These delicious Vanilla Cupcakes are frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This frosting is absolutely beautiful and it’s perfect for people who don’t like overly sweet desserts. Swiss meringue buttercream is creamy and light like a cloud. This is the best vanilla cupcake recipe ever!
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF, and line 14 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
Next, sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed, for about 1 minute.
Add the sugar and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg until combined before adding the next.
Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
Now add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix to combine.
Pour the rest of the milk in and stir.
Finally, add the last bit of flour and mix to incorporate. I like to finish mixing with a spatula instead of the mixer, in order to not over-mix the flour with the batter which could result in dry and tough cupcakes later.
Pour the batter evenly onto the cupcake tins, filling about 2/3 of the way.
Bake for about 18 minutes. Start checking if the cupcakes are baked at the 15 minute mark, and keep baking and checking as necessary.
To see if the cupcakes are ready, gently press with your finger on top of the cupcakes, and if they spring right back, that means they are done baking.
Let the cupcakes cool down before filling and frosting.
Once the butter is at room temperature, cut it into thin slices, and set aside. Now, mix the egg whites and granulated sugar in a heat proof bowl.
Place the bowl over a small pan with barely simmering water to form a double boiler.
Make sure the bottom of the bowl won’t be in contact with the water in the pan, because you don’t want the egg whites to cook in the double boiler.
Whisk the sugar and egg whites until they reach 140ºF (60ºC), that’s a safe temperature for the egg whites to be consumed.
Once whites and sugar have achieved this temperature, and sugar is completely melted, remove it from the heat.
In an electric mixer, beat the meringue with the whisk attachment on, at high speed, until stiff peaks form.
This might take from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your mixer. On my hand-mixer, it takes me about 10 minutes, but it takes me about 5 minutes on my KitchenAid.
The meringue should be glossy and white.
Now start to add the butter, with the mixer on medium-high speed.
Add one slab of butter at a time. Waiting a few seconds before adding the next one.
Keep whipping until the buttercream looks creamy and fluffy, and all the butter has been incorporated. This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the butter, and how well the meringue has been whipped.
Lastly, add the vanilla bean paste or extract.
Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice.
Pipe the Swiss Meringue Buttercream on top of the cupcakes. Top with sprinkles if desired.
These Vanilla Cupcakes will store well in the fridge for up to 5 days, covered well.
You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months.
To thaw the cupcakes remove them from the freezer and thaw in the fridge for a few hours.
The Swiss Meringue Buttercream can also be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw let it sit in the fridge overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour or so, then beat with the mixer to make it creamy again.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Troubleshooting tips: if the buttercream is looking soupy, or doesn’t seem to become fluffy and creamy, it might be for a couple of reasons. Number one: you didn’t whip the meringue until stiff peaks were formed, and in this case, it will be very hard to get this buttercream to work, and you mostly likely have to start over. However, if the buttercream is looking soupy and runny, it might also be the case that your kitchen is too hot, or the butter was too soft when you started to add it. And in this case, it might work to place the bowl of the mixer in the freezer for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove from the freezer and go back to whipping, and your meringue will mostly likely start to get creamy and fluffy.
Vanilla Bean Paste: if you don't have it, feel free to use vanilla extract.
Storage: store the cupcakes covered so they don't dry out in the fridge.
Freezing: you can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months. And you can also freeze the frosting for up to 2 months. Make sure to package both really well. To thaw the cupcakes remove them from the freezer and thaw in the fridge for a few hours. To thaw the Swiss Meringue Buttercream let it sit in the fridge overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour or so, then beat with the mixer to make it creamy again.