Sometimes you don’t want anything fancy when it comes to sweets. Sometimes you just need a plain, simple, perfect vanilla cupcake.

This is my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe because it’s perfect plain or with any flavor frosting. It’s a little bit of work, but trust me – once you make these you’ll never eat a vanilla boxed cake again.

Vanilla Bean Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Bean Paste)
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups water, room temperature, divided
  • 6 large egg whites

Cupcake Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line muffin/cupcake pan with paper cups.
  • Split open the vanilla bean and scrape free the seeds.
  • Add butter, 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons of sugar, and vanilla seeds to an electric mixer bowl.
  • Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Sift together flours, salt, and baking powder onto wax paper.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately pour 1/2 of the dry ingredients and 1/2 of the water, mixing well after each addition.
  • In another bowl and the electric mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter in two or three additions.
  • Spoon the batter into the baking cups, filled to about 3/4 full.
  • Bake on the middle rack of preheated oven until the centers of the cupcakes spring back, between 15 and 2- minutes.
  • Cool pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.