The perfect vanilla cupcake recipe is elusive in a way that is not entirely incongruous to the search for the perfect white shirt - there are so many out there but finding The One is ironically an utterly exhausting (and seemingly futile) task. But in the same way that a crisp white shirt is an absolute sartorial essential, the plain, understated vanilla cupcake is a staple that must be possessed in one's cupcake repertoire.
For the longest time, I used this recipe, which was lovely in its ease (if you're short on time, I still recommend this one!) but eventually my fastidious palate longed for a more 'fluffy' version. Cue the beautiful Sweetapolita's Bakery Style Cupcakes. Truly transcendent and wholly life-changing, I haven't come across a more flawless recipe in the arduous five-year search for the ultimate vanilla cupcake recipe. I do, however, use a different buttercream icing - a creature of habit, I have iced hundreds of cupcakes with the recipe below and they have proven deliciously infallible for Magnolia-bakery style frosting or even for piping delicate rosettes.
Vanilla buttercream icing (adapted from Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas' 'Cupcakes' book)
Makes enough for 15-20 regular cupcakes
- 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 60ml full cream milk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- Few drops of food colouring (if you have a penchant for pretty things)
Beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth - this usually takes me about five minutes. Add the remaining icing sugar until the components of the batter are beautifully incorporated. It should be dreamily creamy by the end!
If you do decide to imbue your buttercream with some gorgeous hues, remember to add the food colouring sparingly - a little (a single drop will generally suffice) tends to go a long way!
I do hope you are all as enamoured with this recipe as I am!
Love, Mandy. xx