Every time I go to NYC, I stop at Magnolia Bakery in the West Village. It’s a must stop, like going to Central Park. Since 1996, they have been baking small batches throughout the day to offer clients the freshest, old world quality baked goods. People took notice and the word spread quickly. This level of quality has made them world renown and in 2004, they shared their Vanilla Cupcake recipe online.
Before you start, preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 12-cupcake tins with cupcake liners. If you only have one tin, just bake two batches or freeze half the dough. More about that below.
In a mixing bowl, combine the self-rising flour and all-purpose flour and set aside. In a Pyrex measuring cup, whisk together the milk and vanilla extract and set aside. In a self-standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Scrape the sides halfway to ensure it’s all creamed together.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients mix alternating with the milk mix, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients and mix only until incorporated. Don’t over mix. Halfway through scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated to the batter.
Note: When I scraped down the sides, I added a heaping tablespoon of sour cream to the original recipe. Not only does it help cut the sweetness, but the sour cream reacts with the baking powder in the self-rising flour, helping the cupcakes rise when they bake.
Use a 2-inch ice cream scoop to drop even amounts of batter into the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until you test the center with a toothpick. Don’t over bake the cupcakes. Remember as they cool, they will continue to bake.
Tip: If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s baked. If the toothpick comes out wet, give it a minute or two and check again.
As you can see below, the edges and the bottom are golden. Cool the cupcakes in the tin for for 15 minutes and then transfer to a baking rack. While the cupcakes cool, make the Old-Fashioned Frosting. In a stand alone mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add a cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating well after each cup for about 2 minutes, until the icing is thick enough and of good spreading consistently. You may not need to add all the sugar.
Note: For colored frosting, add a little gel paste and mix thoroughly. For white frosting, substitute the butter for shortening and add 1/2 teaspoon of a butter emulsion, for the buttery flavor.
Like most families, we can’t eat 24 cupcakes, so freezing half the batter for future use is perfect. The best way to freeze cupcake batter is to pre-measure as if you were going to bake them. In a 12-cupcake tin, lined with cupcake liners, drop batter 3/4 full. Flash freeze in the tin and once frozen, transfer the cupcakes to a freezer plastic bag. Remember to remove the excess air before sealing. You can freeze up to a month, but I normally don’t keep them frozen past 3 weeks. Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking allow them the thaw as they sit in the cupcake tin and you preheat the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes at 350°F.
Frost and decorate the cupcakes. There’s no wrong way to frost a cupcake so whether you use a knife, a professional piping bag and tip or a plastic bag with the tip snipped off, it’s all good. As you can see below, none of my cupcakes turned out the same and I don’t care because they were amazing!
Magnolia Bakery cupcakes will not disappoint. If you have any left over, don’t store in the refrigerator – that will dry them out. Instead, leave them at room temperature and wrap them well in a sealed container or with plastic wrap. If you try this recipe, kindly leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes
Magnolia Cupcakes hit NYC by storm in 1996 with small batch cupcakes packed with old world bakery freshness and quality ingredients. In 2004, they shared their vanilla cupcake recipe and this is my go to vanilla cupcake recipe. Moist, delicious and absolutely the best!
- 1 ½ cup self-rising flour
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1 cup) prefer Plugra butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 heaping Tablespoon sour cream (optional)
Old-Fashioned Vanilla Frosting
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1 cup) prefer Plugra butter
- 6-8 cups confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Optional: sprinkles, edible glitter for decorating
Making the Cupcake Batter
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line your 12-cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
Note: You'll need to bake in two batches if baking all 24 cupcakes. You can also freeze half the batter, see notes below.
In a mixing bowl, whisk to combine self-rising and all-purpose flours. Set aside.
In a Pyrex measuring cup, whisk to combine whole milk and vanilla extract. Set Aside.
In a stand alone mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth.
Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate. After each addition, scrape down the sides.
Add the dry ingredients in three parts, starting and ending with dry, and alternating with the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, scrape the sides down half way to ensure the ingredients are all incorporated, but don't over beat.
Optional: Use a Tablespoon scoop of sour cream at this time. Sour cream helps reduce some sweetness and helps the cupcakes rise by activating the baking powder.
Using a rubber spatula, check the bottom of the mixing bowl to ensure the ingredients are well blended. If not, gently fold the ingredients with the spatula a few times.
Using a 2 inch ice cream scoop or a large spoon, drop batter into the cupcake liners, filling them ¾ of the way.
Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cupcakes will be slightly golden around the edges. Test by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it's baked. If it comes out wet, bake for a a minute or two and keep an eye on them.
Cool the cupcakes in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Cupcakes must be completely cooled before frosting.
Making the Old-Fashioned Frosting
Place the butter in a stand alone mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the butter until soft and creamy.
Add 4 cups of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Start beating on low and once the sugar has incorporated, increase speed to medium and beat for 3-5 minutes. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl halfway.
Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each cup and scraping down the sides to fully blend. You may not need to add all 8 cups. Once the icing is thick enough to spread, and you're happy with the consistency, your icing is done.
Note: If the icing is too soft, add ¼ cup of sugar at a time. If the icing is too stiff, add a teaspoon of milk at a time. If too sweet, add a pinch of salt. If you want very white icing, substitute the butter with white shortening.
For colored icing, add a few drops of food coloring and combine throughly.
Assembly & Decorations
There's no wrong way to frost a cupcake. You can use a knife and spread it on or you can pipe in a baker's piping bag. If you don't have piping bag, use a large Ziploc bag, make sure the excess air has been removed before you seal the bag and snip the tip.
Decorate with assorted sprinkles, sugar and edible glitter.
TO FREEZE HALF THE BATTER (12 CUPCAKES)
Line a 12-cupcake tin with cupcake liners and drop batter 3/4 full. Place the cupcake tin in the freezer and flash freeze the cupcakes. Once frozen, remove from the tin and place in a freezer safe plastic bag for future use. I would not freeze longer than 3 weeks.
TO BAKE: Remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to baking and place in the cupcake tin. Bake at 350°F for 20-22 minutes and test the center.