Vanilla Bean Pound Cake Cupcakes

Real vanilla beans make anything taste better.  But I know that they are kind of expensive, so I only try to use them in moderation.  When a co-worker requested a simple vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting, I knew I had to take it up a notch and make them a little extra fancy.  And, when I saw the recipe for a golden, dense and buttery pound cake, I knew that this would be the recipe to try.

Now, when I say that these are dense cupcakes, I mean it.  They have the smooth and heavy consistency of regular pound cake, in portable, individual cupcake form.  These cupcakes don’t rise  like a lot of other cupcakes do-they ooze a lot of that butter right out of the cupcake liners (use some high-quality paper liners that are slightly resistant) or forgo the liners and just bake them right in the pan.  Any kind of frosting would be good for these cupcakes.  I imagine that with the holidays coming up that a peppermint or vanilla bean frosting would be fantastic.  In this case, I used a simple chocolate buttercream recipe.  And these definitely didn’t disappoint.  And, sometimes, simple is better.


Vanilla Bean Pound Cake Cupcakes

Servings: 24 cupcakes (I doubled the original recipe)


For the cupcakes:

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and seeds removed

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

4 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sour cream

For the frosting:

3 and 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

4 and 1/2 sticks (36 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup powdered sugar (plus more if needed)

Pinch sea salt

Sprinkles, for garnish



1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a cupcake pan with the liners of your choice.

2. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and vanilla bean seeds at low speed until combined.

3. Add the butter to the vanilla sugar mixture and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

4. In a small separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and the vanilla extract.

5. Decrease the mixer speed to medium-low and slowly add the eggs to the butter mixture.

6. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

7. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, mixing until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

8. Divide the batter among the baking cups and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

9. For the frosting: In a heatproof bowl over simmering water, melt the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.  Set aside and let cool until room temperature.

10. Using your stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt together on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

11. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the melted chocolate to the frosting, mixing until smooth.

12. Pipe as desired onto the cupcakes.


Sources: Cupcakes from Cupcake Project, originally from Caviar and Codfish. Frosting from Martha Stewart.


December 19, 2011 - 8:47 pm

Annie @ Annie's Cooking Lab - Yum, those look so good! I love the mountain of frosting on top!

December 19, 2011 - 9:21 pm

Blog is the New Black - These look wonderful, and I’m sure the real vanilla beans helped a ton! I like that you used a chocolate frosting as a contrast… these look awesome!

December 19, 2011 - 10:40 pm

Jessica F - When you say that you doubled this recipe, did the servings number reflect that or the ingredients list? I just can’t get over how much butter goes into 24 cupcakes…

Bet they are a wonderful decadent treat!

December 19, 2011 - 10:47 pm

srlacy - Hi Jessica-
The ingredients that I have listed are for 24 cupcakes. Yep. It’s a lot of butter. I was really surprised myself, but they turned out great!

December 19, 2011 - 11:01 pm

Esther @ Esther Eats - I’ve always wanted to make pound cake cupcakes! How full did you fill the cups before baking?

December 19, 2011 - 11:11 pm

srlacy - Hi Esther-
I filled them about 3/4’s full (I normally try to aim for that with any kind of cupcake), but they definitely didn’t rise as much as regular cupcakes.

December 20, 2011 - 2:13 pm

Ann P. - Growing up, pound cake was the only treat my mom would bake, and I LOVE it! The simple combo with the chocolate frosting and the colorful sprinkles bring me back to those days. 🙂
I was thinking–foil cupcake liners might also work to keep the butter in!

February 20, 2012 - 8:47 pm

Lori - seriously, only2/3 c powdered sugar??? just double checking. they look fabulous!

June 9, 2012 - 10:58 pm

Andrea - I am planning on making these for my wedding and want to do a test run! They look absolutely fantastic!! I was wondering, though if there was a huge difference between cake flour and all purpose flour. What would happen if I only have all purpose flour on hand? Thanks for all of the great recipes!

June 11, 2012 - 7:42 am

srlacy - Hi Andrea-

Here is a link to a great resource:

Good luck!

October 7, 2012 - 4:46 pm