winter white cupcakes


I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! Highlights for me included spending time with family, reflecting on the many blessings of the past year, eating wonderful food, and heading to the coast for a change of scenery. We began our celebration on Christmas Eve, finishing our meal with these winter white cupcakes. The light and fluffy cupcakes are laced with both a vanilla bean and vanilla extract; the irresistibly creamy vanilla-Mascarpone frosting is a new favorite of mine.

Winter White Cupcakes

These beauties would make a perfect New Year’s Eve dessert along with flutes of champagne. As with any vanilla cupcake, the result depends on the quality of your vanilla products, which is why I bake with Nielsen-Massey vanilla.

Winter White Cupcakes

Winter White Cupcakes
2 cups cake flour*
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Vanilla Frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup Mascarpone, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp low-fat milk
Silver glitter crystals

Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup standard muffin pans with baking cups; coat lightly with nonstick spray. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat sugar and vanilla bean in a large mixer bowl at medium speed for 30 seconds; add butter and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined; beat in vanilla. Combine yogurt and buttermilk in a small bowl. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk mixture (begin and end with flour mixture).

Divide batter evenly among cups (just over 1/2 full) and bake for 14 minutes, until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 2 minutes in pans on a wire rack, then carefully remove from pans and place them on the wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, beat butter and Mascarpone in a large mixer bowl on medium speed for 1 minute. Add vanilla and salt; beat another 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar until incorporated. Add milk and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, until frosting is creamy and smooth. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes; top with sprinkles. Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

*Make your own cake flour: place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in an empty 1-cup measure, then top up with flour. Sift the mixture several times to evenly distribute the cornstarch.

Yield – 20 cupcakes (serving size: 1 cupcake)
Calories – 212
Carbs – 32

Disclosure: Nielsen-Massey provided me with these products for recipe development. I received no compensation as part of this giveaway and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.


  1. Did you say mascarpone ice cream? Laced with my favorite vanilla!? Yes, please! A lovely way to celebrate the holidays, I just love how ethereal they look!

  2. I love vanilla! When you use the good stuff you get such a depth of flavor. I’d start with the cupcake recipe above, but that’s just for starters. :oD

  3. Those cupcakes are beautiful ! My favorite flavor for just about everything is vanilla. I would make some vanilla ice cream first to serve with the vanilla sugar cookies I make. Yum!

  4. I know there are a ton of recipes using vanilla as the start ingredient that I would love to try if I had these Nielsen-Massey products. I think some vanilla bean scones would be delicious for my first pick, or biscotti!

  5. These are just gorgeous, Laura! Love how you gave them a bit of sparkle…perfect for the New Year!

    My hubby would want me to make chocolate chip cookies (his answer whenever I ask what he’d like me to bake!). I’m a huge fan of Nielsen-Massey!

  6. I love your beautiful winter cupcakes! They do remind me of my champagne ones. The sparkles make them perfect for NYE or any other celebration!

    If I win the giveaway, I’d make the Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes from the Cupcake Project. They’re the best vanilla cupcakes!

  7. I ONLY use Neilsen-Massey vanillas in all my baking! They are the best! Too bad this is for US only. No Canada? Sob, sob…great giveaway, though! I can’t say enough good things about Neilsen-Massey vanilla products. Not only vanilla, I also love all their other extracts like almond, coffee, chocolate, orange blossom…I have them all in my pantry!

  8. This is the only vanilla I use. I love their vanilla bean paste which is easier to keep and makes the flavor more intense. I put vanilla in everything I bake, it is just so good. My mom’s italian biscotti is always a fave during the holidays.

  9. I for sure would make these gorgeous cupcakes:)These are so pretty and sparkyly. The mascarpone frosting is delightful:)

  10. I never tire of cupcakes! Every time I say I’m over them I fall hard and fast for another tempting treat! The Winter White Cupcakes have me charmed, an enchanting New Year’s dessert!

  11. Laura…your winter white cupcakes are lovely! They really are festive but in such an elegant way. I think vanilla is underrated. And you are right, good quality vanilla products, like Nielsen-Massey make all the difference in the world! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all good things in the New Year! : )

  12. Mascarpone frosting? WOW. I’m not a huge buttercream person because it’s too dense and sweet for me, but this sounds even better than cream cheese!

  13. These cupcakes look heavenly, Laura! I make my own vanilla extract, but use Nielson-Massey’s almond extract and it’s wonderful!

    Oh, speaking of giveaways, you’ve won a Zinio magazine subscription, just so you know it. 😉


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