The Best Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

I’m totally a sucker for two things:

  1. Valentine’s Day and,
  2. Cupcakes

Especially if they are the moistest, tastiest, lightest and prettiest cupcakes ever. I have tried a ton of cupcake recipes recently and have found this one to be just stupendously perfect. I love the  infusion of real vanilla beans and I added almond extract to kick up the flavours in this recipe.

I made these beauties for Valentine’s Day to share with the sweet ladies at my office. So far, I’ve had one person say they actually licked the crumbs off the cupcake liners. That has to be a good thing, right?

If you don’t have a “go-to” vanilla cupcake recipe…look no further. These will be your new “faves” guaranteed.

There is just something so classic about a vanilla cupcake, isn’t there? Totally versatile because you can mix in different fillings and frostings to change the taste.

Now, let’s move on to the fact that Steve and I are still watching our diets. The fact that sugar and carbs are “no no’s” right now is absolutley killing me. Instead of tasted testing these, I smelled them. Not really the same but you gotta do what you gotta do.

I know that’s stupid but I figured I would get Steve to cave in a tell me what they are really like. His willpower was truly on the line here because it took every last inch of him to refrain from stuffing one of these into his face.

Here’s how my baking day went down. I set out knowing exactly what I wanted these to look like. Once again, I want to explain that I am the furthest thing from a pastry chef or cake decorator. I just fill up by frosting bags, attach a tip, and whatever happens, happens.

That’s why these look okay FAR from perfect but the main thing is they’re GOOD. Once I baked the cupcakes, I had enough leftover batter to fill up a special baking pan to make five additional mini heart shaped cakes.

Mistake #1.

I didn’t grease the pan well.

Mistake #2

I overfilled the batter.

Mistake #3 – I should have quit while I was ahead. Why did I have to bake more sh%*t when I already had 12 fairly good looking cupcakes. I dunno.

When I checked my heart shaped pan while it was still in the oven, I knew I was screwed. The batter had risen so much that it played “connect the dots” and there was no longer a hope in hell that these were going to be heart shaped anymore.

When they were finally out of the oven, I let them cool off a bit, flipped the pan over and gave it a gentle tap. Sooooo….. that didn’t work and I was on to Plan B. I tried releasing them by cutting around each one. Once I flipped them over again, half the cake was in the pan while the tops fell out on the cooling rack. Great, just great.

Instead of tossing the whole thing in the trash, I transformed them into cake pops. Moral of this story?

If all else fails, you can turn a dud into something on stick.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Best Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Serves: 12
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scrape the insides out
  • 1¾ cups cake flour, sifted - *key to a light cupcake
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup full fat yogurt or sour cream (not greek)
  • ¼ cup oil (you can use any oil here, I used canola)
  • ½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tablespoon almond extract (*note, you can use 1 tablespoon of vanilla if you don't have almond on hand but it's really good)
  • ⅔ cup full fat (whole) milk, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners. I used a 12 cup.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds that you have scraped out from the vanilla bean.
  3. Using the back of a spoon, squish any clumps of seeds and to incorporate the vanilla bean into the sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low.
  5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
  6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes.
  7. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt or sour cream, oil, and both extracts 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 runny but don't panic, that's how it should be.
  10. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full.
  11. Bake for 14 -15 minutes and test with a toothpick to make sure they are done. The toothpick should come out clean with no batter stuck to it.
  12. When the cupcakes are done, remove from the cupcake pan and place on a baking rack to completely cool. I placed mine in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up before frosting. Frost with your favourite buttercream recipe.


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