Cupcakes Three Ways

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

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


Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ cup whole milk

Buttercream Three Ways

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) room-temperature unsalted butter

  • 1 ½ cup confectioners' sugar

  • ½ 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.

    John Kernick

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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