No Frills Vanilla Cupcakes


vanilla cupcakes

As you might have sensed, I typically opt for simple rather than over-the-top, basic instead of bells-and-whistles. My cooking mantra is to use the very best ingredients, letting their very best flavors shine. So here, find a standard vanilla cupcake that can be frosted with ganache, buttercream, cream cheese icing — or, if you’re my non-sweets-loving son, a quick dusting of confectionary sugar.

Makes 12 standard cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp.) butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease or line 12 standard muffin cups.
  2. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In another medium bowl, beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. While beating, gradually pour in the butter. Then add the vanilla.
  4. Reduce mixing speed. Add half the dry ingredients. Add milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Do not overmix the batter.
  5. Scoop batter into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in their pan for about 10 minutes, then remove. Cool completely before frosting and decorating.