Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

I may be a weekend baker, but during the week I do have a real job. “Design Strategist by day, crazy baker by night.” This year, the company I work for is celebrating their 20th anniversary and to celebrate the entire Chicago office flew over for a big party and some trans-Atlantic office team building. I wanted to add my own touch to the celebrations by baking some welcome cupcakes for the Chicago team – really it was just to give them a sugar boost as we had festivities planned for the evening and they had no time for jet lag!

I went to my trusty vanilla vanilla cupcakes recipe, I’ve had it for a few years now. I love this recipe because these cakes are full on flavour and because they’re vanilla and vanilla they’re very versatile! I’ve often dyed these cakes and frostings different colors, or add in sprinkles to the batter. Basically, this is a great recipe to play with.

This time, I went a bit overboard with the playfulness. Because our company uses white + different colors in our branding, I decided to incorporate a few of them by swirling together four different colors.

To do this, I used a bit of difficult, but still manageable tricks. For future attempts, I’d suggest only doing three.  I have two different sizes of piping bags as well as tips – the standard and then jumbo “cupcake” piping tips which are huge. I made a double batch of frosting, divided it  into four separate batches and dyed each batch a different color (white, blue, purple, and yellow). Then, I filled a standard piping bag with each color (so four bags total) and cut the tip of each bag. Then I used one of the jumbo cupcake piping tips and placed it in a large pastry piping bag (a big blue one). Once that one was set up, I gathered my four colored bags and dropped them into the jumbo pastry bag. (Ben was gracious enough to hold the bag open for me so I could drop them in.)

In hindsight, I probably should have taken pictures of this part. Anyways, to pipe, just hold the bag straight up and down and swirl, the colors should them swirl themselves!  The most difficult part at this point is just trying to hold the giant bag full of frosting!  If any of you are crazy enough to try this, make sure to send me pics of your results!


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream


1. Preheat oven to 325° F (approx 165°C). Place cupcake liners into the pan.

2. In the bowl of your mixer, sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Turn on the mixer to low speed, then slowly add in cubed butter. Mix until the butter is just coated with flour and you have a crumbly consistency.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. Turn the mixer up to medium speed then add in the wet mixture in three parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition. Mix until the ingredients are just incorporated; be careful not to over mix.

4. Fill each of the cupcake tins with a couple spoonfuls of the batter until they are filled just about 2/3 full.

5. Bake the cakes for 17-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. Once they are ready, let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the frosting, beat the butter in your mixer until it starts to become creamy. Then turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add in the sifted icing sugar.

7. When all of the sugar is mixed in, add in the vanilla, salt, and cream. Let mix on medium speed for five minutes or until it reaches the desired consistency.

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1 Comment

  1. Looks amazing. Will be requesting more treats in future (I have my eye on a rainbow cake 🙂 )!


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