These are absolutely Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes topped with a creamy, custard buttercream.
A few weeks back I posted my recipe for Homemade Custard Creams and they became the inspiration for this recipe. Do you get those cravings where you just can’t shake it until you’ve had that thing? I had that exact kind of craving for Custard Buttercream ever since making those cookies and dreamed up these gorgeous little cakes with the huge, perfect dollop of Custard Buttercream on top.
This is a cupcake revolution, ya’ll
Ok, so this recipe starts with my Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes and I don’t use the word perfect lightly. Pinky promise! For me the perfect cupcake should meet a number of criteria
1. It’s gotta taste good
2. The texture should be light and fluffy
3. It should be moist. Definitely not dry.
4. It should be easy to make, aka no fancy machines and less cleanup
The top 3 are important for any cupcake but that last one, “easy to make”, is very important if I’m going to call a cupcake perfect. Many cupcake recipes will claim they are easy but often will lack flavour or those that are delicious leave you with a mountain of dirty dishes that leave you hoping the cupcakes are worth it.
Well, check, check, check and check. This cupcake ticks all those boxes and then some, so to my mind they are indeed perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I made these for our wedding (at least our mums did as I was way too busy trying to look busy organising other things, haha).
Just look at all those gorgeous little black vanilla bean specks. These cupcakes are so amazing. They are perfectly light and fluffy, they remain moist and are full of vanilla flavour. And the great thing about Vanilla Cupcakes is their versatility. So many of the cupcakes I bake these days start with this basic recipe which I then build on to create other unique cupcake flavours.
You may notice the recipe seems a little unusual in the way the ingredients are combined. There is no creaming of butter and sugar in this recipe as the butter is melted. It’s that very melted butter that keeps these moist. Everything is literally combined in one bowl and mixed together to get a fairly loose batter but, and then baked for around 20 minutes.
But let’s talk Custard Buttercream
The next step is to customise that perfect vanilla cupcake into what I want to eat now and what I want to eat is is custard. That gorgeous sunshiny dollop you see on top is Custard Buttercream. This is a variety of Ermine Frosting which is my favourite of all buttercreams. The major difference being that you cook a combination of flour (or in this case custard powder) and milk together with your sugar until thick. Then, once cooled, you add that to butter and whip it up. This results in a silky smooth textured buttercream which tastes super creamy but isn’t shockingly sweet.
Ermine Buttercream – it’s a thing for reals 🙂 You may have heard of it as Flour Buttercream or Cooked Milk Buttercream. So while it may sound a little strange, try it and you’ll never look back.
PS – If you can’t get hold of custard powder (readily available where I live but not everywhere) I have found it online. Otherwise you could try using premade custard in place of the milk and custard powder, then just adjust the sugar to suit. I haven’t tried this yet but I plan to in the near future.
PPS – If you’ve got any custard ideas you’d like to see me create, let me know in the comments below (hmmm, custard fudge anyone?) 🙂
haven’t managed to cut down this recipe to suit 12 yet with the result I want so this makes a big batch of 18 cupcakes. When I work out the perfect ratios, you’ll be the first to know. It’s no problem. If you don’t need 18 cupcakes, they freeze perfectly See more notes below. ,
- 275 g plain flour
- 53 g cornflour
- 1 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
- 180 g butter, melted
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 large eggs, room temp
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temp
- ¼ cup custard powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 230 g 1 cup / 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons cream or milk (see notes)
Line cupcake tins with paper cases. Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced.
In a stand mixer, blend the flours, sugar, butter, baking powder, vanilla and salt together on slow until like bread crumbs.
Add the eggs, one at a time, blending on slow between each until fully incorporated. Scrape the sides then mix for an additional minute.
Add a half cup of the buttermilk and mix by hand until mixed through, then add the rest of the buttermilk and mix until just incorporated.
Fill paper cases to about 2/3 full. The whole batch should make exactly 18 (depending on the size of the cupcake cases). Bake for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a crumb or two clinging to it.
Cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, stir together the custard powder and a little milk until you have a paste. Add the rest of the milk and whisk well until smooth. Add ½ of the sugar and mix well.
Heat over low heat while stirring constantly to prevent lumps, for around 7 minutes until you have a very thick custard (it should drop off the spoon in dollops). Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed right onto the surface to stop a skin forming and place in the fridge until cool.
Once the custard is cool, place the butter and the remaining ½ cup of sugar in a bowl and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until very light and creamy. Add the salt and the cold custard (which should be like a big blob of firm custard) and beat well. Add half the milk or cream and beat until the buttercream is smooth and there are no more sugar grains (this may take around 5 minutes). Add a little more milk or cream as needed to loosen the mix up a little so that you can pipe it.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons in any language)
- These cupcakes freeze well, so go ahead and place the ones you don’t need in the freezer for another time. Make sure to wrap them well to keep the air (and hence frost) out. Wrap in one big bundle with a small piece of baking paper on top of each one, in aluminium foil. Then wrap the whole lot well in plastic wrap or in a well sealed, air free, snap lock bag.