Fluffiest Vanilla Cupcakes EVER with Strawberry Buttercream

We've all had some "okay" cupcakes in our life. There was cake, there was frosting, but it wasn't what your mouth was thinking about.  I want really light cupcakes that are moist without being under baked, fluffy, without being dry.  These are those cupcakes.

The first step to cupcake perfection is using cake flour, which is a lighter, lower protein flour.   Less protein also means less gluten, and that means a less dense cake.  Then, there's the reverse-creaming method we used in my Sour Cream and Banana Coffee Cake.   It's my go-to method for making all my cakes.   Why?   In mixing the fats (butter, oil) with ALL of the dry ingredients (flour sugar, etc.) you also cut down on the gluten formation  (not those guys again).   Also, there's a lot less mixing time using this method,  which puts less air in the batter,  making a finer softer crumb.  Look at that!   Better cake through science.

If any (all) of this sounds like the lead-in to a complicated recipe,  fear not.   It's actually easier to make a more delicious cupcake.   Who knew?   Also, there's strawberry frosting.   Made with freeze dried strawberries. Wow!! Seriously, this will be the lightest cupcake with the strawberriest frosting that you never knew you could make.

Category

Dry Ingredients
 2 ½ cups cake flour
 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
 ½ tbsp baking powder
 ½ tsp salt
Those Fats
 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature, cut in pieces
  cup canola or vegetable oil
Wet Ingredients
 2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks (save those egg whites for a boring egg white omelet or a delicious meringue)
 2 tsp vanilla extract
 1 cup sour cream (Not light sour cream, it's a cupcake, let loose)
Strawberry Frosting
 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
 4 cups powdered sugar
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 Pinch of salt
 1 cup of freeze dried strawberries, pulsed to a powder in the food processor. I buy these at my local Hipster Joe's, but our Interweb Overlords also sell them.
 2 - 3 tbs heavy cream

Making Some Darn Fluffy Cupcakes
1

Preheat your oven to 350°. Line 2 cupcake pans with cute little liners.

In a stand mixer, mix together all your dry ingredients for about one minute. Add your softened butter and oil, and mix on low speed until it’s the texture of wet sand and all the dry ingredients are coated in delicious fat.

mixed vanilla cupcake dry ingredients butter

2

Whisk together your eggs and yolks, vanilla, and sour cream. Add to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until everything is just incorporated. About one minute. DO NOT JUST KEEP MIXING! We don’t want tough cupcakes.

3

Remove bowl from stand mixer and use a rubber spatula to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed. There might be tiny lumps, and that’s okay. This is bits of fat and it will all come together while baking. Trust me.

stirring vanilla cupcake batter

4

For regular sized cupcakes, fill a lined cupcake tin using a large (3 tbs) cupcake or ice cream scoop. This will fill each liner about 1/2-2/3 full.

scoop vanilla cupcakes

5

Bake in a 350° oven for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooking rack until completely cooled. If you have to have one unfrosted cupcake for, you know, quality control, I understand.

(For strawberry cupcakes, decrease your sour cream by 1/3 cup. After mixing your batter, fold in 1/3 cup of puréed and strained strawberries plus 4-5 diced strawberries.)

Strawberry Frosting
6

Place your freeze dried strawberries in the food processor and pulse 5-6 times, or until you get a good powdery consistency, you know, like Kool-Aid before you add water.

freeze dried strawberries in food processor

7

Mix your strawberry powder with your powdered sugar and whisk it together.

strawberry powder with sugar

8

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter for 2-3 minutes or until it turns a lighter shade of yellow and looks quite fluffy.

9

Add your "strawberry sugar" to your butter, 1/2 cup at a time. To avoid a sugar shower, start on low and increase speed as it is incorporated. After each sugar addition, turn the mixer to high for a few seconds to lighten the frosting a bit.

Add salt, 2 tablespoons of cream, and the vanilla and mix in completely. Now let 'er rip! Turn your mixer up to high and let it go about 2-3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. If it feels too stiff, add the last tablespoon of cream. If it feels too "loose" you can add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

10

Frost the cupcakes by your favorite method and enjoy your light and fluffy cupcakes. Ahh. The perfect food, right?

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients
 2 ½ cups cake flour
 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
 ½ tbsp baking powder
 ½ tsp salt
Those Fats
 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature, cut in pieces
  cup canola or vegetable oil
Wet Ingredients
 2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks (save those egg whites for a boring egg white omelet or a delicious meringue)
 2 tsp vanilla extract
 1 cup sour cream (Not light sour cream, it's a cupcake, let loose)
Strawberry Frosting
 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
 4 cups powdered sugar
 1 tsp vanilla extract
 Pinch of salt
 1 cup of freeze dried strawberries, pulsed to a powder in the food processor. I buy these at my local Hipster Joe's, but our Interweb Overlords also sell them.
 2 - 3 tbs heavy cream

Directions

Making Some Darn Fluffy Cupcakes
1

Preheat your oven to 350°. Line 2 cupcake pans with cute little liners.

In a stand mixer, mix together all your dry ingredients for about one minute. Add your softened butter and oil, and mix on low speed until it’s the texture of wet sand and all the dry ingredients are coated in delicious fat.

mixed vanilla cupcake dry ingredients butter

2

Whisk together your eggs and yolks, vanilla, and sour cream. Add to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until everything is just incorporated. About one minute. DO NOT JUST KEEP MIXING! We don’t want tough cupcakes.

3

Remove bowl from stand mixer and use a rubber spatula to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed. There might be tiny lumps, and that’s okay. This is bits of fat and it will all come together while baking. Trust me.

stirring vanilla cupcake batter

4

For regular sized cupcakes, fill a lined cupcake tin using a large (3 tbs) cupcake or ice cream scoop. This will fill each liner about 1/2-2/3 full.

scoop vanilla cupcakes

5

Bake in a 350° oven for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooking rack until completely cooled. If you have to have one unfrosted cupcake for, you know, quality control, I understand.

(For strawberry cupcakes, decrease your sour cream by 1/3 cup. After mixing your batter, fold in 1/3 cup of puréed and strained strawberries plus 4-5 diced strawberries.)

Strawberry Frosting
6

Place your freeze dried strawberries in the food processor and pulse 5-6 times, or until you get a good powdery consistency, you know, like Kool-Aid before you add water.

freeze dried strawberries in food processor

7

Mix your strawberry powder with your powdered sugar and whisk it together.

strawberry powder with sugar

8

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter for 2-3 minutes or until it turns a lighter shade of yellow and looks quite fluffy.

9

Add your "strawberry sugar" to your butter, 1/2 cup at a time. To avoid a sugar shower, start on low and increase speed as it is incorporated. After each sugar addition, turn the mixer to high for a few seconds to lighten the frosting a bit.

Add salt, 2 tablespoons of cream, and the vanilla and mix in completely. Now let 'er rip! Turn your mixer up to high and let it go about 2-3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. If it feels too stiff, add the last tablespoon of cream. If it feels too "loose" you can add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

10

Frost the cupcakes by your favorite method and enjoy your light and fluffy cupcakes. Ahh. The perfect food, right?

Fluffiest Vanilla Cupcakes EVER with Strawberry Buttercream

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