SMiLes by Meg

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

Before I get into this post, I just want to say Happy Father’s Day to my amazing dad.  I had grand designs to use my post this week to share one of his secret recipes, but, realistically, I shouldn’t make an entire batch of pancakes just for myself.  So instead I hope he’s ok with a shout out.

Dad – you’ve taught me that if I want to do something, the only person that can stand in my way is myself.  You’ve taught me to go after what I want and what will make me happy (like this blog!).  You’ve taught me what it means to have someone you can always count on, no matter what.  These lessons have served me well and will continue to serve me well in the future.  Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, and I love you morer than the mostest!

Have all of you called your dad yet today?

Anyways, back to baking.  This week I made cupcakes for a potluck with some other teachers.  Full disclosure, I did make vanilla AND chocolate, but I’m saving the chocolate recipe for a weekend when I don’t have time to bake.  Sorry.  Here’s a preview in case you can’t wait:

Chocolate Cupcakes - 1But this weekend I’m focusing just on the vanilla.  You really can’t go wrong with a vanilla cupcake.  It’s like vanilla ice cream: no one is going to say, “eww, vanilla!”  So I turned to my Magnolia’s Bakery cookbook, first featured here, and went with their recipe.  They are, after all, famous for their vanilla cupcakes.

First, combine the flours in a small bowl and set aside.  I halved the recipe since I was making both chocolate and vanilla.  So this is kinda small batch baking, in that it’s 12 cupcakes instead of 24.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 1In a large bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer until smooth.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 2Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 3Add the sugar in a couple additions and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes.  That will feel like a long time with a hand mixer.  Trust me, you want this to be light and fluffy.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 4Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 5Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 6Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 7Measure out the milk into a measuring cup and add the vanilla extract to the cup.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 8Add the dry ingredients in 3 separate additions, alternating with the milk and vanilla.  Beat after each addition until incorporated but no more.  The end result will be light and airy.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 9Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 10Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 11Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.  I found some awesome ones that are tinfoil on the inside and paper on the outside so that the design stays bright.  Distribute the batter evenly between the cups.  If you have handy-dandy cupcake measuring spoons, keeping this even is easy.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 12Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 13Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool 15 minutes in tin before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.  I took a lot of gratuitous pictures of this.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 14Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 15Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 16Meanwhile, make the vanilla buttercream.  Note: this is a DIFFERENT recipe than the one I have used in previous posts.  Magnolia’s claims that you can leave it at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  I left it overnight, but I would recommend using it as soon as you’ve made it.  Mine ended up a little too thin when it came time to decorate.

First, put the butter, 2 cups of sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 17Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Frosting should be smooth and creamy.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 18Add the remaining sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition until it’s the consistency you want.  This is where I messed up, so make sure you know how thick you want it!

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 19Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 20Again, you could store it at room temperature, but I would recommend against.

Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 21When you’re ready, frost the cupcakes and decorate as desired!


Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes - 22

Vanilla Cupcakes


  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine flours in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Beat butter on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Add sugar gradually and beat for an additional 3 minutes until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  5. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with milk and vanilla, and beating until incorporated after each addition.
  6. Distribute evenly among 12 lined muffin tins and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool in tins for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Vanilla Buttercream


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place butter, 2 cups of sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat 3-5 minutes with a hand mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add sugar by the 1/2 cup, beating after each addition, until frosting is desired consistency.
  3. Decorate your cupcakes!

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