1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean

1 ¾ cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups milk, at room temperature

1 recipe chocolate Swiss Buttercream

 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

 

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, vanilla bean seeds, and sugar on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly combined and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then ½ of the milk, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the remaining ½ of the milk, and then the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing on low for only a few seconds after each addition until just combined, and stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not overmix. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the edges of the cupcakes start to shrink away from the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks and finish cooling completely.

 

Transfer the buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe onto the cupcakes in a decorative manner.

 

Makes 24 cupcakes. If you don’t have a pastry bag, simply spread the buttercream on the cupcakes, swirling decoratively, with a spatula. Cupcakes keep for 2 to 3 days in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place.