Vanilla Cupcakes with Mascarpone Buttercream Frosting
There's nothing quite like a cupcake to kick off a celebration, and what's more classic than a vanilla butter cake? Simple and tender with a velvety crumb, it serves as the perfect base for frosting. To switch things up, the cupcakes are topped with a mascarpone buttercream.
½ vanilla bean Vanilla Bean, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
2 eggs Large Eggs, room temperature
¾ cup Buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
½ cup Mascarpone Cheese, room temperature
½ bean Vanilla Bean, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
3 ¼ cups Icing ugar, sifted
⅛ teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Position one oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line the standard muffin tin with paper cup liners and set aside.
Make the cupcakes. In a small mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fit the flat edge beater into your stand mixer and place the beater into the flour mixture. Turn to speed 2 and mix until combined. Turn off the mixer. Set the flour mixture aside.
In a medium mixing bowl add the butter, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds. Place the beater into the bowl and turn to speed 2 until roughly incorporated, then increase to speed 4 and mix until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Halfway through mixing, stop the mixer to scrape the bowl and beaters with a spatula.
Once the butter and sugar is properly creamed, reduce to speed 2 and add the eggs one at a time, letting each egg fully incorporate before adding the next. the second egg is fully incorporated, stop the mixer to scrape down the bowl and beater.
Place the beater back into the bowl and turn to speed 2. Sprinkle in ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ⅓ of the buttermilk. Repeat the process, alternating the flour and buttermilk until just incorporated. Stop the mixer to scrape the bowl and beater. Place the beater back into the batter and turn to speed 4 to ensure everything is mixed properly, another 30-40 seconds. The batter should be creamy and thick.
Fill each cupcake liner about ¾ full. Bake until the cupcakes just begin to color and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-22 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking. Cool the pan on a wire baking rack for 3 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan, place back on the rack, and cool to room temperature before frosting.
Make the mascarpone buttercream. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter, mascarpone cheese, and vanilla beans. Fit the hand mixer with the turbo beater attachments. Place the beaters into the mixture and turn to speed 4. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Stop the mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Place the beaters back into the bowl and turn to speed 2. Mix until all the confectioners’ sugar is incorporated and the mixture is creamy, 2-3 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape the bowl and beaters as needed during mixing. Once creamy, turn the mixer to speed 5 and mix until the buttercream is light, airy, and soft, another 3-4 minutes. Halfway through the mixing process, scrape down the bowl using a spatula.
Assemble the cupcakes. Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired (either with a spreader, or with a piping bag).