Fluffiest Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Well, this comes as a surprise to me too, but I haven't posted a basic vanilla cupcake recipe on the blog. Until now. Now it's time. High time.
Cupcakes are classic. Vanilla cupcakes - even more so. Vanilla cupcakes with a basic vanilla buttercream frosting - how much more so.
I guess today's theme is "classy," ladies (and gentlemen). Vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting, keeping it classy.
But allow me to just mention that these are the fluffiest (vanilla) cupcakes I've ever had the honor of consuming in my entire existence. Thank you for lending your ear.
But seriously, the texture of these cupcakes is of an out-of-this-world fluffinessssssss. I'm talking light as air, soft as a pillow, fluffy as a cloud flufinessssssssss. I'm talking no denseness, no crumbliness, no thickness, no heaviness, no heftiness whatsoever. I'm talking flurrrrrffy. With lots of "r's."
Not that a crumbly, dense, hefty cake is bad. Crumbly, dense, hefty cakes have their merits too. I, for one, certainly like a dense, moist, thick cake every now and again. But this isn't the time and place for that. This is the time and place for the world's fluffiest vanilla cupcakes.
The ideal texture of these vanilla cupcakes can be attributed to a few things:
1- cake flour. Cake flour is lighter and has less gluten than all-purpose flour. And boy is the cake flour effective at increasing the lightness and fluffiness of these cupcakes.
2- extra egg yolks. Besides for a whole egg, there's also 2 extra egg yolks added to the batter. Egg yolks add fat and moisture, which in our case translates to a velvety, soft cupcake interior.
3- sour cream and milk combo. Sour cream adds a richer flavor to cakes, but also a denser texture. Enter the milk, to lighten up the cupcake just enough.
Now, let's discuss the buttercream frosting.
What we have here is a classic buttercream frosting to accompany our classic vanilla cupcakes. Personally, I prefer cream cheese frosting to buttercream frosting, but I've come to learn that A- it's not always all about me and B- we've done cream cheese frosting for a few recipes on the blog already, like for these red velvet cupcakes and for these coconut cupcakes.
I played around with the frosting a little and settled on my favorite ratios, which you'll find below. The frosting is light, airy, generous on the vanilla flavor, and has just the right amount of sweetness - everything you could ask for from a basic vanilla buttercream frosting, really.
And then the cupcakes. They're fluffy, like I may have mentioned. But also, in contrast to their light texture, the cupcakes are very richly flavored. Melt-in-your-mouth, buttery, liberally flavored with vanilla - perfect, in short.
fluffiest vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting
Yield: 12 cupcakes
1 stick (4 oz.) butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg + 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (4.5 oz.) packed cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 sticks butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 cupcake molds with liners.
Cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes until mixture is light and fluffy.
Add in the vanilla extract, then egg + yolks one at a time, creaming until mixture is smooth and fluffy again. Batter may look curdled - that's okay.
In a small bowl, stir together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a measuring cup, measure out the milk and sour cream and then mix the two together.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk mixture to your machine running on low-medium speed, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix till just combined.
Using a large ice cream scoop, divide batter evenly into cupcake liners, filling almost to top. Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, or until they spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
Buttercream: Using a wire whisk attachment, whip the butter for a few minutes. Add in the confectioner's sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and whip until light and fluffy. Add in milk and beat till smooth. Add more milk if frosting is too thick.
Pipe frosting onto cupcakes (I used a large plain tip), and garnish with sprinkles if desired.