Simple Vanilla Cupcakes and My First Blogiversary!

by Natasha on June 9, 2013

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

Is it June already? These past couple of months have gone by way too fast. So much has happened in Cake Merchant Land. I got engaged, adopted a puppy, bought a house, and moved! Needless to say, things have been a little crazy around here. My first blogiversary has come and gone. It was actually May 20th, but I still wanted to do a belated blogiversary post and share some of the things that I have learned this year.

Vanilla Cupcakes

First, I have to say how much I love blogging. It has been such a fun creative outlet for me, and I’m convinced that nothing relieves stress like a freshly made batch of cupcakes. Thanks so much to everyone who has been reading and for all of your supportive comments. Your thoughts and opinions mean a lot to me. My goal for the second year of blogging is incorprate more healthy dessert recipes into the mix, since several readers have asked for it. I think it will not only be good for the blog, but for my waistline as well.

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m slightly terrified of vanilla cake. I find it to be rather unforgiving, and after a few vanilla cake fails in my early baking days, I pretty much stopped making them from scratch. One of my blogging goals was to find a great vanilla cake recipe without using a mix. What I found was that is was not only the ingredients that made a good recipe, but the mixing method as well.

There are a few things that have changed the way that I make (and view) vanilla cake. The first is The Cake Bible. In fact, this book has pretty much changed the way I bake altogether. If you’re new to baking, or even a seasoned baker, I would recommend getting your hands on it and reading it cover to cover. The Cake Bible introduced me to a method of mixing called the reverse creaming method. Instead of creaming the butter and sugar together first, the fat (butter or shortening) is beaten with the dry ingredients along with part of the liquid. The remainder of the liquid is then beaten into the mixture in installments, which results in a lighter crumb.

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

So the question is, can you reverse cream any recipe? That’s what I wanted to find out. I took a traditional vanilla cake recipe (from Sprinkles cupcakes) that I used all the time, and just changed the order of how I mixed the ingredients. Did it work? Yes and no. There are a few keys to success that apply to all cakes and cupcakes, but especially when using this method.

First, your ingredients MUST be at room temperature. If they’re not, you’ll over mix your batter, and end up with tough cupcakes. Tough cupcakes are no fun. Second, do not overbake these. The first time I made these, I was working with a new oven, and hadn’t put my oven thermometer in. The oven temperature was way off, and my cupcakes turned out dry. Using an oven thermometer¬†will help you figure out the discrepancies in your own oven. Also, the baking time in the recipe is approximate and varies from oven to oven, so watch your cupcakes carefully during the last few minutes of baking.
Last but not least, when making vanilla cupcakes, pure vanilla extract is a must. Don’t skimp, and get the good stuff. I like Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste, since I like to see the flecks of vanilla bean in the finished product.

When I followed these guidelines and reverse creamed the original recipe, I got a light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes worthy of a blogiversary celebration. Have you ever tried to change the mixing method of a recipe? If so, what were your results?

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes


    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (237 ml) ,at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into eight pieces
  • 1 large egg ,at room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites ,at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 (190 grams) cups all-purpose flour ,sifted
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • For the frosting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • a couple of drops of food coloring (optional, Americolor turquoise)


    For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, combine the 1/4 cup of the milk, vanilla extract, egg, and egg whites,
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Beat on low for about 30 seconds, until combined.
  4. Add the butter and remaining 1/4 cup milk and beat on low until moistened. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and for 90 seconds.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg mixture in 3 separate additions, beating on medium after each addition.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 liners (I used a cookie scoop to do this). Bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
  8. For the frosting:
  9. With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it becomes pale and creamy (2-3 minutes).
  10. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat on low until combined. Turn up to medium and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add the vanilla extract and beat on medium, about 3 minutes.
  12. Add the food coloring, one drop at a time until you reach the desired color. Beat until the food coloring is fully incorporated.
  13. Fill a decorating bag fitted with a pastry tip, and pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Top with sprinkles.
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Cupcake recipe adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes
These cupcakes are best eaten on the day they are made, but if you plan to make them in advance, keep in mind that the color of the frosting will deepen over time.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly @ Life made Sweeter June 10, 2013 at 9:53 am

Just stumbled upon your blog Natasha and think it’s great! Happy blogiversary and what a great way to celebrate! These Vanilla Cupcakes look amazing – especially love the frosting on it too :) Cheers to your first year and many more to come!:)
Kelly @ Life made Sweeter recently posted…Healthier Coconut Marshmallow Cake BarsMy Profile


2 Natasha June 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

Thanks for your kind words, Kelly, and thanks for stopping by!


3 Julia | June 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Congratulations on your blogiversary! And these simple cupcakes look quite sophisticated to me! Very approrpiate for such a special event. :)
Julia | recently posted…Asian fish and peanut sauce noodlesMy Profile


4 Natasha June 10, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Thanks, Julia!


5 Anne ~ Uni Homemaker June 10, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Happy Blogiversary! And these beautiful cupcakes are the way to celebrate it. Congrats on the 1 year, your new house, new puppy and getting engaged!
Anne ~ Uni Homemaker recently posted…Linguini with Shrimp and Olive TapenadeMy Profile


6 Natasha June 10, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Thank you, Anne!


7 Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes June 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Happy blogiversary to you!! I am in love with the color of the frosting on these cupcakes…and love how it matches the plates :)
Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes recently posted…Creamy Garlic ShellsMy Profile


8 Natasha June 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Thanks, Ashley! I think there needs to be more turquoise food in the world.


9 Jocelyn @ BruCrew Life June 11, 2013 at 12:27 am

Happy 1 year!! Love these pretty cupcakes!


10 Natasha June 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

Thank you!


11 June 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I love your pictures and recipes, they are mouth watering. Would love for you to share them with us at Over at we are not photography expert snobs, we are just foodies, so pretty much all your pictures will get accepted.


12 Theresa June 12, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Do you use 1 cup of milk total or a 1/2 cup? In the ingredients list it calls for 1/2 cup but when reading the directions it equals to a whole cup


13 Natasha June 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Hi Theresa,
There was a typo in the directions, which I fixed. It’s 1/2 cup total.


14 Kiran @ June 13, 2013 at 12:30 am

Happy Blogiversary and here’s to many more delectable years!!
Kiran @ recently posted…Salmon En PapilotteMy Profile


15 Natasha June 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Thank you, Kiran!


16 sally @ sallys baking addiction June 14, 2013 at 4:29 pm

These are GORGEOUS my friend! Seriously — cupcake perfection. Happy Blogiversary – what an amazing day for you, Natasha!!
sally @ sallys baking addiction recently posted…Blueberry Sweet Rolls with Lemon Glaze.My Profile


17 Natasha June 16, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Thank you so much, Sally!


18 Jenn June 26, 2013 at 2:13 am

We made these last night. So good-love cutting the butter in it. I do wonder if using real vanilla beans would be better but we were still very satisfied. Everyone said they tasted homemade.


19 Natasha June 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I’m so glad you liked them! I make this recipe often with vanilla bean paste, since I love seeing the flecks of vanilla bean.


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