This is my go-to cupcake recipe. It’s a take on an old Better Homes & Gardens recipe and is about as basic as basic can be.

I play with it, switching out cake flour for all-purpose, I’ll add a bit more butter, 2-or-3 eggs,  play with the sugar amount.

A basic rule of thumb is flour and eggs add structure, sugar and fat add tenderness.

I liberally use alcohol in the batter – a few tablespoons of pistachio cream or rum or some-such thing – and just go for it, adding coconut or chopped nuts, or whatever. I kinda figure it’s a cupcake. Folks will like them even if I screw them up.

Basic Cupcake

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter about 30 seconds to lighten. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at time, beating on medium speed until well combined and scraping sides of bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition (about 1 minute total).

Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Use a #20 scoop to fill liners about 3/4 full.

Bake at 375°F about 18 minutes.