I’m trying to simplify life a bit and one small step is narrowing down my white and buttermilk cupcake recipes to just one. Ha! Kidding. I’d narrow my wardrobe to one outfit before narrowing down my cupcakes to one recipe, but if I were (theoretically, of course) to take just one vanilla cupcake recipe I might take these Butter Yellow Cupcakes.
The original recipe is from White Lily and it makes a light textured yet sturdy vanilla butter cupcake. It’s a simple recipe, but for optimal results you need the right kind of flour. White Lily, a low protein flour made with a soft winter wheat works perfectly, but if you can’t find it you can do what my sister-in-law Beth does and use cake flour. I gave her this recipe years ago and it’s her favorite, but she can never find White Lily in Connecticut. So use White Lily or Cake, but don’t use all-purpose and I don’t recommend the “make your own” cake flour trick for these either. Gosh, I just complicated everything when I meant to introduce what is really a simple cupcake — you just need the right flour.
Also, if you need help remember this recipe, it’s just a basic 1234 cake (1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour and 4 eggs) cut in half with 1/2 less sugar. Of course you still have to remember to add the 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, vanilla and milk, but knowing it’s almost a 1234 cake makes it an easy recipe to memorize. Speaking of which, I’ve made some really awful 1234 cakes in my lift, but it’s always been because I used the wrong flour and whatever low fat milk was around. Use White Lily or cake flour and whole milk you can’t go wrong.
By the way, if you need a cupcake container, it’s very possible your grocery store bakery will sell you a couple if you ask nicely. I needed to drop these off at the school and wanted them to look sharp without sacrificing a nice plate. The store bakery agreed to sell me two cartons for a dollar each. It’s more fun to make cupcakes when you know exactly how you are going to transport them.
- 1 1/2 cups White Lily or cake flour (168 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (114 grams)
- 3/4 cup sugar (147 grams)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 8 tablespoons butter, unsalted (114 grams)
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of whipping cream
- 1-2 tablespoons of whole milk or as needed
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl.
- In a mixing bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, stirring eggs rather than beating, until they are incorporated into the batter. Add vanilla. Beat on medium high with the mixer, scraping sides of bowl.
- With mixer on lowest speed or with a rubber scraper, add the flour and milk alternately, stirring until blended. Beat with the mixer on medium for about 10 seconds or just until smooth. Don't over do it.
- Divide batter evenly among between the muffins cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and let cool completely before making the frosting.
- To make the frosting, gradually stir sugar into the butter until mixed. Add vanilla and beat with a mixer, then add cream and milk and beat until smooth. Add the salt and beat until well mixed.