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A simple recipe for vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.
Preheat oven to 350F, and line a 12-count muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, pour dry ingredients (flour through salt on the above list) into the bowl and mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until well combined. Add the cubed softened butter, and mix on low speed until the butter is well-coated and pieces are small and crumb-like, about 20-30 seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, until combined. (Before adding the second one, make sure the first egg yolk is completely mixed in). Slowly add the milk and vanilla and scrape down bowl as you go, to get all ingredients combined.
Fill cupcake liners (in tins) about 2/3 full, and bake 17-20 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Take cupcakes out of muffin tin and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool before frosting.
Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until buttercream is smooth.
Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with sugar pearls, if desired.