This is the next cupcake I plan on making. Stef from Cupcake Project has been hard at work trying to discover the Best Vanilla Cupcake recipe. I have been carefully following her vanilla cupcake challenge for quite some time. Stef gathered 50 bakers to test and rate 3 different rounds of vanilla cupcake recipes.
The first vanilla cupcake recipe she tried for round 1 only received 29% approval.
The second vanilla cupcake recipe she tried for round 1 only received 36% approval.
The third vanilla cupcake recipe she tried for round 1 only received 66% approval.
Rest assured, she has finally nailed it. Her Cupcake Explorers were truly looking for a Vanilla Cupcake that was light and fluffy with an intense vanilla flavor.
- “I can officially say that this will be the last round I will participate in for the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake recipe because I love it so much. I would bake these over and over and recommend it to anyone and everyone I know. This will be a recipe that I can add to my “when I’m having a bad day, I bake” list because baking a favourite recipe always makes my day better and puts me in a great mood.”
- “I loved this cupcake! I have used this recipe 4 times in the last two weeks. And 3 of those batches were orders other people placed for the cupcakes! This is the Ultimate Vanilla!!”
The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
Yield: 16 cupcakes
- 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour, not self-rising
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
- 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. (For those of you who are new to using vanilla beans, check out this video to learn how to get the seeds out of the bean.)
- Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
- Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s supposed to be that way.)
- Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
- Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
- When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don’t own a cooling rack) to cool.
Tips: Because everyone’s oven is just a bit different and your liners may be a slightly different size than mine, I highly recommend that if you have time, you bake a test cupcake before baking your whole batch.
You can frost the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake with any frosting that you choose. Check out my (Stef’s) top ten frostings for some ideas to get you started. However, for the full vanilla experience, I suggest frosting with vanilla bean buttercream frosting.