"I'm on a diet. I only eat cupcakes on days that ends in a Y."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake? - Week 10

I am a follower of the blog,  Cupcake Project.  Steph, the author, has been working diligently to find the "Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake."  This week she crowned the winner, and it is the cupcake I chose to make for week 10. 

I was really excited to try this recipe. I was slightly intimidated that it called for whole vanilla beans, something I have never worked with. When I went grocery shopping for the needed supplies I nearly abandoned my quest to try this cupcake.  Whole vanilla beans are EXPENSIVE.  I paid seven dollars for two beans.  In retrospect, that is not a horrible grocery store price.  I'm glad I didn't change recipes, I really liked working with the vanilla beans.  In the future I will probably purchase them online in bulk.  The  flavor is EXCELLENT!!!

I'm looking forward to hearing back from my faithful cupcake testers about what they liked or didn't like about this cupcake.  I'm still deciding if it's my favorite vanilla recipe, but it is certainly a make again!  If you give it a try, let me know what you think!!!

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake - From Cupcake Project
I made no changes to her recipe because I wanted to see if  it lived up to the hype.  Take some time and click on the link to read about how Steph determined to crown this particular recipe the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake.

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
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. 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.
  7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  9. 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.)
  10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

I topped this delightful little cupcake with Nutella buttercream and chocolate sprinkles.  If you are a Nutella fan you will LOVE this frosting.  I am quite happy with how it turned out. 

Nutella Frosting
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 jar Nutella
4 cups powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla
1/3 cup whole milk

Using paddle attachment, cream butter, Nutella, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. (Approx 3 minutes.) Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency. 


  1. I'm going to post some of the reviews from my cupcake testers here in the comments. Overall I'd say these cupcakes are certainly worth making again!!!

    "Ok, those are possibly the best cupcakes I've ever had! Oh my, so glad we only had 4 b/c I could eat those 'til I'm sick! Soooooooooooooo good!"

    "Omw! Rachel you need to make another round back to my house with those. I swear each cupcake you make is more amazing than the last."

    "I was a huge fan of the frosting and will be trying it next time I bake. I would however have liked to try the cake with a less sweet frosting or none at all just because every bite right as I got that great vanilla cake it was quickly overtaken by the great frosting."

  2. Would love to see more cupcakes. :-) I included a link to this website from mine -