My Go-To Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

adapted from: The Barefoot Contessa

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 c. sugar

5 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy; about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.  Scrape down the bowl.  Add the vanilla extract and almond extract and mix well.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry.  Mix until just combined.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners and spray with cooking spray.  Fill liners 2/3 full.  For regular cupcakes: Bake 24-25 minutes and yields: 28-30 cupcakes.  For mini cupcakes: Use 1 Tablespoon of batter per muffin cup, bake 10-11 minutes and yields: 100 mini cupcakes.    

Jenn's Notes: These taste good the first day and great the second day.  After that, they slowly start to get a little more dry each day.  

Jenn's Vanilla Bean Buttercream

From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

pinch of salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 - 1 Tbl. vanilla bean paste

3 c. powdered sugar

vanilla coffee creamer or milk, only if needed

Beat butter until fluffy.  Add the salt, vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste and mix well.  Gradually add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each.  Beat for several minutes or until very light and fluffy.  Add a little vanilla coffee creamer or milk, if needed, to reach desired consistency.  Yields: about 3 cups.

Jenn's Notes: If you want to pipe a big swirl on top of each cupcake, like I did, you might want to make 1 1/2 batches of frosting.