Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

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This Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe makes perfectly moist, completely irresistible cupcakes! These light and fluffy cupcakes are topped with creamy vanilla buttercream and topped with sprinkles for the ultimate sweet treat.

Pinterest image for vanilla cupcakes showing a close up of cupcakes and a stack of cupcakes on a white stand

My Best Classic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

These homemade vanilla cupcakes are a certified mood-booster. They’re moist, fluffy and topped with a simple buttercream frosting that hits all the right notes. Pour a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee, then dig into one of these cupcakes for complete vanilla bliss.

Vanilla cupcakes may seem a little too “classic,” but honestly, sometimes that’s just what you need! You can make these cupcakes casual or fancy, so they’re a great treat to make for everything from birthday parties to lazy Saturday afternoons when you’re craving something sweet. I love the combination of moist vanilla cupcakes with silky smooth vanilla buttercream. I truly can’t say enough good things about these cupcakes!

Homemade vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles on a white stand

What Makes These Cupcakes Different From My Other Vanilla Cupcake Recipes?

If you’re familiar with my recipes, you know that this is not the first time I’ve shared a recipe for vanilla cupcakes. I’ve spent countless hours making many, many cupcakes – and taste testing them too! It’s a sacrifice, but someone had to do it, right? But my quest for the perfect vanilla cupcake has paid off. This version is absolutely perfect.

So how are they different?

These cupcakes are perfectly moist and light without the use of sour cream. Unlike this version, they use whole eggs instead of just egg whites, making them more velvety in texture. And even though I love this vanilla cupcake recipe, these new ones are made with butter instead of oil, which gives them an even nicer flavor.

This recipe uses a tried-and-true creaming method that’s based on my delicious vanilla layer cake, too. So basically this easy cupcakes recipe is the result of everything I’ve learned over years of making vanilla cupcakes and cakes, all wrapped up in one simple recipe.

Close up of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkles

Cupcake Ingredients

No need to make a stop at the grocery store for these cupcakes. They use basic ingredients that you most likely have in your pantry!

For the Vanilla Cupcakes

Here’s what you’ll need to make the vanilla cupcakes:

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • unsalted butter
  • sugar
  • vegetable oil
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • milk

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Here’s what you’ll need to make the creamy vanilla buttercream frosting:

  • unsalted butter
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • water or milk
  • salt
Vanilla cupcake with frosting and sprinkles with a bite taken out of it

How to Make Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat Oven & Prepare Dry Ingredients: To start, preheat your oven to 350°F and insert liners into your cupcake pan. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder & salt and set aside.
  2. Mix Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, add your butter, sugar, oil and vanilla extract, beating together until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take no less than 3-4 minutes. You’ll want to add your eggs next, one at a time, mixing after each until mostly combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Combine Wet & Dry Ingredients: Add half of your dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix until it’s mostly combined. Before you add the next half, slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter might look a little curdled, but don’t worry! It’s supposed to look like that at this stage.
  4. Combine Next Half of Dry Ingredients: Add the rest of your dry ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until smooth and combined, but make sure you don’t over-mix the batter.
  5. Bake Your Cupcakes: Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool on a cooling rack.

Vanilla Buttercream for Cupcakes

This creamy vanilla buttercream frosting is super easy to make in one bowl. You may have noticed that these cupcakes are loaded with frosting. That’s because I made one and a half times the frosting called for in the recipe. It’s my personal opinion that you can never have too much frosting, especially when it comes to this particular vanilla buttercream. If you follow the recipe for these cupcakes, you’ll end up with a more normal amount of frosting than what’s pictured.

  1. Cream the Butter and Sugar: Add butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until it’s smooth and well combined.
  2. Add Milk or Water: Add the salt and 1-2 tbsp of the milk or water, mixing again until well combined. Then, add in your remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. You can add more milk or water to alter the consistency if you’d like.
  3. Pipe the Frosting: Pipe or spread your frosting onto your cupcakes, decorate to your liking and enjoy!

Tips for the Best Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Make sure you cream the butter, sugar, oil and vanilla completely. This will ensure that your cupcakes turn out perfect and that they’re not too dense.
  • It’s a good idea to add a bit more milk or water if your frosting comes out too thick. Do this a little at a time to avoid thinning it out too much.
  • Let your cupcakes cool completely before you frost them. If you don’t, the buttercream will melt and all your pretty piping will be ruined. You want the frosting to stay smooth and velvety.
Frosted vanilla cupcakes on a cupcake stand with rainbow sprinkles

Simple Decorating Ideas

It’s not hard to make these cupcakes picture-perfect. But there are tons of easy ways to dress them up and make them even prettier!

  • Sprinkles: Add your favorite festive sprinkles to make these cupcakes a beautiful party treat.
  • Fruit: Top them with a slice of strawberry, a few blueberries or any other fruit of your choice.
  • Oreos: Garnish these cupcakes with an Oreo cookie or sprinkle them with crushed Oreos!
  • Candy: Make these cupcakes even sweeter by adding your favorite pieces of candy.
  • Pretzels: Turn these cupcakes into a sweet and salty treat by adding crushed pretzels or mini pretzels.

If you’re sprinkling a topping on the cupcakes, make sure to do it right after you pipe your frosting. This way, your sprinkles or crushed Oreos will stick perfectly!

Close up of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles

How to Store Frosted Cupcakes

If your cupcakes somehow last longer than one day, there’s an easy way to store them without compromising their beauty. Just place them into an airtight container, and they’ll stay good for up to three days in the fridge or at room temperature.

Can I Freeze Cupcakes?

You can freeze the vanilla cupcakes before they are frosted. Cover each cupcake in plastic wrap, then place them in an airtight covered container or freezer safe Ziploc bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for 2 months. Just make sure to thaw them in the fridge before serving!

Can I Make the Frosting Ahead?

Yes! The frosting by itself will last 3-5 days if covered and refrigerated. Just scoop it into an airtight container and close it securely before placing it in the fridge. When you want to use it, bring it back to room temperature, stir it until smooth and use like you normally would.


Read transcript

Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

This Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe makes perfectly moist, completely irresistible cupcakes! These light and fluffy cupcakes are topped with creamy vanilla buttercream and topped with sprinkles for the ultimate sweet treat.

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (155g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150ml) milk

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 23 tbsp (30-45ml) water or milk
  • Pinch or two of salt

Instructions

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, oil and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Now it’s time to add the eggs. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter will look curdled, but that’s ok.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  1. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Carefully pour in about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and 1-2 tablespoons of the water or milk and the salt to the frosting and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional milk or water as needed to get the right consistency.
  5. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 844.
  6. Cupcakes are best when stored well covered for 2-3 days.

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