These Vanilla Cupcakes will be your absolute Favorite! So Fluffy, with an Intense Vanilla Flavor and Buttery Richness. They have a Fine, Even Crumb, and a Perfect Dome on top! They are Sturdy enough to stand up to all sorts of Fillings and Frostings, but I’ve kept it Simple with a Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. You’ll reach for this Recipe again and again!
Guess what? I’ve reworked this recipe and come up with something even better! Go check out my Even Simpler, More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes—-> here.
I was so pleased when the people at Zulka reached out to me recently, and offered me a sample of their product. (If you aren’t already familiar, Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar is a less-processed, non-GMO version of the granulated sugar we already know and love.) Since I am a huge lover of all things sweet, and ALSO of all things natural, I thought Zulka would be a great fit for me, this blog, and you, my readers!
I knew from the start I wanted to bake up a recipe that really allowed the flavor of the sugar to shine through. Something simple and sweet, that would showcase this lovely product.
Also, I was overwhelmed by the positive response to my Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. It took me by surprise, that such a simple recipe was so well-received, and it got me thinking… maybe I should offer more tried and true basics on Baking a Moment? Kind of silly for me to assume that everybody already has their favorite standby recipes to reach for.
So, today, I’m introducing a new category/recurring series here on Baking a Moment: “Simply Perfect.” I still want to offer you guys some clever and inventive ideas, but I’m also going to arm you with some seriously awesome building-block recipes too! These will be all my favorites, from years of practicing and experimentation! I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do….
First up are these simple white cupcakes. I tested a total of four vanilla cupcake recipes, in search of my absolute favorite. Here are the key features I was looking for:
- A fine, even crumb
- A fluffy texture, but not so soft that it couldn’t stand up to filling/frosting
- A domed top
- Intense vanilla and buttery flavor
The recipes I tested are as follows:
Billy’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes (tasted great but had a hard crust on top), America’s Test Kitchen White Cake (pillowy soft and delicious, but too delicate), Dorie Greespan’s Perfect Party Cake, via My Baking Addiction (subbing vanilla bean paste), and My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes, by Cookies and Cups, which was adapted from Back in the Day Bakery.
Also I thought Shelly’s had a slightly richer flavor, which is probably because of the egg yolk. (But if you’re really going for a snowy white cake, I’d go with Jaimie’s.) And her recipe is so easy to throw together, with only a mixing bowl, paddle, and measuring cup to wash when all’s said and done. All of them were so very delicious though! I’ve only made one slight modification to Shelly’s recipe, and that is the addition of vanilla bean paste. It really amps up the flavor, and it’s a more economical choice than whole vanilla beans.
These little beauties bake up so fluffy and soft, and they can be filled or topped with all sorts of deliciousness. But today, I kept it simple with another “Simply Perfect” recipe: Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It’s a little more effort than the straight-up powdered sugar + butter variety, but the satiny-smooth, light-as-air, yet richly indulgent flavor and texture make it more than worth your while!
- 1½ cup cake flour
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into small cubes
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the butter and mix on low speed, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (2-3 minutes).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are well-combined.
- Combine the milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Beat half this mixture into the flour/butter/eggs.
- Beat on medium speed for 1½ minutes, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture, and beat for another 30 seconds.
- Fill paper liners ⅔ full with batter, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool completely before topping with buttercream.
- Place the egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water, and whisk continuously, until the mixture is hot, opaque, and the sugar is completely dissolved (should not feel gritty between your fingers), about 5 minutes.
- Whip the mixture on high speed, until stiff peaks form and it has completely cooled.
- Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, whipping well after each addition. If it begins to look curdled, continue to beat until it comes back together, before adding the remaining butter.
- Mix in the vanilla until well blended.
You are going to love these simple, sweet cupcakes! Sometimes the simplest pleasures can really be the best. Not everything needs to be fussed around with, right? And that goes just as much for sugar as it does for cupcakes.
If you like things simple, unfussed around with, and natural, then you’ll definitely enjoy Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar. I have not been compensated by Zucarmex (the makers of Zulka), but I was given a sample of their product to review. All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own. Visit www.zulca.com or the Zulka Sugar Facebook page, for more great recipe ideas.
Here are some of my other “Simply Perfect” recipes: