Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes are the perfect soft and fluffy vanilla cupcake! I have done a lot of testing and am proud to say that I finally have my favorite version to share with you!

The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!
The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!

I’m quite picky about vanilla cupcakes. You can’t get by with a mediocre one, you know? They might be one of the most important flavors to get right. Next to chocolate, that is. If you don’t have a good vanilla cupcake, you’ve got a problem.

I have tried numerous vanilla recipes over the past few years and this one was a fave. Problem was, it was a cake recipe. And while many cake and cupcake recipes are interchangeable, this one was not.

The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!

When I tried to use it for cupcakes, the wrappers would come off as the cupcakes cooled. Not good. Not good at all.

They also didn’t puff up quite like I wanted. They had pretty flat tops. Too flat.

I also tend to think sour cream gives terrific moisture and flavor to a vanilla cupcake. And I think that even more now, after all my testing. Plus, it can easily be switched up to allow fun flavor variations.

The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!

So I decided to take that tasty cake recipe and turn it into the perfect cupcake! Starting by adding sour cream.

Did you see the picture I posted on instagram of all the cupcakes I ended up freezing on my way to the perfect one? It was insane.

I played with the amount of eggs, just egg whites, amounts of milk, sour cream, flour, butter. I thought I was going to drown in cupcakes.

I also wanted to try and use the more common version of ingredients – all purpose flour instead of cake flour, regular milk instead of buttermilk, etc. Just to make it easier. :)

Aaaand to make it even easier, you only need one bowl! Woot woot!

The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!
The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!

I got a number of opinions along the way. Including when I had 6 women from my small group together and they tested what I thought would be my final 3 versions. I knew which my faves were, but wanted their opinions.

They totally agreed that one version had better flavor and one had better texture. The third was out!

So I decided to give it one more try.

Magic! Perfection! And sheer happiness!

My very own Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcake! It is so wonderful, you guys! You have to try it!

The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!

It is not too dense, but not too airy. Moist, but maintains structure. Rises, but not too much. And the sour cream really amplifies the vanilla flavor. Love, love, love it!

Plus, I’m kind of proud of myself for persevering. :)

As for the icing, it is my go-to vanilla icing.

It uses half butter, half shortening. In any of my icing recipes were I use half butter and half shortening, you can use all butter. But truly, I stand by using half shortening. Shortening can seem gross, but it will give a more stable icing, particularly if it’s warm out. And I really prefer the final flavor. I find all-butter icing to be too buttery and not enough vanilla flavor.

The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!

You might disagree in the end, but I encourage you to at least try it first. Either way, the cupcake that the icing will sit on will rock your socks off. And together, they will make a fabulous cupcake party.

So do me a favor, will you? I worked extra hard on this one and burned through a lot of butter, so make sure you give it a try. I know you’ll love it!

The Perfect Moist Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes! So good!

Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes


1 2/3 cups (240g) all purpose flour
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup salted butter (170g), room temperature
3 egg whites
3 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120ml) sour cream
1/2 cup (120ml) milk

1/2 cup (115g) butter
1/2 cup (95g) shortening
4 cups (480g) powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp (30-45ml) water or cream
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add butter, egg whites, vanilla, sour cream and milk and mix on medium speed just until smooth. Do not over mix.
4. Fill cupcake liners a little more than half way.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes.
6. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.

1. Combine butter and shortening and mix until smooth.
2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
3. Add vanilla extract and 1-2 tbsp of water or cream and mix until smooth.
4. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
5. Add a little more water or cream until desired consistency is reached.
6. Top cupcakes with icing.

Note: You may notice little bits of butter in the batter, but that's ok. They will melt into the cupcake as they bake.

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These are the parties I link up to.

Some treats from friends:
Victoria Sponge Sandwich Cake by Java Cupcake
Triple Coconut Poke Cake from Beyond Frosting
White Chocolate Funfetti Chip Cake from Inside BruCrew Life

You might also like:

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Cupcakes
Cinnamon Sugar Swirl Cupcakes - layers of cinnamon swirled in the cupcake and cinnamon sugar icing!

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes
Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes - so moist and easy to make!

S’mores Cupcakes
S'mores Cupcakes - super moist chocolate cupcakes with a graham cracker crust, topped with a light marshmallow frosting!

Peach Pie Cupcakes
Peach Pie Cupcakes

Funfetti Millionaire Cake
Funfetti Millionaire Cake - A layer of Funfetti cheesecake, Funfetti cake, and Funfetti mousse!

White Chocolate Truffle Cake

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes


  1. I love your pictures. They are so bright and fun and make the recipe something I definitely want to try.

  2. I love your tip about using shortening, it does sound a bit gross when you tell it to people, but during summer it is a nightmare to keep it out of the fridge!
    Mariana @The Candid Kitchen recently posted…Almond and pear upside down cake with salted caramelMy Profile

    • says:

      Definitely! It’s much better in the warm weather. I personally prefer the final taste of the icing with shortening too. :) Thanks Mariana!

  3. I’m always looking for a new vanilla cupcake recipe… I’m going to give yours a try! And for the shortening, I add it a lot to vanilla or white frosting recipe. It just adds a level of flavor you can’t get from butter alone. :) Great recipe!
    Betsy | recently posted…Raspberry Mojito CupcakesMy Profile

  4. They look perfect Lindsay!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Margarita SangriaMy Profile

  5. They look so beautiful and delicious!
    Pam recently posted…Green Bean Bacon Wrapped BundlesMy Profile

  6. We all need perfect vanilla cupcakes in our arsenal!! I bet your house smelled like vanilla for weeks!! These look incredible!
    Tanya Schroeder recently posted…Spring Into Summer Giveaway!My Profile

  7. Pam Dombach says:

    I make all homemade cakes, like you, I try different recipes, and change up on them too! Looking forward to trying your vanilla cupcake recipe. I have a recipe I really like “Delicate Cake” a fine textured cake, received from a chef 40 years ago. Thank you! Happy baking!

  8. Yuh know, ‘perfect’ is a big word. I’m going to have to give these a spin just because!
    Risa recently posted…Chocolaty Nutty Banana MuffinsMy Profile

  9. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says:

    Nothing beats a good vanilla cupcake! I can only imagine all the butter you burned through in the name of finding the perfect vanilla cupcake! #foodbloggerproblems

    • says:

      omg, yes. Total food blogger problem, but I want through A LOT of butter! Thanks Jamie!

  10. yum will so try this for a bday party! looks easy and yum too! thanks for sharing this great recipe. found you on food gawker and really looking forward to your future recipes! xx. gigi.

  11. You are so right…a mediocre vanilla cupcake will not fly because there are no other bells and whistles! Yours looks perfect. Dense but not too dense. And sour cream is definitely the way to go! I can practically taste these right now! Can’t wait to try them out!
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking recently posted…Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies {And A Birthday Wish}My Profile

  12. I made these last night, it was AMAZING! You are right. It was perfectly moist, full of flavor and had the perfect shape. Job well done! I served these at my office and they were a huge hit. Plus, I rarely make cupcake from scratch, so it was extra special!
    Julianne @ Beyond Frosting recently posted…Butterfinger BrookiesMy Profile

  13. Hello and Mabuhay! Ken here, from the Philippines! Like you, I’ve been looking for the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe and have tried A LOT! I think the folks at home are already tired of vanilla! Haha. I think this is it. The way you described the cupcakes seem heavenly! Can’t wait to try your recipe! However, there’s a problem, I can’t seem to view the recipe. I tired it both on Safari and Chrome, all I get at the bottom is this: [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:139]. Is there something wrong? I’m new to your site so I’m not sure if there’s something I need to do first. Based on the comments, seems like other people were able to view the recipe. Oh, and its the same thing with all the other posts, and I’ve refreshed the page a million times already! Sorry for the lengthy post. Just excited to try out your recipe! Thank you so much!

    • says:

      Hi Ken! Thank you! You’ll definitely have to let me know what you think of the cupcake. You should be able to see the recipe now. I’m sorry about that, not sure what happened, but it’s fixed. :)

  14. bella J says:

    Love how you took the time to find the perfect vanilla cake. I gave up after 4 cakes & have one still in the freezer. Wish I was able to test them with you :P

  15. There’s no salt in the cupcake recipe! My first batch made exactly to the recipe came out tasting a little off.. Could not put my finger on it. Second and third batches with salt turned out fantastic! Even my teen daughter thought the ones without salt were not as good. Made a fourth batch to compensate for the first because they were for my son’s graduation party. Has anyone else commented on the salt missing?

    • says:

      I haven’t had anyone comment on that. I use salted butter rather than adding my own salt, so maybe that’s why. I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

    • How much salt did you add to the recipe? I am going to try making these as they look amazing, but I use unsalted butter. Thanks!!

      • says:

        If using unsalted butter, I’d about about 1/4 tsp of salt.

        • rachel gambale says:

          I too thought it was odd that there was no salt, but I love salt and I salt everything :) I did use salted butter and I also added a 1/4 tsp of salt. I was also wondering how it would turn out without any egg yolk, but these are VERY good. Good taste. Good texture. I also used 1 tsp of almond extract and 2 tsp of vanilla. This was my first time using Crisco in the icing, and I was very pleased with the outcome; sometimes all butter icing is too “buttery” for me. This is a great recipe! No special, expensive ingredients (i.e. cake flour, vanilla bean) and no special instructions – just throw it in the bowl and mix it. No creaming the butter/sugar then alternating wet and dry ingredients…blah, blah, blah…I’ve made lots of cupcakes all different ways, and these are just as good or better!!

          • says:

            I am so glad you enjoyed them! You touched on all the things I was trying to accomplish with this recipe – I’m so glad were happy with them! :)

  16. Caitlin says:

    Hi I really want to try your cupcakes and I was wondering if it to use shortening or can I just use all butter??? PS they look great!!

  17. Just wondering if you had a chocolate cupcake recipe to go with the vanilla?

    • says:

      I don’t have an official post for that, but this chocolate cupcake is seriously the best. Just ignore the filling part, and for the icing don’t use the peanut butter and replace 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with 1/2 cup of cocoa.

  18. Hi! I just made these and they taste and smell amazing! The centers are really moist and fluffy’ however, the bottoms of the cupcakes turned out kind of tough. I’m not much of a baker so I don’t know where I went wrong. Do you think I over baked them? Or over beat them? This was a trial batch. I’m making them for real on Saturday. I’d appreciate any helpful hints anyone might have . Thanks so much!

    • says:

      Sound like they might have been a little over baked. Cupcakes can do that pretty quickly. You want to take them out when there are still a few moist crumbs on the toothpick when you test them. I normally set the oven for 17 or 18 minutes, then check them and only add more time if they need it, so that they don’t overcook. One other possibility is that if it’s just the bottoms of the cupcakes, make sure you put the pan in the middle of the oven. If they were too close to the bottom, maybe that’s why the bottoms of the cupcakes are more done.

  19. I made these this past weekend for my daughter’s first birthday….the cupcakes were great. Lots of flavor and very moist and fluffy. I decided that this would be the recipe I would use for the Giant Cupcake Cake I needed to make.. Well the flavor was all there but it turned out very dense unfortunately :-( It’s definitely best suited for regular sized cupcakes. I’ll be making these again for sure! Thanks for the recipe!

  20. I am making 160 cupcakes for a friends birthday party and these really turned out amazing!!! This will now be my go-to cupcake recipe! So easy and delicious! Thank you for sharing it and I also love your photos!

  21. Hi,
    I tried these cupcakes today and they were AMAZING, i have tried so many vanilla cupcakes but either they are too crumbly, dry or just plain wrong. They were moist, with perfect crumb. Just I had two very minor problems, they were sticking a little to the wrapper and I found them a little bland but the second problem, i think can be resolved with a pinch of salt.
    Buttercream is the classic ratio and is just perfect.
    Do you mind if I post it on my blog with your recipe linkback?
    Nadia recently posted…Healthier Starbucks style frappuccinoMy Profile

  22. I was so happy to find your recipe and thank you very much for all of the testing and tweaking you did. Hubby’s birthday is Wednesday and he wants vanilla cupcakes. I’ve been testing various recipes and wasn’t sold on any of them. Anxious to try your recipe.
    Coleen recently posted…SWEET BABY RAYS BARBECUE SAUCE CLONEMy Profile

  23. Hi,
    Is it possible to get this recipe in grams, I’m in the UK and think I’ve gotten the conversion wrong.

    Also, would this same recipe work for making a cake as opposed to cupcakes?

    • says:

      Hi Louise! I can try to do the grams conversion asap. I’ve made it as a cake, and it’s delicious. It does shrink a little bit as it cools though, just so you are aware.

      • If you could, that would be great! Is there another one of your recipes that you think would make a better vanilla cake?
        Its my hubby’s favourite and your recipes are so good, makes me look like a good baker :)

        • says:

          Aw thanks! I’m so glad you enjoy them! This really does make a good cake if it’s just for you and your husband or sharing with friends. My husband loves it as a cake. If you’d rather try another though, this one is great too. I’m working on a vanilla cake at the moment. :)

  24. These cupcakes are so yummy! I will definitely be making these again. With a sprinkle of salt, they cupcakes will be great for parties and barbeques. These cupcakes are not like any others!

  25. This recipe looks awesome. Question, is the vanilla flavor really strong? I’m looking for a subtle vanilla flavor to use as the cupcake base to fill with jelly and top with a peanut butter frosting to make a peanut butter and jelly cupcake. Thanks

    • says:

      It’s certainly a good vanilla flavor, but I think with a different icing, it wouldn’t be an overwhelming vanilla flavor. You could also cut the amount of vanilla extract in the recipe in half, if you’d like.

  26. Any substitute for the sour cream plz?

  27. I see that there is quite a bit of Vanilla in this recipe. If you were to change it to Almond, how much would you use without the batter being too “Almondy”? (This question is for the cupcake batter only)
    I am taking them to a party and want something a little different, but not too drastic, as I want to please a picky crowd.
    I am excited to try this recipe as I have had similar experiences with trying to use a Cake recipe for Cupcakes. (Wrappers coming off plucks my nerves, LOL)

  28. Is there any substitute to sour cream…. ???? As its not readily available in my locality.

    • says:

      Yogurt usually works as a substitute for sour cream, though I haven’t tried it in these cupcakes yet.

  29. Hi, just wondering how many grams are in one cup? I am from the UK and I have encountered a lot of recipes using different grams to cup conversion (either 200g, 240g or 250g..). Would love to give it a try but need to get the measurements right first..thanks!

    your cakes look amazing, love! x

  30. Thanks for a grat recipe! I’ve been Loki g for cupcakes that don’t stick to the paper case, and dont fall apart. These fit the bill! A few comments-
    I used vanilla yoghurt instead of sour cream, and 50% cream /50% milk.
    I doubled the recipe- but only had 5 egg whites. Still worked really well!
    I’m in Australia, I used 250ml cup. I think the USA cup is different? It would be helpful if you put mls and grams in your recipes.
    I was a bit confused by the ‘cup’ of butter- how can you have a cup, unless it’s melted or packed in? Again grams would be most helpful! I just mashed it in a bit and guessed, and it seems to have worked ok!

    Thanks again, I’ve made about 45 cakes to take to my daughters preschool class for her birthday. They will love them :)

    • says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them and I’m glad to know yogurt works in place of the sour cream! It’s definitely a goal of mine to start adding grams and mls. Here, our butter comes in sticks measured by tablespoons and cups. I’m glad they worked out! :) Thanks Kay!

      • I’ve just popped back to bake this recipe again, and I see you’ve added gram conversions. Thank you!

      • Ok, I’m making it now and I’m a bit hesitant…with the 1/2 cup of milk and the 1/2 cup of sour cream, are you sure the sour cream weighs twice as much as the milk? That’s a lot of sour cream, and looks like more than half a cup, whatever cup size you use in the USA!

        • says:

          I’m sorry! I am so unfamiliar with those types of measurements. I have the sour cream as grams – is that the right way to do it, or should it be ml? Let me check it again.

  31. manda790 says:

    I’m wanting to try these but am concerned about using sour cream. Do you get the taste of it at all or do they just taste like vanilla cupcakes? I tried to make muffins with sour cream once but they were disgusting. Has anyone else tried these? Any feedback?

    • says:

      I don’t think they taste like sour cream at all – it just adds great moisture. I also haven’t heard of anyone having that problem either.

  32. Hi all,

    Has anyone tried making these using the whole egg vs just egg whites?

    • says:

      Someone said the other day that they used 3 whole eggs instead of egg whites and they turned out well. I’d imagine it’s a different texture though.

  33. Hello
    I’ve just made my second batch of these vanilla cupcakes and they are amazing! The first time I put 3 whole eggs in not just the whites – really lovely texture. Second batch I separated the eggs put the yolks in with wet ingredients and whisked the whites then folded them in at the end – kind of like a sponge
    consistency to these ones. I love this recipe – have tried so many vanilla cupcake recipes but this one is
    now my firm favorite. Thank you so much.

    • says:

      That’s awesome Ally! I’m so glad you like them and are having fun playing with them! :)

  34. I`ve just tried this recipe and it tastes great!!
    But mine shrank after I took it out of the oven.
    Do you know what could be the reason?

    • says:

      Hmm, the dome does shrink a bit, but they shouldn’t sink in the middle or anything.

      • it didn`t sink in the middle but overall the size of the cupcake shrank.
        Maybe I had incorporated too much air when mixing?
        About how long did you mix the batter?

  35. After my disappointing experience with Magnolia recipe book, I went on a thorough internet search for a moist flavorful vanilla cupcake. You are very correct! These are the best I have ever made! I am filling the little cakes with a little lemon curd and then topping them with your strawberry icing. Can’t wait – the srawberries smelled amazing during the puree. Thank you!!

  36. Would there be any adjustments to the recipe if you were doing a sheet or layered cake?

    • says:

      I haven’t tried a sheet cake. I’ve made a layered cake with it without changing anything. One thing to note though is that as a cake, it shrinks a bit when cooling (width wise, not height). I love it as a cake though.

  37. Yum! I just made these with my kids tonight and they were delicious. I love that you only have to use one bowl…almost as easy as a box mix but a whole lot tastier. I was wondering, could you use melted butter instead of softened? I always forget to get the butter out early to soften and then in my efforts to try to soften it in the microwave, it melts. Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I will be making it again.

    • says:

      I’m so glad you enjoy them! :) I’ve heard that the recipe still works well with melted butter, but I haven’t tried it myself.

  38. Hey there. Im making few batches of this recipe as I’m typing this out. first batch out was good. but second one slightly under cook i guess. making the third batch now. hope all will turn out good. thank you for a good recipe. i do get the fluffiness and the moistness out of them. :)

    cheers from Malaysia.

  39. Hello,
    I’m going to try your recipe tomorrow, but I want to make two 8 inch cake pans instead of cupcakes. Can you please advice how this works change the quantity of the ingredients? Thanks so much!

    • says:

      You shouldn’t need to change anything. I hope it turned out well Tammy!

      • Tammy Daerr says:

        I Thanks for the reply. Actually, to make two 8 inch cakes you need to double the recipe. The cake was delicious by the way.

        • says:

          Ahh, you’re right. I’m sorry. Some of my cupcakes recipes are already doubled, so I was thinking this one was too. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  40. hi! is it okay if i add chocolate chp cookies orlueberries in this recipe? thanks!!

    • says:

      I assuming you’d be chopping the cookies? I think it’d be alright, but haven’t tried that. The blueberries would work great though.

  41. I made the vanilla cupcakes today they had a good rise while baking when taken out they sank quickly. the flavour was lovely. i used self raising flour and no raising agents, also dropped the oven temp by 20 percent.wat have i done wrong? please can u help!!!

    • says:

      The do sink a bit when they come out of the oven, but shouldn’t fall in the center. They should be somewhat flat on top. It’s hard for me to say what might be wrong, if something is, especially with the change in flour and temperature.

      • am gonna try cupcakes again and use the plain flour with rising ingredients. i used i kitchen aid to make these, the mix was lovely and light and fluffy, they just colapasedwhen out of oven. ps thanks for replying to last message x

  42. Thank you for this recipe! It’s indeed moist and passed the test of my family!
    I just have one comment on the icing. My icing didn’t quite turn out because I overbeat the butter but that’s really my error. But I was wondering if there is a typo with the amount of the sugar in the icing. I always try to use less sugar so I started out with only 2 cups. When I tasted it the icing was already so sweet that I started adding cocoa poweder to eleviate the sweetness somewhat. Unfortunately I ended up overbeating the icing at the end. I can’t even imagine the sweetness if you add 4 cups of sugar! So, is that a typo?! …. anyway, the cupcake itself is really awesome. This one is a keeper.

    • says:

      Hi Erika! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cupcakes! That actually isn’t a typo. 4 cups per 1 cup of butter (or butter/shortening mix) is pretty standard for a traditional buttercream. I’m glad you were able to alter it to your liking though. :)

      • Thank you for the clarification. I’ll look under your other recipes and maybe try other icings for the cupcakes. But once again, the cupcake is just amazing. You know how cupcakes are not as good (as fresh made ones) anymore when you put them in the fridge. Well, that’s not true for these cupcakes! Even after 3-4 days (small family!), I pull them out of the fridge and either let them get to room temperature or place them in the microwave for very short time and voila, they are (almost) as good as freshly made. Thanks again for sharing this awesome recipe. Like you mentioned in your blog, I have also tried different things to make the cupcakes moist and fluffy. My search is over now!

  43. i didn’t mean chocolate chip cookies. sorry about that. what i meant were chocolate chips :)

  44. Hi can i substitute white vinegar instead of sour cream?

    • says:

      That seems like it’d be a lot of vinegar. I don’t know that that would work very well. You might try subbing additional milk instead, if you don’t want to use sour cream.

      • Hi thanks for the response. I was using white vinegar for my moist chocolate cupcakes, that’s the reason why I asked if it’s possible. Another question would be what kind of milk will i use for the cupcake batter? And for the icing when you say water or cream, what kind of cream did you use? thanks….

        • says:

          I use 2% milk in the cupcakes. I usually use water in my icing, but you can use milk, heavy cream, or whatever your preference.

  45. I made these last night for a charity bake sale. They are very good. Best icing yet!

  46. I am definitely going to try these! What type of milk should I use??

  47. Sherie Rodrigues says:

    Dear Lindsay, I would like to say how much I enjoy your beautiful site, of course your recipes. I call it art. Obviously I am not the only one that thinks you are special. You are very popular. There is a lot to be attracted to your site for. Hugs and Kisses Sherie. I am about to make your vanilla cupcakes. Luv ya

  48. froggy92030 says:

    I tried this recipe for some wedding cupcakes I am making and it is PERFECT. Every gal needs a go to vanilla cupcake recipe just like every gal needs a little black dress. I have just found mine. Thank You!

  49. The vanilla cupcakes and frosting turned out splendidly. Two thumbs up for this recipe!

  50. Hi! I am planning to make these for a kids birthday party. I am interested in possibly adding food coloring in them for the rainbow cupcake effect, do you think this will alter the flavor any? Thanks so much!

  51. Hi Lindsay,

    All your recipes look amazing, i’m going to try the vanilla recipe this weekend.
    It says that the recipe yields 12-14 cupcakes. Are they regular size cupcakes (aprox 3″ in diameter)?
    One last question, you mentioned adding 1/4 tsp salt if using unsalted butter. Is that added to the frosting or the cupcake batter?

    Thanks for your help, and for sharing!

    • says:

      Yes, that should be for regular sized cupcakes. The salt can be added to the cupcake batter. Enjoy them!

  52. Hi Lindsay,
    Nice recipe, though initially the cake came out fluffy but after putting it in the fridge, it felt heavy when brought out to eat, any tips on what to do differently next time?

    • says:

      It’s hard for me to say, but I wouldn’t suggest putting them in the fridge. The usually dries out cupcakes.

  53. Veronica Joy says:

    hi ms.lindsay what can substitute for sour cream, can i use 1 cup of milk instead half of it and half sour cream? thank you :)

    • says:

      I think that would work alright, but I haven’t tried it. The sour cream adds a lot of moisture and flavor that using all milk might lack, so keep that in mind.

  54. Was looking for a moist vanilla cupcake recipe and im glad that i found your blog and recipe! At first i wanted to use the allrecipes website recipe but there were too many negative reviews about it being dry, course and bland. So i ditched it and found your recipes and give it my best shot. I didnt have sour cream however, so i substitute it for another cup of milk but other than that kept the recipe the same. The vanilla cupcakes turns out amazing and my god there were super fluffy!! almost like a chiffon cake. Its soft, very moist and sweet. Would highly recommend this recipe! Thank you so much!

  55. I loved these they were everything you said they would be, fluffy, moist and PERFECT. thank you so much for all your hard work!

  56. Genevieve says:

    Hi Lindsay! :) I stumbled upon your blog from a repin via Pinterest and I am so glad I found your website! The colors look really gorgeous and your photos even more so! I made this recipe today but instead of only vanilla, I also added heaps of green tea (or matcha) powder to my batter cos I love green tea! My cupcakes came out very moist and tender. Yay! Thanks so much Lindsay! =]

    On another note, I used cake flour and my cupcakes didn’t sink after taking them out from the oven. It’s a great idea to add sour cream as well; mine didn’t have the after-taste of the sour cream! Thanks once again for this awesome recipe! :)

  57. Hi lindsay.. I was wondering.. Can i replace the sour cream with yoghurt? Because sour cream is.a lil bit hard to be found in my country.. Thankyou so much :)

  58. Hello about to try this recipient out but I have everything except the sour cream. I do have plain Greek yogurt. Can this be substituted? And if so do I need to change measurement of it or anything else?

  59. Hi there.I am eager to try out this recipe.But the only thing stopping me is the fact that I can’t make out if the part in the instructions where it says 350ª,is in celsius or fahrenheit.I’m leaning towards celsius,but I’m not 100% sure.So I guess that would be my question: Is the temperature in the instructions celsius or fahrenheit? (ªuª)/

  60. Hi, I don’t know why my cupcake surface crack, do u know why this happen?? I’m using you recipe with 160 degree and 18 minutes.

  61. Blanca Coronel says:


    I tried this out last time for my boyfriend’s niece’s birthday and she loved it as well as their family.
    I used cream cheese frosting for the batch I made and they were so delicious!
    Do you have a tip for using this recipe as a cake? :)

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! <3

    • says:

      I’m so glad everyone enjoyed them! For a cake, you’ll probably want to double it if you’re doing a layered cake. Thanks!

  62. These turned out GREAT! Delicious and moist – and so easy – in one bowl! Thank you so much – you did a great job with this recipe! :)

  63. Hi,

    I was just wondering do you use block butter? I usually use Stork butter but not sure if that will work with this recipe? Also for sugar do you just use normal white sugar or caster sugar?

    • says:

      I’m not familiar with Stork. I use sticks of butter – usually Land O Lakes brand. And just regular white sugar.

  64. Hi,
    I made 2 batches of these for my sisters baby shower and they were a real hit. I wanted to make mini ones for my sons party at school. Can I use the same recipe or what should I change?.

    • says:

      I’m so glad they were a hit! They should be fine as minis but you’ll need to cook them for less time. I haven’t done them mini, so I can’t say how long, but I’d start with 8-10 minutes and go from there.

  65. is this recipe a thick batter cupcake or thin? The cupcakes look amazing!! the pictures are perfect :D please reply ! <3

  66. Hi Lindsay,
    I’m very excited to make these. Thank you for sharing your recipe and hard work!! Just curious, why egg whites instead of the whole egg?

    • says:

      One reason is that egg whites lend a whiter cake. The other is that in theory egg whites should lend a lighter, less eggy tasting cake.

  67. I just want to say the cake and icing recipe is the best I’ve made so far!!!! I thought I read once when making a 8″ round cake to Double the recipe? Is that to make one pan or two pans?

    • says:

      I’m so glad you liked them! Yes, when making an 8 inch cake, you’ll want to double it to get to layers, and you’ll want to bake it in two pans.

    • says:

      Awesome! I’m so glad you liked it! Yes, to make an 9 or 8 inch cake, you’ll want to double it in two or three pans.

  68. Is the oven temp supposed to be 350 degrees?

  69. Hi. I don’t have sour cream my part of the world so I use 3/4 cup buttermilk instead. The cupcakes rise nicely in while baking but once they are out of the oven deflate and sink in the middle. Have tried every method I know but nothing seems to help. Any idea why?

    • says:

      I would think the buttermilk would work fine as a replacement for the sour cream, though I haven’t tried it. But you should only use 1/2 cup, since the recipe calls for 1/2 cup sour cream. 3/4 is probably too much liquid.

      • I use 3/4 cup buttermilk in place of 1/2cup sour milk and 1/2 cup milk because I think it would be toop much liquid in that case. Is it 200g of flour and 200g of sugar in metric units. I prefer to bake measuring in grams to cups.

        • says:

          Oh, I see. You should be able to use 1 cup of buttermilk to replace the milk and sour cream, I’d think. It’s 200 g of sugar and 240 g of flour.

  70. I have, as many other who have commented, have searched high and low for a good vanilla cupcake recipe. I thought I had found one but lately after months of the perfect domed cupcake it seems like they are starting to sink a bit and I’m not sure why. So now after reading every single one of the comments above I am convinced and I am going to give your recipe a try tomorrow. Actually, my decision was already made after reading your description and looking at your photos. They do look like the perfect, moist vanilla cupcake!!! To add to other comments, the recipe I use (used probably after tryiing yours) calls for either sour cream or half sour cream and half full fat greek yoghurt so yes, it can be substituted with the same result. And I totally agree with you on the shortening in the frosting. I do not like the taste of butter so I use half and half and use whipped cream and whip the heck out of it to give it a fluffy consistancy and it takes away the strong flavour of the butter and just leaves you with the best frosting! It is so hard to keep the fingers out of the bowl! I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!

  71. Hi, I was wondering how many cupcakes does this recipe make?

  72. Hello Lindsay, I notice that you use egg whites only instead of the whole egg in your recipe. Does the egg yolk change the texture of the cupcake.

  73. I just made these cupcakes and they are everything you made them out to be and more! Very moist, not overly sweet, buttery, and came out of the wrappers beautifully. I have been in search of a moist vanilla cupcake recipe for a very long time and I can now confidently say that my search is over! This one is a keeper! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with all of us!

  74. Hi, I was curious as to why you chose this method to mix your batter as opposed to the creaming method with the butter and sugar and also, why do you only use the egg whites – Thanks!

    Also, I have a hand mixer, roughly how long should I mix the batter, (you said until smooth), does the sugar grains need to melt?

    • says:

      There are a couple reasons – one is that I wanted to have a simple method. The other is that for this particular cupcake, it actually produced better results. I played around with creaming the butter and sugar and ultimately preferred the results with this method. I used only egg whites for a couple reasons as well – to keep the cake whiter and also to lend a lighter cupcake.

      You shouldn’t need to mix the cupcakes for long. Just long enough so that the batter has all come together. The sugar will not melt during mixing.

  75. I’m so glad I found this! I’ve been trying so long to make the perfect cupcake and have failed and I almost gave up! Then I tried this recipe. Not kidding, this is hands down the best cupcake I’ve ever had. It is better than any box mix and world’s better than the mass market bakeries. I made a batch today and I almost cried. I’m proud of how they turned out. I only wish I had come up with it myself. I’m making my little nieces birthday cake and am definitely using this recipe! 1000 times thank you!!!!

  76. I haven’t tried the cupcakes yet, but they were amazingly easy! Thank you!

    I don’t think my butter was warm enough or I didn’t mix long enough because I had melted butter in the bottom of the pan when I pulled the cupcakes out. The frosting is the best I’ve ever had. I can’t wait until I can try the whole shebang. Again, thank you fir such an easy recipe

  77. Absolutely lovely vanilla cupcakes. Best vanilla cupcake recipe I’ve found yet, thanks life, love and sugar!

  78. I’m just wondering why mine kind of sunk in the middle! I tried the recipe and loved it, when I looked inside the oven they rose! When I took them out and let them cool it sunk in the middle

  79. Wow! Tried this recipe today and I am in love! The cupcakes turned out to be very moist which is what I expect from a good cupcake. This is definitely going to be my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe!! Also, love how I can do this by hand, no fancy stand mixer needed.
    Thanks so much!! :)

    • says:

      I’m so glad you liked them Helen! Great to know that mixing by hand worked too – I hadn’t done that. :)

  80. Hi! how are you? i absolutely LOVE the pictures they look insanely good and i would seriously love to give it a try but i just wanted to know before if i could use a substitute for sour cream ?

  81. Hi! I just made these cupcakes and it is sooo moist and taste amazing but it isn’t fluffy as it should be. Do you think I over baked them? Or over beat them? Thanks so much!

    • says:

      When you say fluffy, do you mean they sunk a little in the middle? That can be caused by over mixing the batter.

  82. I tried the vanilla cupcakes (and frosting) and to tell you the truth I was very disappointed. Followed both recipes to the T. I really felt they were VERY heavy and the frosting doesn’t have a lot of flavor. I did not take any shortcuts at all. I think it’s interesting that most people have not tried the recipe, just thought the pictures were nice. The pictures are lovely, but I was looking for a good scratch cupcake. Sorry. Keep up the good work with your blog!

  83. I had a vanilla cupcake from “Cupcake Charlies” last summer that was absolutely delicious… but it was almost $4.00!!!!! For ONE regular sized cupcake! So, I’ve been on the search for my first try at homemade cupcakes and I’m going to try this one tonight!!! However, I bought unsalted butter and will add 1/4 t. salt and see what happens. Wish me luck! I promise to come back and let you know how I did.

  84. I baked these cupcakes and they were so good! They were very soft and moist. They were perfect 5 mins after they came out of the oven. They were perfectly rounded, and very light. About 10 mins later, they went flat and became a little dense. Do you know what might have happened?

    • says:

      They do fall a little after they come out of the oven – that’s normal. They shouldn’t fall down into the center of cupcake though, if you know what I mean (like a crater). If that happened, then the batter may have been over mixed.

  85. I followed the recipe and made sure I didnt over mix the batter but when I tried the cupcake after it had been cooked for 20 minutes, it was quite dense. It also tasted a little bit undercook, which it shouldnt have because the top of the cupcake was nicley browned. Do you know what might have happened? Thanks so much :)

    • says:

      It’s really hard for me to say from afar, I’m sorry. Some people think the cupcake is a littler denser. It’s not super light or super dense. Kind of right in the middle.

  86. In the recipe is it caster sugar or granulated? I really want to make these they look amazing! Should I use unsalted butter?

  87. Loved the cupcake but my frosting did not turn out. Will try again though.

    • says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the cupcake, I’m sorry the frosting didn’t turn out. If you describe what was wrong, maybe I can help?

  88. I have one last question this may seem silly but can you make the cakes without vanilla extract? Will it still taste nice? Thank you in advance

    • says:

      You can do it without the extract, but as for how it will taste, that’s probably going to be a preference thing.

  89. Can I use this recipe for a giant cupcake? Would I double it? How long would it bake for do you think, thanks

    • says:

      I’ve never tried it, so I can’t say for sure. It might be a little dense, but should be fine. I really don’t know about bake time though, sorry.

  90. Edak ajufo says:

    Beautiful pictures and cake. Love the easy how to recipe. Will try later.

  91. OMG! These cupcakes were delish! I will make them again one day soon! My family loved them.

  92. They look amazing! I am going to try this, however is it possible to replace sour cream with butter milk? If so, how much butter milk would be required? Thanx! xx

  93. Hi,
    I have always thought that vanilla cupcakes are hard and rubbery until I get to taste this cake in a party, well I was wrong and I was able to consume 3. LOL! Since then I have been searching for “the best” VCC recipe and I think this is the one to beat :) I just have a question though, do I need to melt the butter? , I am thinking it will crumble when I add it in blocks just like when making a bread ? I hope to get an answer before I make this recipe (I am actually excited)


    • says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them! :) You certainly can melt the butter. At room temperature, you might have a few bits of butter in the batter, but that’s ok too. Either way, they bake well.

  94. I’m in the kitchen a lot. Went to Cordon bleu in Paris to take pastry classes for a vacation. Made your vanilla cupcakes- Really GOOD! Went with all butter and vanilla paste in frosting instead of “hydro oil” ( could not bring myself to use shortening) and used 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg instead of all 3 whites and 16 min. bake time. This recipe WORKS AT HIGH ALTITUDE (7000ft) whoot whoot !
    Thanks for your good efforts!

    Who are these people that post “LOOKS like a good recipe”…. what the….. ??? GO Make em”

    • says:

      Thanks Whitney! I’m so glad you liked them and it’s great to know they work at higher altitudes!

  95. Kristine Benson says:

    Best vanilla cupcakes i have found…..definitely a win! I just made them and they are awesome… :D

  96. Your work is so encouraging

  97. hello, sorry can I ask if the oven degree in Celsius or Fahrenheit??

  98. I am definitely making these for my son’s birthday! Silly question, but my oven is electric and in Celsius, would I preheat and set it to the Farenheit equivalent?

  99. Thanks for this recipe! Sour cream is not something I normally have in the fridge, but it was totally worth it as these cupcakes were lovely and moist. Made them for the hubby’s birthday and he proudly shared them with his friends. Included a picture in my latest post at (tried to make icing dots with the leftover icing but it didn’t work so well)
    Amy recently posted…The Neverending Meal PlanMy Profile

  100. Would the icing still turn out okay if I subbed coconut
    Oil for the shortening. I don’t use shortening and only coconut oil, so I wanted to know if it can be done with that instead?

    • says:

      I don’t know about the coconut oil. I’ve never tried it. You can sub the shortening for butter though.

  101. Hi,
    I am excited about making these cupcakes! Especially after reading all the reviews!
    I just wanted to confirm the temperature… 350 degrees?
    Is this in farenheit?
    I am assuming… but just wanted to confirm, and ask for advice on temperature in degrees celcius?
    Thanks :)

    • says:

      Yes, it’s fahrenheit. I don’t have any experience cooking with celcius, I’m sorry.

  102. Hello!!! I haven’t made these cupcakes yet but I have made the caramel apple cheesecake blondie (well I have madebthat SEVERAL times… Who am I kidding!!!) so I trust your baking skills 100%. I am looking for a delicious plain vanilla cake recipe and I understand this stems from just that. By any chance can you steer me in the direction of that recipe??? I would like to make a mini cake and the accompanying cupcakes for a baby shower. Thanks!!!

    • says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the caramel apple blondie cheesecake! This cupcake actually works as a cake as well – you’d just double the recipe. If you want the recipe this one is based on, find it here.

  103. Hi… I’ve made these for my sons Birthday party which is tomorrow… They’ve come out of the oven drenched in melted butter… the bottom of the case is all oily from melted butter and the trays have it in too… Idon’t understand what I did wrong??? They don’t look anything like yours they’re dark brown and crispy on top… really disappointed… have to ice them tonight as party is tomorrow…

    • says:

      I’m so sorry about that. It’s really hard for me to say what it was from a distance. I hope you were able to make them work.


    • says:

      Yes, you can use it for a birthday cake. You may want to double the recipe, or at least use 1 1/2 recipes worth.

  105. what can be used instead of sour cream as it is not available where i live

  106. Hi Lindsay! I just wanted to thank you so much for this wonderful cupcake recipe!! I have been on the hunt for a really good vanilla cupcake recipe for a while, and I must say your recipe is hands down my absolute favorite. It is so perfect in terms of texture, amount of sweetness, and moistness, and I must say I have experimented with a bunch of different recipes. I will definitely be making a lot more of these cupcakes in the future! Thank you again!


  1. […] one of the perks is that it is one-bowl method. I will give the well-deserved credit to Lindsay of LifeLoveandSugar who posted this amazing recipe. Thanks […]

  2. […] Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes from Life, Love & Sugar […]

  3. […] Cupcake recipe adapted from […]

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