Learn how to make perfect classic white cupcakes with the most silky smooth 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!
For the Cupcakes
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
- 1 cup milk
For the Frosting
- 3 sticks (340 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5-6 cups (570-680 gr) powdered, icing, or confectioners sugar
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 3-5 tbsp milk or heavy cream
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium/high speed until light and fluffy. About 4 minutes.
- Turn the mixer speed down to medium/low and add the vanilla. Then slowly add in the egg whites.
- Add the flour mixture into the mixing bowl in 3 additions alternating with the milk in two additions. Start with adding about 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Next add in about 1/2 of the milk and mix until just combined. Now add another 1/3 of the dry, followed by the rest of the milk, and ending with the rest of the dry ingredients.
- Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 the way full and bake at 350 F for about 18-22 minutes. You will know the cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes completely on cooling racks before frosting.
For the Buttercream
- If you want a traditional smooth texture for your buttercream, fit your stand mixer with a paddle attachment. If you want a lighter more whipped texture, fit your mixer with a whisk attachment. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer.
- Place your room temperature butter in your mixing bowl and beat on high for about 1 minute, until fluffy. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Gradually add 5 cups of the powdered sugar into the mixing bowl and start mixing on low until the sugar starts to combine with the butter. Turn the mixing speed up to high and beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and the milk.
- Taste the buttercream and decide if you would like it sweeter.
- If you are using your whisk attachment and want a more whipped texture, turn the mixer back on high and whip the buttercream for 3-4 more minutes.