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.