla bean throughout.

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