Culinary SOS: Vanilla cupcakes from Joan’s on Third

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Dear SOS: I am a huge fan of the vanilla cupcakes at Joan’s on Third. I have tried all the other cupcake spots in town, and they can’t compare. Is there any way you can obtain the recipe? Thanks.

Justin Radell

Los Angeles


Cupcake recipe: The May 20 Culinary SOS recipe for vanilla cupcakes from Joan’s on Third omitted the estimated baking time for the cupcakes. It is 18 to 20 minutes. —

Dear Justin: With a light crumb and bright vanilla flavor, this is one cupcake that doesn’t need to rely on a ton of decoration to be a hit. Joan’s on Third was happy to share its recipe for vanilla cupcakes. They’re simple and easy to make, and are sure to be a hit at home.

Vanilla cupcakes

Total time: 35 minutes, plus cooling time

Servings: 12

Note: Adapted from Joan’s on Third


1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (5.84 ounces) flour

1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder


Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature


1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

2 eggs

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin cups with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour with the bakning powder and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the milk and vanilla extract. Set aside.


3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add in the sugar, beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

4. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in the flour and milk mixtures, alternating one-third of each at a time, until each mixture is fully incorporated and the batter is smooth.

5. Fill each muffin cup three-fourths full of batter. Bake the cupcakes until puffed, set and lightly golden, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes.

6. Cool the cupcakes before frosting.


Frosting and final assembly

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

5 cups (1 1/4 pounds) powdered sugar, sifted and divided

1/4 cup milk


3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the butter with one-half of the powdered sugar until combined. Beat in the milk and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl, and beating until smooth.

2. With the mixer set to low speed, gently beat in the remaining sugar until combined. Increase the speed and continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. This makes about 2 1/2 cups frosting.

3. Frost each cupcake with a generous 2 tablespoons frosting.


Each cupcake: 456 calories; 3 grams protein; 75 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 17 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 77 mg. cholesterol; 64 grams sugar; 116 mg. sodium.