Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

The past couple days I’ve been going back through all my old posts fixing links, formatting, and doing some general housekeeping business. Nothing big. But I noticed something as I was going through—something that kind of disturbed me a bit. I have close to 3 dozen cupcake recipes. Of those 30+ recipes, just 2 posts feature a vanilla cupcake. And only one features a recipe. One. More than half of the cupcake posts I have up are a variation of a chocolate cupcake, yet vanilla has 2 mentions. And both are within posts about more than one baked good. (And both are sidekicks to, you guessed it. A chocolate cupcake.) It’s time the Vanilla Cupcake got a shout out of its own. It’s Vanilla’s time to shine.

As luck would have it, as I was pondering the absence of Vanilla within my posts, Rachel (Baked by Rachel) tweeted a link to her favorite recipe for “Perfect White Cupcakes”. Score! I don’t even have to do research on which recipe to use!

I can see why this recipe is a favorite. It’s moist and tender, unlike a lot of vanilla cupcakes. And it’s easy. No need to whip egg whites or dirty a bunch of bowls. I only used my stand mixer bowl and a liquid measuring cup. The directions are a bit unconventional if you’re used to doing a lot of baking, but don’t let it scare you. Instead of creaming the butter and sugar like most recipes, you sift the sugar in with the dry ingredients and work the butter in almost like making a pastry, where it resembles coarse crumbs before adding the wet ingredients. I had to read the directions a couple times to make sure I was doing it right, but it worked. I might try it the more traditional way next time to see if it makes any difference (or really just to quell my obsessive compulsive tendencies that were screaming out that I was doing it all wrong.)

My one word of advice—make sure you don’t overfill the cups. I made the rookie mistake of trying to divide out the rest of the left over batter into each cup instead of digging out a whole other pan or simply throwing it away, and I ended with quite a few slightly overfilled cupcakes. Not a terrible thing, and nothing that some frosting won’t cover, but the edges that touched the pan got a little too brown, and a couple started to sink in the middle as a result.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I’ve already eaten more than I care to mention, and honestly, I didn’t even bother to frost most of them because I like the way they taste plain. They taste good with the Vanilla Bean Buttercream, but I think they could really shine with another flavor to balance it. I’ll definitely be playing around with this one in the future. I’m already thinking about an almond version to try out. And maybe some Strawberry Buttercream.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Adapted from Baked by Rachel
Makes 12 cupcakes

½ cup milk
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tin with liners; set aside.
2. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together milk, egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds to combine; set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. (Or pulse a few times with mixer to combine.) Add butter, mixing on low until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (It’ll look a bit like the start of pastry dough.)
4. Add half of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat until dough is moist and thick (a bit like cookie dough). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add remaining milk mixture and beat until combined. (Mixture should look more like batter now.)
5. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling with 2 tablespoons of batter each. Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
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Rachel @ Baked by Rachel said...

Love those liners! Very cute. I'm so glad you liked the recipe. It's probably the only vanilla recipe I'm willing to make now after trying a few others first that didn't work out so well. I too thought the method of mixing everything together was weird but just went with it and it came together so I just stick with it since it works.

ABowlOfMush said...

These are beautiful cupcakes! My fav cupcakes will always be vanilla bean!

The cupcake liners are very pretty!

oneordinaryday said...

Haven't made cupcakes in ages. These look like they're needing to be made soon.

Sarah said...

I just discovered your blog and I am loving it! Would you be willing to share your vanilla bean buttercream frosting recipe? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just made these, and they are amazing! Try them with strawberry icing!!

Anonymous said...

These cupcakes did not turn out well. I followed the directions exactly and the cupcakes caved in and were still under cooked. They also lacked taste. Something was really wrong with the recipe and it lacked either additional ingredients or more proper directions. I recommend finding a "kitchen approved and tested" recipe that actually works.

Danae - The Busty Baker said...

Anon- I'm sorry your cupcakes didn't turn out. :( I'm not sure what happened to the batch, because the recipe has been tested successfully, in my own kitchen, as well as many times in the kitchen of the blog "Baked by Rachel" that I adapted the recipe from. I've also used it to make a layer cake that turned out fabulously. But I understand that sometimes a recipe that works great for one person just doesn't seem to turn out for another, and I'm sorry that these were a dud for you. If you're still looking for a vanilla recipe, give the Vanilla Bean Cupcake recipe from My Baking Addiction a try. It's another that I think is fabulous and have had great success with. My Baking Addiction's Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Anonymous said...

I was trying to search around - what vanilla buttercream frosting do you use?

Anonymous said...

Words cannot describe how amazing these cupcakes are! Everyone is asking for more, but I want them all for myself :D

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Jennifer Williams said...

I am so happy that I came across this site!!! The vanilla bean cupcakes are by far the BEST that I've ever made!!! I've tried a total of about 10 - 15 other recipes. If you follow this recipe in detail you will have the best cupcakes ever! Thank you for sharing your recipe!!!

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