Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

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These Moist Vanilla Cupcakes are super easy to make and so moist – for days! They are my new favorite vanilla cupcake!
Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes recipe

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I’d be bringing you some new basic favorites and I started with my easy moist chocolate cake. Today, we are talking about these moist vanilla cupcakes and I’m pumped! One of the things that I’m always messing with is vanilla cake/cupcakes. It’s the never ending quest for all the best versions. I’m a believer that if you don’t have a good vanilla cake, you have NOTHING! 🙂 Ok, dramatic, but it’s like the “tell”. If you don’t have a good vanilla, can anything else really be that good? There are so many ways to vary a vanilla cake and I want the best of all of them! I’m greedy like that. Plus, I know not every has the same idea of the perfect cupcake, so I like to have options.

You may or may not have tried my original vanilla cupcakes. They are loved by many and were my favorite for some time. I still remember the batches upon batches of cupcakes I made while testing those and the fabulous friends that lined them up and tasted tested them all to help me find the best one. If you haven’t tried them, they are worth checking out. But while I still love them, these are my new fave. Sorry “OG cupcake”, there’s a new star in town. 😉

Best Moist Vanilla CupcakesEasy Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

So let’s talk a bit about these cupcake. There’s no need for creaming to get involved, which is kind of a plus. Creaming butter and sugar together makes quite a fabulous cupcake, but sometimes you just want quick and easy and to barely even need to use a mixer. I mean, basically like a box mix but not, you know? These are those cupcakes. The “OG cupcake” was that way too, but used butter and were a little denser. These cupcakes use oil and are lighter.

We’ve got the usual suspects in this cupcake, starting with the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Easy, common ingredients that you should totally have in your pantry already. Mix ’em all together and set ’em aside.

Next are the wet ingredients: milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs. The oil is the fat component instead of butter and in my opinion, tends to make a more moist cake that stays moist for longer. Totally true for these cupcakes. The milk (I typically use 2%) adds to the structure of the cake, in addition to adding moisture. Milk adds fluff and I love some fluff. 🙂 I used a full tablespoon of vanilla extract to make sure there’s plenty of delicious vanilla flavor. Then the eggs add more moisture, structure and flavor. I switched it up in these and went with whole eggs instead of egg whites. No more egg yolks getting wasted here!

Once the wet and dry ingredients are combined, the water is added.

There’s so much moisture in these cupcakes! I love them! I’m a big, big fan of their ease of making, their flavor and moisture. They use such simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry too – score! When topped with my favorite vanilla buttercream, these vanilla cupcakes really are a dream! They were a big hit in our house and I hope you love them as much as we did!

Homemade Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
Favorite Moist Vanilla Cupcakes recipe

Read transcript
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NOTE: Some people have reported having trouble with this recipe, while others love it. I have no idea why some people have trouble. There could be any number of factors – improper measuring of ingredients, oven type, altitude, etc. I have never had an issue with these and cannot troubleshoot a problem that I cannot recreate. If you’d prefer a more traditional vanilla cupcake that uses butter and a little bit of oil, as well as the creaming method, and seems to be less finicky for people, try out these Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes. They are currently my favorite vanilla cupcake.

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Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24-26 Cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These Moist Vanilla Cupcakes are super easy to make and so moist – for days! They are my new favorite vanilla cupcake!




  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) water


  • 1/2 cup (112g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (95g) shortening
  • 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 23 tbsp (30-45ml) water or milk


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
5. Slowly add the water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined. Please note that the batter will be very thin.
6. Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
7. Remove the cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
8. To make the frosting, combine the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
9. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
10. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of water or milk and mix until smooth.
11. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
12. Add remaining water or milk as needed and mix until smooth.
13. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 844.


If you’d prefer a more traditional vanilla cupcake that uses butter instead of oil, and the creaming method, try out these Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes.

Keywords: vanilla cupcake recipe, easy vanilla cupcake recipe, vanilla frosting recipe, how to make vanilla cupcakes


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Decorated Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

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Recipe rating

  1. Victouria W.

    I tried so many vanilla cupcake recipes. I love a moist and dense cupcake. I’m going to try this right now. Praying it works out. Here goes nothing!…

  2. Carmen

    I just made your cupcakes and they taste phenomenal! They were fluffy, loose (not muffin-like), appropriately shaped, and just little bites of heaven. I should have discovered this earlier because I made cupcakes for a recent party and these would have been a MUCH better and more presentable cupcake to bring (the others were not nearly as good). Well done and I absolutely adore this recipe!!  Thank you sincerely, Lindsay!

      1. Dominique

        Please help me! I just made this recipe, followed it to a T and the cupcakes tops have crystallized texture and the texture inside is doughy although it’s evenly cooked if I bake any longer they would darken and dry out. I been searching for a good recipe and trust me these cupcakes came out STUNNING! I want to know what I did wrong please help!

  3. Meg

    Hi how is the vanilla cake recipe and cupcake recipe different? I want to make fluffy and moist cupcakes for my sisters bridal shower.
    The recipe i normally make tends to be crumbly. Which recipe of yours should i use?

    1. Lindsay

      To be honest, it’s been quite a while since I’ve made the vanilla cake as cupcakes. If I remember correctly, they are a tighter crumbed cupcake, perhaps softer feeling. These moist cupcakes aren’t as tight a crumb, but are really moist and still very soft, not dense. Which one to use is a tough call for me to make, since everyone seems to have a different idea of what makes a great cupcake. These are super easy, so they’d be quick to try and if you don’t like them as much, you could try the others. You could also try these cupcakes. They are almond in that recipe, but replace the almond with vanilla extract and you’ve got another option. Between the three, I’d say the almond one or this one. Main differences are creaming method vs non-creaming and butter vs oil. Both are delicious.

  4. Karen M.

    Yum, I made the moist vanilla cupcakes yesterday and they were great. A lot of holes in the baked cupcake and a sponge sort of texture. The flavor was delicious and the frosting was great.
    I didn’t use the shortening and 1/2’d the recipe for frosting (I only frosted the 12 cupcakes with about 1/2 cup left over.). I made 12 cupcakes and one 8 inch cake. Wish I could attach a picture, because they looked great (pink frosting). Thank you for all your great recipes!!

    1. Ashley

      Did you use all butter frosting or just eliminated the shortening and didn’t replace it with anything? I can’t find shortening here and your reply would be very helpful!

      1. Lindsay

        I’m not sure what Karen did, but you can definitely replace the shortening with additional butter.

  5. Alicia

    Hey there .. finally!! A perfect vanilla cupcake!! They are amazing!! Truly thank you! When I cook them some bubble off to the side .. what am I doing wrong?

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them! 🙂 I’ve actually seen the bubble thing happen with all different recipes. I’m not sure why that happens. It has to be some weird reaction in the ingredient in the occasional cupcake.

      1. Q

        This is the best cupcake recipe I’ve ever tried, thank you so much for sharing it. All my friends and family loved it 🙂

  6. Jessica D

    So excited to try this recipe without the use of sour cream. I’m a huge fan of your snickers cupcake that it is my go to chocolate cupcake recipe. Every time I make them I always wonder why it can’t be this simple to do a non-chocolate version. Love everything you make, your cookbook is so beautiful it is almost daunting. Love this site!

    1. Lindsay

      Thanks so much Jessica! Yes, if you’re a fan of that chocolate cupcake, you should love this vanilla version! 🙂

      1. Jessica D

        So finally made these and the tops to mine were fairly moist to the touch the next day. Not sure what I did wrong.

      2. Lindsay

        Did you happen to put them in a container while they were still warm? If so, condensation from inside the container can cause that.

  7. Caitlin

    Is the batter meant to be runny when you make these? I tried to make them and the batter was very liquid like. Cakes turned out Ok, but II just wasn’t sure if this was normal as the recipe doesn’t state how the batter is supposed to turn out 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, it’s a fairly thin batter. If you watch the video, you should be able to see just about how thin when I pour the batter into the cupcake liners. I hope that helps!

      1. Nancy

        In response to Samantha, regarding convection ovens – I purchased one a year ago and my manufacturers instructions said to bake at 25 degrees less than called for in the recipe. My oven is optional to use convection or regular bake. Also be wary of non-stick coated pans – they cook everything dark and temperature should also be reduced for these. (I am gradually getting rid of them and replacing with good quality aluminum pans – the best for even baking results in my opinion.)

    2. Nancy

      This was my exact same question. Was worried about the consistency of the batter. The cupcakes are now in the oven. See you back here in 15 minutes 🙂
      Nairobi, Kenya.

  8. Samantha

    I have a conventional oven so the fan is going all the time. It’s so hard to find a vanilla recipe that works well for me and that darn oven. How do you think this recipe will be in this type of oven? Any adjustments you can suggest? All your recipes look amazing! 🙂

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not very familiar with baking in a convection oven. I’m sorry! I wish I could be more help. My guess is you’d want to use less baking time, but I don’t know if it’ll effect the way it bakes.

    2. Abberly

      For convection cooking you should reduce the cook time sometimes as much as ten minutes or if the recipe calls for 350 for 15 you might want to try it at 335. Your owners manual can help you with that. I only bake on convection, would not use anything else, I find I get a much more even bake. I have a high end convection oven though and just like gas stoves quality of bake can change depending on quality of the stove. Most importantly though, read the owners manual for baling tips.

    3. Ernesta

      I think that the issue for many ppl is the website layout for a mobile view. The add cuts off he very beginning of the recipe, and it kinda looks like only 1/2 cup of flour is needed. I immagine that all ppl saying that it didnot worm, or baked for 1 and a half hour and still bot ready is the provlem that they dont notice the 2 which gets cut of wiyh the add. I tired and they are lovely! So I cant immagine how can so many people fail, must be the flour part.

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12