Everyone should have one good vanilla cupcake recipe and one good chocolate cupcake recipe. You’ll have to decide whether this will be your “one good vanilla recipe” or not, but it is an excellent recipe.
Vanilla cupcakes should have a good amount of vanilla flavor to distinguish them from a “plain” cupcake and there should be a buttery flavor to the cakes, but without any greasiness to detract from the vanilla flavoring. These cupcakes have a combination of butter and buttermilk, which lends a very rich and buttery flavor to the finished cake without making them greasy, and the vanilla flavor is brightened up with a touch of almond extract. Overall, the balance of flavors is just about right.
Texture-wise, these cupcakes are tender and fluffy but have just enough weight to them that they stand up to any kind (or amount, if you have kids who like to pile it on) of icing very well. This weight also makes them quite satisfying.
I frosted these with a simple buttercream icing, but as I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes to pair with them, you’ll have to stay in suspense for that recipe just a bit longer.
Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it looks creamy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla and almond extracts until mixture is smooth.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until almost combined. Add buttermilk and stir, again, until almost combined. Add the rest of the flour and stir until all ingredients are mixed in.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups.
Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the muffin pan. Cool completely before frosting.
Makes 12 cupcakes