Cupcakes are easier than cake, right? I say NO! It has taken me a long while to make a vanilla cake recipe that I really like. It is based on the gluten free cake recipe in Gluten Free Baking Classics. I attended one of Annalise’s talks at my local Wegmans years ago and purchased this book. It is still a favorite!
I have tried many vanilla cupcake recipes over the years and none are just right for me. They are either too dry, the recipe has too many steps, or the method doesn’t yield reliable results. It is important to note that with cake and cupcakes the method is just as important as the ingredients themselves. I recently updated this after reading yet another recipe book. I switched from whole milk to half and half for almost all of my recipes. I’ve been very pleased with the results. This recipe is the updated version. I also slightly modified the method after reading about the birthday cake recipe that won a contest in King Arthur Flour. Now instead of adding the dry and liquid ingredients at the same time I first add the dry and then follow with the liquid.
Make sure that your eggs and milk are room temperature. It makes a difference, really! Short on time? Just place the eggs in warm water and they will be room temperature before you know it. Milk still cold? Microwave it for 20-30 seconds.
Flour matters. The final clincher for these cupcakes is using a mix of flours instead of one single flour. For gluten-free baking this is standard, but typically cupcake and cake recipes for regular baking call for either all purpose or for cake flour. I already use a mix of all purpose and bread flour in my cookie recipes, so I decided to experiment. Annalise uses potato starch as an ingredient in her gluten-free flour mix. Potato starch adds a light texture while also helping to retain moistness. Use too much and your cake will get a lot of little tunnels in it, but just the right amount adds thickness to the batter (think easier scooping for cupcakes) and keeps the cupcakes moist. View the flour mixture recipe.
There are a lot of vanilla cupcake recipes that are similar to this one. However, methods vary and I have found Annalise’s method to be the most foolproof. Everything is time based so you don’t have to worry about determining if something is “creamy” or “smooth” or you see what I mean.
The place I ALWAYS get into trouble is with the spooning of batter into cupcake pans. Too much? Cupcakes spill out and flatten. Too little? Well that’s not as much of a problem, but getting it just right can be tricky. I tend to believe the quantities in recipes so when I have extra batter I find myself overfilling cups. This vanilla cupcake recipe happily makes 30 cupcakes.
These are fun to make, easy to mix up and perfect for parties or just for fun.
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups flour blend
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla beans or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 cup half and half, room temperature
- Preheat your oven to 350 (325 convection)[TEMP]
- Combine the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for on medium high speed for one minute.[BEAT]
- Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. [BLEND]
- Add the flour mixture and blend until mixed. [BEAT]
- Add the oil and half and half mixture and vanilla or ground vanilla and blend on medium high speed for 30 seconds. [BEAT]
- Use a 3 tablespoon scoop to scoop into lined cupcake pan.[ARRANGE]
You may also make this recipe with all-purpose flour. It will have a slightly more dense consistency. You could use a mix of all-purpose flour and cake flour with similar results if you don't want to make the flour blend.