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A extremely nice vanilla cupcake is difficult to return by. All too usually, what I hope will likely be a moist and delicate single-serve cake seems to be dry, unsatisfying, and cloyingly candy. Even after baking personally and professionally for a number of years, I’ve but to discover a basic vanilla cupcake recipe I deem excellent.
Enter: my vanilla cupcake mission. I was decided to discover a flavorful, moist, decadent vanilla cupcake with the excellent cake-to-frosting ratio. It wanted to be easy and fuss-free, but worthy of a celebration. To discover it, I selected 4 of the hottest vanilla cupcake recipes on the web and baked them off in a festive side-by-side style check.
To my shock, each recipe impressed me! They have been all pretty straightforward to make and can be devoured up at any social gathering. But there was one recipe that rose above the relaxation, boasting the excellent mixture of textures and flavors. It will perpetually be my go-to recipe — and when you bake a batch your self, it will likely be yours, too.
- Meet Our 4 Vanilla Cupcake Contenders
- How I Tested the Cupcake Recipes
- 1. The Best Blank Canvas: Preppy Kitchen’s Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
- 2. The Picture-Perfect Cupcake: Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes
- 3. The Moist, Pound Cake-Like Cupcake: Grandbaby Cakes’ Vanilla Cupcakes
- 4. The Clear Winner: Cupcake Project’s Best Vanilla Cupcakes
Meet Our 4 Vanilla Cupcake Contenders
To hold issues truthful, I eradicated any recipes with mix-ins (equivalent to sprinkles) or flavored frostings (equivalent to chocolate). From there, I searched the web to seek out the hottest and beloved vanilla cupcake recipes, on the lookout for ones with passionate remark sections and glowing evaluations. I additionally requested my coworkers for his or her private favorites. This led me to my 4 finalists: Preppy Kitchen, Magnolia Bakery, Grandbaby Cakes, and Cupcake Project.
The best recipe comes from Preppy Kitchen, a well-liked baking weblog written by baker and YouTuber John Kanell. His easy no-mixer recipe makes use of solely egg whites (not the yolks) for a lighter, brighter cake, and the cupcakes are topped with a easy vanilla buttercream. It has a five-star score from virtually 900 votes, and he says it’s the recipe his buddies request most frequently.
The subsequent recipe comes from Magnolia Bakery, the beloved NYC bakery that pulls cupcake-lovers close to and far. The recipe, which is printed of their cookbook, is made with a mixture of all-purpose and self-rising flour, and the desserts are topped with their iconic swooshed frosting.
Grandbaby Cakes, who has gained a number of of our recipe showdowns, goes all-in on her vanilla cupcake recipe, including a beneficiant quantity of each bitter cream and vegetable oil to maintain it moist, and a full tablespoon of vanilla extract for taste. Although she provides two choices for the frosting (American or Swiss buttercream), I selected the American buttercream to remain in line with the different recipes.
And final however not least, Cupcake Project — the winner of our chocolate cupcake showdown — makes her cupcakes utilizing an uncommon mixing method that has you mix the softened butter straight with the dry elements fairly than creaming it with the sugar. Hers was additionally the solely recipe to make use of vanilla bean seeds along with vanilla extract, and is topped together with her in style vanilla buttercream.
How I Tested the Cupcake Recipes
All of the cupcakes have been baked on the identical day, in the identical oven, and in contrast in a side-by-side style check. I paired every recipe with frostings written by the identical authors. I additionally had some buddies style the cupcakes to see what they thought. At the finish of the day, all of us picked the identical recipe as our favourite — and a cupcake winner was topped.
1. The Best Blank Canvas: Preppy Kitchen’s Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
This is your common easy, no-frills vanilla cupcake recipe. They tasted nice, however they didn’t wow me. They’re precisely what you anticipate from an excellent vanilla cupcake, making them a dependable possibility for events or potlucks, however not one that may stand out in a dessert unfold. Because the cake itself is fairly plain, I may see them being the excellent possibility in the event you’re seeking to riff on the recipe a bit. You may completely amp up the spices, attempt a different-flavored frosting, or give them a Funfetti spin.
2. The Picture-Perfect Cupcake: Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes
I can undoubtedly see why these cupcakes are well-known. They have been very good. The cake had a fragile crumb and ethereal texture much like a sponge cake, with only a faint vanilla taste. The frosting was scrumptious and the smoothest out of all the recipes I examined, which helped create that iconic swooshed look. In truth, even novice bakers may make these cupcakes look nice — they virtually styled themselves.
But whereas the cupcakes have been scrumptious, I personally desire a barely moister, denser cupcake with a bolder vanilla taste. If you want gentle, ethereal cupcakes, that is the recipe for you, however learn on in the event you’re on the lookout for a much less delicate possibility.
3. The Moist, Pound Cake-Like Cupcake: Grandbaby Cakes’ Vanilla Cupcakes
The texture of those cupcakes was unimaginable. They have been impossibly moist and dense in the most fulfilling method. They had the texture of pound cake however have been nonetheless by some means delicate. A mix of each bitter cream and vegetable oil made the cake an absolute dream to eat and saved them moist for days, making them an ideal make-ahead possibility. The frosting was additionally spot-on — the addition of salt saved it from tasting too candy.
If you’re on the lookout for a basic, high quality cupcake recipe that mimics the texture of pound cake, this can be a nice alternative. It’s not as gentle as a few of the different recipes, but it surely’s scrumptious in its personal method.
4. The Clear Winner: Cupcake Project’s Best Vanilla Cupcakes
All of the taste-testers agreed these have been, hands-down, the highest cupcakes of the bunch. Mixing the softened butter straight into the dry elements (a way known as the reverse creaming method) was sensible: It gave the cupcakes a super-airy texture that was gentle but moist. It’s like they’d all the greatest options of a sponge cake (the delicate texture, airiness, and tender crumb) with none of the dryness.
This batter additionally known as for a mixture of vanilla extract and vanilla beans, giving the cupcakes a double hit of vanilla taste that tasted identical to a birthday cake. The bitter cream and milk saved them moist and gave them a refined dairy tang that reduce by means of the sweetness. The vanilla buttercream was nice, too. It was straightforward to make and not too candy. I can’t wait to bake these once more and share them with extra buddies — they’re critical showstoppers.
Do you’ve a favourite vanilla cupcake recipe? Let us know in the feedback!