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It’s a classic combination that is sure to please everyone: vanilla bean-speckled cupcakes topped with a simple chocolate buttercream frosting.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

To answer your question: Yes. More cupcakes.

Lately I seem to be focusing a lot on dessert, aren’t I? I would say that I am sorry, but that would mean that I would need to stop, and I have no plans of doing that any time soon.

Can’t stop, won’t stop. 

I’ll make it up to you with a pancake recipe on Wednesday. Granted, pancakes aren’t a huge departure from cupcakes, aside from the fact that it is socially acceptable to eat them for breakfast, but we’ll overlook that fact for now.

These cupcakes are the counterpart to last week’s Easy Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream recipe. I almost didn’t share them with you, but after realizing that I have been running this site for almost 2 1/2 years and had yet to post a classic vanilla cake recipe, much less a classic chocolate frosting recipe, I really thought I owed it to all of us to share.

I know I’m magnanimous. No need to tell me.

Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting

I also know that vanilla beans tend to cost the same amount as an arm, leg, or small child. I would be lying if I told you that I use them all the time, because honestly, using even one feels like I am throwing away gold. I have found that a much more practical and affordable option is to use vanilla bean paste (I keep Nielsen-Massey’s on hand at all times). If you happen to be like me (read: an adult who can’t help but channel her inner six-year-old at the most inconvenient times), it is also a less messy option than splitting vanilla beans.

Make these classic cupcakes next time you’re craving a classic sweet snack. Share them with someone you love – they’ll love you right back.

Chocolate frosting for days

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

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Servings12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 vanilla bean split and beans scraped out OR 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

For the frosting:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Make the cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with liners; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until pale yellow. Add the butter, vanilla bean (or paste), and buttermilk; beat until well combined.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing just until smooth. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake liner. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool on a rack completely before frosting.

Make the frosting:

  • In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Sift 2 cups of the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder into the bowl; add the half-and-half and vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the remaining powdered sugar into the frosting, beating until fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or half-and-half as needed to reach desired consistency.
  • Spread or pipe frosting on to cupcakes.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. I prefer using vanilla bean paste over vanilla beans any ol’ day because of the tediousness of scraping those expensive-as-gold suckers clean! Can’t wait to try N-M vanilla products and make deeelish vanilla bean cupcakes. These are so gorgeous, my dear and I’m so glad you shared them!!

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