A recipe for the best, moist vanilla cupcakes. Fill them with fresh raspberries and top with buttermilk buttercream frosting for an easy, elegant treat.
The quest for the perfect homemade vanilla cupcake — it became something of an obsession.
For some reason, I woke up one morning with the image of pretty cupcakes in my head, all delicately white on the outside, and brimming with juicy red raspberries on the inside.
I was thinking of my favorite berry-topped moist almond cake, only these had to be two-bite cakes, easy to snack on or share with friends.
I went to work researching, baking and tasting, on repeat.
But it was worth it.
This is the recipe that finally hit the lottery and I’m really happy to share — take it and bookmark this ASAP!
It’s a plain and simple white cupcake, but it has a dreamy soft, moist crumb and unmistakable taste of pure butter and vanilla.
Because it’s a great neutral cake all on its own, this is a cupcake recipe that gives you lots of options.
Keep them plain and undecorated, maybe dusted with some powdered sugar.
Or, if you want to try something other than the tangy buttermilk buttercream frosting here, top off the cupcakes with your favorite frosting.
Whipped dark chocolate buttercream is next on my list 😉
But, if you’re still with me on the fruit-filled cupcake theme, read on.
how to make filled cupcakes
First of all, let me just say that until I went on this cupcake journey, I had no idea that a tool exists just for making little holes in cupcakes.
It’s called a cupcake corer, and it apparently cuts out neat little cones of cake, which eject with one push.
I don’t have one of those (maybe you do?).
Instead, I grabbed a plain pastry tip out of my gadget drawer, and I used it to carve out a wedge-shaped hollow in my cupcakes.
Don’t have one? An apple corer works just as well.
Or, lacking all of the above, just use a small, sharp knife (a paring knife is perfect) to cut out a small cone about 1/2-inch wide and 1-inch deep.
What to do with the inside of a hollowed-out cupcake
Of course, after making a hole in a cupcake, you end up with cute little wads of cake on the counter.
My suggestion is to call these a “cook’s treat” and carry on.
Or save them and make an easy, instant dessert: Crumble the pieces of cupcake over a bowl of thick yogurt, fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey.
Fresh raspberry filling for cupcakes
Filling cupcakes with fresh berries is pretty easy.
Because I wanted to stay as close to my ideal dream cupcake — cake filled with fresh raspberries — the berries for the filling are simply crushed with a little bit of sugar.
No cornstarch, because that would require cooking the berries and I wanted to preserve their freshness.
That said, if you’re in the mood for filled cupcakes and don’t have fresh fruit, you can use an equal amount of raspberry or strawberry jam instead.
How to store filled vanilla cupcakes
Baked unfilled, unfrosted cupcakes keep for 3 days at room temperature, well wrapped or stored in a airtight container.
They also keep well for one day, filled and frosted, in a covered container in the fridge.
The filling doesn’t make the cupcakes soggy (just be sure to follow the recipe instructions and drain off the raspberry juices before filling).
For serving, let the chilled cupcakes sit out at room temperature for a few minutes to soften up the buttercream frosting.
- 1 1/3 cups (190 grams) cake flour or all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (194 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons (78 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
- 2 large egg whites (1/4 cup)
- 1 whole large egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3/4 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 - 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 pound butter (1 stick, 114 grams), at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 - 2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temperature
To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the oven racks arranged in the center. Place liners in a 12-cup muffin pan, or spray with non-stick spray and lightly dust with flour.
- Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in an electric mixer on low speed with the paddle attachment.
- Add the cubes of butter and increase the speed to medium. Mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Add the egg whites, whole egg, buttermilk and extracts. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice.
- Portion the batter evenly into the muffins cups so that they are 2/3 full (approximately 3 tablespoon batter per cup)
- Bake 20-25 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely.
- Use a pastry tip or a small paring knife to cut a small hole in the center of each cupcake (save the interior pieces to snack on). Spoon about a heaping teaspoon of the filling into each cupcake (leave any accumulated juices in the bowl), smoothing the tops. Spread about 2 tablespoons frosting on top of each cupcake.
To make the filling:
- Lightly crush the raspberries in a small bowl with sugar. I prefer them less sweet, so 1 teaspoon is the right amount for my taste. Add more or less sugar as you like.
To make the frosting:
- Beat the butter with the paddle attachment in a stand mixer until fluffy.
- Add the sugar and salt and beat until smooth and incorporated. Add 1 tablespoon of the buttermilk and beat 1 more minute. Add the remaining tablespoon if it doesn't look smooth and spreadable.
- Refrigerate until ready to frost the cupcakes.
Refrigerate the filled and frosted cupcakes up to 8 hours.
Bake the cupcakes up to 3 days ahead of serving. Keep them in a covered container at room temperature. Fill and frost when ready to serve.
Buttercream can be made ahead. It will keep well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 158Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 339mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g