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Cupcakes Three Ways


Stir up one batter three ways, then add on buttery icing, plus cute flourishes, for head-of-the-class results.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 12

Photography: John Kernick

Source: Everyday Food, September 2007


Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Buttercream Three Ways

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) room-temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 teaspoons seedless raspberry jam
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • Tip-Top toppings (optional)


Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).

  3. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with your choice of buttercream.

Buttercream Three Ways

  1. VANILLA BUTTERCREAM: With an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. On medium speed, beat in confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down bowl as necessary. Mix in vanilla. Increase speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

  2. RASPBERRY BUTTERCREAM: Make Vanilla Buttercream, then beat in jam.

  3. CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM: Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Make Vanilla Buttercream, then beat in melted chocolate.

  4. TIP-TOP TOPPINGS: Fresh fruit (blueberries, blackberries), dried fruit (pineapple, cherries, cranberries), caramelized bananas, salted peanuts, sliced almonds, colored sanding sugar, fresh mint.

Cook's Notes

To Make Chocolate Cupcakes Reduce flour to 1 1/4 cups, and add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Makes 12.

To Make Black-and-White Cupcakes
Prepare both vanilla and chocolate batters; fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each, side by side. Makes 24.

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