I think I’ve finally got a final vanilla cupcake. These pack a reasonable amount of vanilla flavor, with no weird hints or aftertastes from too much flavoring. How many tries has this taken now?

1 1/4 cups milk
3 vanilla beans
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cups white granulated sugar
3/4 cups light tan granulated organic sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour

A few hours before starting the rest, carefully slit open the vanilla beans and scoop out all the itty bitty seeds. Combine the seeds, pods, and milk in a small saucepan on very low heat. Cover and let it sit for a few hours. (I let mine sit for about 3 and a half hours. ) Stir occasionally to make sure seeds aren’t all clumping together, milk isn’t boiling off, etc.

Later, preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream together butter and sugars. Mix in eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and baking powder.

Strain the pods out of the milk, and squeeze off any remaining moisture or extra seeds (this should go back into the milk). Try to keep as many of those little black specks as possible. If the final amount of liquid is no longer 1 1/4 cups, add a bit more milk.

Gradually mix flour and vanilla milk into batter, alternating between small amounts of each.

Bake cupcakes for about 18 minutes.