Too sweet, too dense, too eggy--I am always on the hunt for the perfect vanilla cupcake, and although I’ve come across a few great ones that I would reuse and proudly serve my willing guinea pigs, my search continues.
What makes the perfect vanilla cupcake you ask? For me, the top 5 things I look for are:
- Fluff factor: springiness/fluffiness of a cupcake.
- Eggs/Butter ratios: My max is 4 eggs and 2 cups of butter. Any more is just overkill. Sure it may taste better, but is it really worth the cholesterol?
- Sweetness: The less the better. You’re already going to frost them, why do you need so much sugar in the cake itself?
- Texture: Cupcakes shouldn’t taste like muffins or cakes, the perfect cupcake should have a density close to a light cakey doughnut.
- Taste: Not too eggy, not too sweet, not too flourey. I personally really like the flavour of Original Cupcakes’ cupcakes. That’s probably as close to perfect tasting as you can get.
Baking my (almost) perfect vanilla cupcakes
While this recipe isn’t my perfect cupcake, it does taste pretty good. It’s an easy cupcake recipe and you end with a relatively fluffy, not too dense vanilla cupcake. It’s a little too sweet for my taste even without the icing, but again, still pretty yum in my books.
I got this yellow cupcake recipe from Just Every Day Me’s blog but the recipe’s originally from the Food Network and includes a few of my own alterations.
Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
Makes: 24 (I made 12 large and about 24 minis)
Oven: 350 degrees
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
- Take softened butter and mix until smooth. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy (2 – 3 minutes).
- Add in eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
- Mix in dry ingredients, alternating with milk in three additions, making sure to scrape down sides.
- Add vanilla.
- Once well blended, fill lined muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes depending on your oven. Cupcakes should be a light yellow, or if you like it a little crispy, a golden brown colour.
I tried out the frosting from Just Every Day Me. It’s not too bad, but I did make a few alterations including decreasing the sugar to 2 cups from 2 1/2 and using almond extract for a slightly different flavour.
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar (I suggest sifting it first to avoid lumps)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used almond extract just for a little something different)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (I thought this was a bit odd but it really brings out the flavour)
- Cream butter until light and fluffy, then gradually add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
- Finally, mix in extract and salt, beat for about a minute until it reaches a light, spreadable consistency.
- Check to make sure cupcakes are completely cool before icing and enjoy!
If you think you've found the perfect cupcake recipe, please share! I would love to try it.