vanilla bean cupcakes

Everyone needs a good recipe for the basic cupcake flavors – chocolate & vanilla at the very least.  Having those in place gives you a basis to create all different flavors – like these chocolate biscoff crunch cupcakes or vanilla cupcakes with different flavor icings.  This recipe is my go to for vanilla cupcakes – they’re light and fluffy, with beautiful flecks of vanilla bean throughout.  The process might seem like overkill – adding the sugar 1/4 cup at a time and whatnot – but the end result is worth it when you end up with a super fluffy cupcake instead of an overly dense one.  Having some quality base recipes really opens up a world of possibility when it comes to your cupcakes.

I made these with this whipped vanilla bean frosting, but you could easily add different extracts or fruit purees to that recipe to make it your own!


  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.  Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod (or reserve for another use.)  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl periodically, as needed.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix each addition just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix.

Scoop the batter into the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Replace the paper liners and bake the remaining batter as above.

Yield: about 28 cupcakes

Source: Annie’s Eats; originally from The Well Decorated Cake

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