Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
Photo: Christina Schmidhofer
Yields Makes 12 to 14 cupcakes Total Time 45 mins
AuthorLinda Lau Anusasananan,
The same basic ingredients that make the cupcake recipe simple also ensure that it is over-the-top delicious. Dress this cupcake recipe up or down for showers, parties, or friendly neighborhood gatherings.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

In a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and all the sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on high speed until well blended.

Step 2
2

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into another bowl.

Step 3
3

With mixer on low speed, beat about a third of the flour mixture into butter mixture, then about a third of the buttermilk. Repeat to beat in remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating in thirds. When all the flour is incorporated, beat mixture on medium speed just until well blended.

Step 4
4

Fill paper-lined or buttered muffin cups (1/3-cup capacity) about three-fourths full with batter (about 1/4 cup in each).

Step 5
5

Bake in a 350° oven until tops spring back when lightly touched in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on racks 5 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

Step 6
6

Decorating tips:

Step 7
7

Patric Gabre-Kidan, pastry chef for Tom Douglas Restaurants in Seattle, shares some insider information. (We've added our favorite strategies.)

Step 8
8

Make sure your frosting is soft and creamy. This is especially important if you're piping it. Cold, stiff frosting will look dull and clumpy, not silky and smooth.

Step 9
9

Use a lot of colors. It will make each cake unique and turn the lot into instant decorations for a party.

Step 10
10

Don't think that sprinkles are cheesy. They can actually elevate the look.

Step 11
11

Mix simple decorations with more elegant ones. Colorful sprinkles aren't lowbrow beside sifted cocoa.

Step 12
12

Have fun with lighthearted toppings. Some of our favorites are chocolate jimmies, jelly beans, miniature M&Ms, miniature chocolate chips, peanuts, and chopped toffee, malted milk balls, or dark chocolate.

Step 13
13

Try artistic touches. Thin shreds of lemon or orange peel, candied lemon or orange peel, toasted coconut, candied ginger, and sugared rose petals are pretty flourishes. If using rose petals, lightly coat fresh, unsprayed ones with pasteurized egg whites, then sugar; let them dry before using.

Step 14
14

Use peanut butter as frosting. Stir it until creamy, then dollop on cakes; or swirl with chocolate frosting.

Step 15
15

Add "architectural" elements. Little meringues, miniature Oreos, or chunks of chocolate wafer cookies.

Step 16
16

Note: Nutritional analysis is per unfrosted cupcake.

Ingredients

 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
 2 large eggs
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 2/3 cup buttermilk

Directions

Step 1
1

In a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and all the sugar until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on high speed until well blended.

Step 2
2

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into another bowl.

Step 3
3

With mixer on low speed, beat about a third of the flour mixture into butter mixture, then about a third of the buttermilk. Repeat to beat in remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating in thirds. When all the flour is incorporated, beat mixture on medium speed just until well blended.

Step 4
4

Fill paper-lined or buttered muffin cups (1/3-cup capacity) about three-fourths full with batter (about 1/4 cup in each).

Step 5
5

Bake in a 350° oven until tops spring back when lightly touched in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on racks 5 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

Step 6
6

Decorating tips:

Step 7
7

Patric Gabre-Kidan, pastry chef for Tom Douglas Restaurants in Seattle, shares some insider information. (We've added our favorite strategies.)

Step 8
8

Make sure your frosting is soft and creamy. This is especially important if you're piping it. Cold, stiff frosting will look dull and clumpy, not silky and smooth.

Step 9
9

Use a lot of colors. It will make each cake unique and turn the lot into instant decorations for a party.

Step 10
10

Don't think that sprinkles are cheesy. They can actually elevate the look.

Step 11
11

Mix simple decorations with more elegant ones. Colorful sprinkles aren't lowbrow beside sifted cocoa.

Step 12
12

Have fun with lighthearted toppings. Some of our favorites are chocolate jimmies, jelly beans, miniature M&Ms, miniature chocolate chips, peanuts, and chopped toffee, malted milk balls, or dark chocolate.

Step 13
13

Try artistic touches. Thin shreds of lemon or orange peel, candied lemon or orange peel, toasted coconut, candied ginger, and sugared rose petals are pretty flourishes. If using rose petals, lightly coat fresh, unsprayed ones with pasteurized egg whites, then sugar; let them dry before using.

Step 14
14

Use peanut butter as frosting. Stir it until creamy, then dollop on cakes; or swirl with chocolate frosting.

Step 15
15

Add "architectural" elements. Little meringues, miniature Oreos, or chunks of chocolate wafer cookies.

Step 16
16

Note: Nutritional analysis is per unfrosted cupcake.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes