One-Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes

April 28, 2020
21 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 22 minutes
  • makes 12 cupcakes
Author Notes

Good vanilla cupcakes should be able to come together in 30 minutes or less, and with just one bowl to clean, whenever the mood strikes. They have to dome well, too—an outcome that rests not just on ample leavening, but cups filled daringly high, and trust in the oven (no peeking!). Domed cupcakes look especially pretty when frosted. The crumb should be denser than a sponge (to support frosting), but lighter than a pound cake (to make way for frosting).

For the first drafts of this recipe, I employed the reverse-creaming method. It’s exactly what it sounds like—you build the batter backwards, coating flour with fat first, before introducing the liquid, which increases tenderness. But batch after batch, the cupcakes emerged mottled and flat. While reverse-creaming might work well for cake layers, I reversed the reverse, and the cupcakes were all the happier for it.

While this comes together quickest in a stand mixer, you can also make these cupcakes with a hand mixer, or even, by hand—it’ll just take a bit longer. Before swiping with a buttercream or vinegar-spiked cream cheese icing (as I did), let your canvases cool thoroughly. A slightly warm cupcake will melt your beautiful piping—hardly a problem—just call it a baker’s snack, and gobble it while watching, waiting for the remaining to cool.
Coral Lee

What You'll Need
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (188 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) whole milk, room temperature
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a standard 12-muffin pan.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium-high speed until lightened and ultra-fluffy, about 7 minutes. Stop and scrape down the bowl as necessary—there should be no visible crystals of sugar left in the butter. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, and stir with a fork.
  3. Reduce the speed to low, and add in the eggs one at a time, again scraping down the sides of the bowl. (If the mixture looks curdled, it means the butter and eggs have separated—bring them back together by heating the stand mixer bowl with a torch, or with a warm, damp towel.) Increase the speed to medium, and whip until batter is webby and thickened, another 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and alternate adding the milk and dry ingredients until there are no traces left of either.
  4. Fill each lined muffin cup 3/4 of the way full, using a size 16 disher or 1/4 measuring cup. Bake for 5 minutes, then drop the heat to 350°F, and bake another 22 to 25 minutes, or until the cupcakes bounce back when pressed lightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

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1 Review

Liza P. January 31, 2021
Recipe is a keeper and the portion is perfect for a family of two. I made it to go w/ leftover goat & cream cheese frosting we had. This cupcake went well w/ the tang of that icing. I only used 3/4 C of sugar and it was still sweet enough for our household. I appreciate the tips, I did have visible sugar crystals after whipping the butter & sugar for 7ish minutes and my batter did seperate (curdle), but didn't have a torch handy. I just kept on keeping on with the mixing and I think overall the batter and texture of the cupcakes turned out fine. Good enough for us! Thanks!