Cupcakes of every imaginable flavor are all the rage these days, but it's hard to beat the rich simplicity of vanilla.
4 ounces cake flour (about 1 cup)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup 1% low-fat buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Sugar pearls (optional)
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cupcakes, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat oil, egg, and egg white with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Add granulated sugar; beat until thick and pale. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Place 12 paper or foil muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups. Bake at 350° for 20 to 22 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when pressed in center (they will not be brown.)
Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
To prepare buttercream frosting, place butter in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar; beat at low speed until blended. Add half-and-half, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and dash of salt; beat at high speed until smooth and creamy. Top cupcakes with frosting. Sprinkle with sugar pearls, if desired.