Learn how to make perfect classic white cupcakes with the most silky smooth flour buttercream. Leave pure white or top with pretty sprinkles!
I made these cupcakes as some kind of peace offering. Both to myself and to cupcakes. It was an attempt to reconcile our differences and mend our relationship.
Let me back up for a minute.
If you’ve followed Baker Bettie for some time, it is no secret that cupcakes aren’t exactly my thing. That may be putting it a bit too nicely, but I really don’t want to offend the cupcake lovers out there. Because I know there are a lot of you. And we can still be friends, right?
So I’m not going to get into all the intricate details about why cupcakes and I have our differences and why I’m like the only baker on the planet that just can’t get on this wagon. And how it mostly has to do with cupcake to frosting ratios and all that. It is beside the point.
The point here is that I want to be a great baker. That is my goal. And cake is a big part of that. We talked about this a little with my fluffy yellow cake recipe. How I’m trying to push myself to embrace all techniques in baking. And just because I don’t love cake or frosting doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to make a great cake and great frosting. So I’m working on it.
Ok, can we just pause and appreciate sprinkles for a moment please? Why the heck did it take me this long to understand the joy of sprinkles? I used them for the first time 3 months ago, and I get it now. I totally get it. It was like I subconsciously was trying to be more sophisticated than sprinkles. But the lesson here is that, NOBODY is too sophisticated for sprinkles! Lesson learned.
I posted on instagram the other day that I felt like I should name this post: “I really don’t like cupcakes but you probably do and everyone who tried them loved them so you should make them even though I can’t personally vouch for how good they are.” But it isn’t really true. Because I can tell you how good they are. They are good enough that I ate a whole cupcake. That is saying a lot! And my husband ate like 25 of them so… You do the math. (By the way, side note, I use instagram now! Welcome to 2010 Kristin! Check me out if you love pictures of food and cute kittes. Yes, I am a crazy cat lady.)
The one kind of cake that I sometimes will eat is wedding cake. A really good and moist white cake with hint of almond extract. So that’s what I went for here. We’re using basically the exact same recipe and technique as the yellow cake recipe. The only difference here is swapping out the egg yolks for more whites and adding a bit of almond extract. I also have been wanting to try this flour buttercream that I hear people talk about a lot. Many have claimed that it is the best buttercream they have ever tasted. And it was for me too! Though, I still can’t say I am a frosting fan. You make it by cooking milk, flour and sugar together until thick then you beat in the butter. It is crazy silky smooth in texture. The flour buttercream doesn’t hold it’s shape quite as well as other buttercreams when piped but I’m ok with that. I think the slouchy piping looks adorable.
The cupcakes turned out really fluffy and moist. That’s because of the meringue you fold in. Remember from the yellow cake?! And they have that slight hint of wedding cake flavor because of the almond extract. You can definitely leave that out if you don’t like it. Paired with the flour buttercream, they were irresistible to those cupcake lovers I gave them too!
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (divided)
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature (divided)
- 4½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- large pinch of salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. In another bowl whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, almond extract, and 3 of the egg whites.
- Add the liquid mixture into the large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until combined being careful not to over mix.
- For the meringue: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the remaining 3 egg whites at medium speed until foamy. With machine running, stream in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat at high speed just until stiff peaks form.
- Using rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the meringue into the batter just until incorporated. Fold in the rest of the meringue. Be very gentle to not deflate the air in the meringue. You will have a few white streaks in the batter. Divide batter evenly between your 24 liners (filling about 3/4 full).
- Place pans on a half-sheet pan and bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway through, and if cooking two muffin trays, move the bottom one to the top and the top to the bottom. Bake until the tops are slightly firm when touched and the centers no longer jiggle.
- Cool cupcakes in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Then remove from the tins and allow cupcakes to cool completely on the rack (about 1 more hour) before frosting.
- In a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the flour, salt, milk and sugar. Continue whisking over the heat until the mixture begins to thicken and boil. Cook for about 1 minute more while whisking and then transfer to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Mix the hot mixture on medium-high speed until it cools to room temperature. With the mixer still running add the butter 1 piece at a time. Wait until incorporated before adding more. The buttercream will begin to thicken up as the butter is mixed in. After all of the butter is mixed in, add the vanilla and almond extract if using.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag and use immediately.
Flour Buttercream adapted from The Tough Cookie