Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

Wednesday was my last night as a Cub Scout leader until it resumes in the fall. When I was deciding what to make for the dessert I was pretty limited in options. Since we were preparing to move, I had not stocked up on my usual baking ingredients. I was out of flour, brown sugar and was running low on butter. I did however discover that I had two boxes of cake flour and some powdered sugar that needed to be used. Immediately I remembered a recipe for cake flour cupcakes that I had seen months ago. I pulled it up, made some alterations and found a delicious chocolate buttercream to frost them with. They turned out to be a big hit, both with the kids and the adults. If you are in an all-vanilla mood, a simple vanilla buttercream would be delicious on these too!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

1¾ c. cake flour
¼ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ c. vegetable oil
⅔ c. whole milk
⅓ c. sour cream
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground vanilla bean (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
1 tbsp. + ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add vanilla bean and sugar, mix until combined. Add butter and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes (will look like crumbs).
4. In a small mixing bowl whisk eggs. Add sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract, stir until smooth. With mixing speed on low, slowly add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, beat until combined.
5. Slowly add milk, mix on low speed until just combined (the batter will be very wet).
6. Divide batter and fill cupcake liners just over ½ of the way full.
7. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (note: they will not turn golden brown, so do not over bake, just keep testing until the cake tester doesn’t have anything stuck to it).
8. Remove from oven and take cupcakes out of tin immediately, place on wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Cupcake Project, Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake | Makes approximately 16 cupcakes
Cocoa Buttercream
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch-process)
¼ c. milk
2¼ c. confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. light corn syrup
Pinch of salt

1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer (with whisk attachment), beat the melted butter and cocoa powder powder until smooth.

2. Mix in the milk and powdered sugar, beating on medium speed to spreadable consistency (add an extra splash of milk if necessary, but frosting should be fairly stiff). 
3. Add vanilla, light corn syrup, and pinch of salt. Beat for 20-30 seconds until light and fluffy.
Adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet, Chocolate Frosting | Makes enough to frost approximately 16 cupcakes

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  1. These look great! I love vanilla and chocolate together. The pictures look lovely too.

  2. Wow, you are SUCH a great cook. Another impressive recipe! Thanks for sharing it with my readers.

    Warmly, Michelle

  3. Thank you everyone! These are pretty tasty, a good classic recipe to keep around for sure!

  4. Oh man you did a great job with these! I love the pictures and they look delishhhhhhh 🙂