Buttery Vanilla Cupcakes With Creamy Vanilla Frosting

Makes 24. Recipe is by Cynthia L. Nobles, who suggests for a more intense vanilla flavor, in place of white sugar use vanilla sugar (see recipe) or add the scraped beans from a vanilla bean.

2½ cups cake flour

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. iodized salt

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1¾ cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tbl. pure vanilla extract

1¼ cups buttermilk

Creamy Vanilla Frosting (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add eggs one a time, beating well after each addition.

3. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla and buttermilk. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed until batter is just combined. (Do not over mix; cupcakes will be tough.)

4. Fill cupcake liners 2?3 full and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. (Don’t overbake). Rotate pans halfway through the baking time. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on a rack. Top each with Creamy Vanilla Frosting. Best if served the same day, but can be made a day ahead and stored in a tightly sealed container.

Creamy Vanilla Frosting

Makes 2¼ cups. Recipe is by Cynthia L. Nobles.

1 (1-lb.) box powdered sugar, sifted

1½ sticks (12 tbls.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1?8 tsp. salt

1 tbl. pure vanilla extract

3 tbls. half-and-half or heavy cream

1. Combine half the powdered sugar and all the butter in a large bowl and beat on low mixer speed until combined, then on medium-high until smooth.

2. Add remaining ingredients, including remaining sugar, and mix on low until blended. Turn mixer to medium-high and beat until smooth and fluffy. Can be refrigerated, covered, up to 3 days. Before using, bring back to room temperature.