Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes

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These vanilla cupcakes might just be the best you’ve ever tasted. Moist and tender, they have the perfect, subtle vanilla flavor and are topped with the most incredible vanilla buttercream. Plus, they’re super easy to make!

Moist & Fluffy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

A good vanilla cupcake is a must-have in any bakers book and finding a good one isn’t easy. After trying many, I decided that coming up with my own was the best path forward. After tons of testing and tasting, I finally came up with a recipe that combines the simplest of mixing methods with the perfect flavor and texture. The cupcakes themselves somehow manage to be dense, but not too dense, tender, and irresistibly moist all at once. A touch of sour cream adds moisture and highlights their subtle vanilla flavor, taking them to a whole new level of deliciousness. Top them off with my favorite vanilla buttercream and you’ve got yourself a cupcake that will give all of the others a run for their money.

And here’s the best part – making these cupcakes is as easy as whipping up a box mix, but the result is incomparably better. So, whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner, these cupcakes are perfect for you. Between my Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes, Moist Vanilla Cupcakes, White Cupcakes, and these beauties, it’s hard to pick a favorite but these ones might just take the cake (cupcake?).

Overhead image of vanilla cupcakes with rainbow dots.

What Makes These Vanilla Cupcakes Different?

I have 4 vanilla cupcakes on my blog. They are all delicious and they all have their own unique ingredients, methods, and personalities. I want to talk about what sets these particular vanilla cupcakes apart.

  • Egg. Unlike my White Cupcakes, these cupcakes contain whole eggs. This gives them a little added richness and body as well as a deeper yellow color. Plus, you aren’t wasting any part of the egg.
  • Sour cream. Unlike my other vanilla cupcakes (with the exception of these White Cupcakes), this recipe uses sour cream which gives the cupcakes a wonderful springy tenderness and added moisture.
  • Levening agents. This is my only vanilla cupcake recipe that uses baking soda in addition to baking powder. Adding baking soda to recipes that contain an acid (such as the sour cream in this one) activates the leavening agent beautifully, allowing it to give an extra lift to the baked good. See my post on Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda for more information.
  • Butter. I used butter in this recipe. I love the rich flavor it brings to the cupcake. My Moist Vanilla Cupcakes use oil instead, which makes them moister but less rich in flavor, and my Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes use both oil and butter (best of both worlds!). My White Cupcakes use just butter as well but at room temperature (see my next point). You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you prefer cupcakes with butter, with oil, or with both but try this one first. It’s a good place to start.
  • Melted butter. Another note on butter. Because this recipe doesn’t employ the creaming method, it is not necessary to have the butter softened at room temperature. You actually want it in melted, liquid form so that it mixes as easily as possible with the other ingredients.
  • Simple mixing method. While my Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes and my White Cupcakes employ the creaming method, this recipe does not. Here all you have to do is combine the dry ingredients, combine the wet ingredients, and then put it all together. You’ll see the same, simpler method used in my Moist Vanilla Cupcakes.
  • Texture. These cupcakes are on the denser side of the cupcake spectrum but they still have a lovely moisture and tenderness to them (thanks sour cream!).
Ingredients for vanilla cupcakes.

What You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to make these moist vanilla cupcakes. You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below for precise measurements.

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • All-purpose flour – Be sure to measure your flour accurately, so you don’t end up with a dry cake. I always recommend a food scale, but the spoon and level method is also an option.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – The combination gives the best rise and texture in these cupcakes.
  • Salt – You need a little salt for flavor. Without it, the cupcakes will be bland.
  • Unsalted butter – No need to bring it to room temperature. You’ll be melting it for an easy mixing method.
  • Sugar – Sugar not only adds sweetness, but also moisture and it affects the final texture of the cupcake.
  • Vanilla extract – A good quality vanilla extract is perfect for a vanilla focused cupcake.
  • Eggs – Be sure to use large eggs, not small or extra large.
  • Sour cream – I like the extra flavor that the sour cream adds, but if you aren’t a sour cream fan, you can replace it with additional milk.
  • Milk – I recommend using 2% milk or whole milk.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted butter – The butter should be softened to room temperature. If it is too cold, you will end up with a lumpy frosting.
  • Powdered sugar – For the ideal piping consistency, I recommend using the amount listed in the recipe. However, you can reduce the amount if’d you like to. Just keep in mind that it will be thinner.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Heavy cream – Helps add a creamy texture to the buttercream. You can add as much as needed to get the right consistency for the buttercream.
  • Salt – You don’t have to add salt to your buttercream, but it adds a little flavor and cuts down on the sweetness a bit.

How To Make Vanilla Cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes are so easy to make! Here’s a quick look at how to do it. For more thorough instructions, scroll to the recipe card below.

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  • Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk in the eggs followed by the sour cream and then the milk.
  • Put it all together. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  • Bake. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Cool. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • Make the frosting. Beat the butter until smooth. Mix in half of the powdered sugar followed by the vanilla, 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, and the salt. Finally, mix in the remaining powdered sugar.
  • Get the consistency right. You can add a little extra heavy cream if you would like a thinner frosting.
  • Frost. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.

What’s The Secret To Moist Vanilla Cupcakes?

In order to make perfectly moist cupcakes, you need the right combination of fat, sugar, acid/leavening, and liquid/liquid-ish ingredients. These cupcakes really get it right. Not only do they have the perfect amount of sugar and also fat in the form of butter, but the addition of milk and sour cream brings the extra bit of fat and moisture that these baked goodies really need to stand out. Plus the acidic nature of the sour cream really helps to tenderize the glutens in the flour, making these cupcakes feel even more moist and silky smooth.

Closeup of vanilla cupcakes on a cupcake stand.

Pro Tips for Amazing Cupcakes

These moist vanilla cupcakes are hard to mess up but I just wanted to put a couple of useful tips and tricks in your hands to help you achieve outstanding results. Here they are.

  • Don’t over-mix. When whisking the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mix just until everything is smooth and well incorporated. Over-mixing can cause the glutens in the flour to overdevelop, giving you tough, dense cupcakes.
  • 3/4 full. You will want to fill the cupcake liners just a little more than 3/4 of the way. If you overfill them, they will rise out of the liners and create a muffin top and/or fall in the middle, which you don’t want here.
  • Get the frosting right. To get the buttercream to the proper consistency, you may need to play with the amount of heavy cream you add to it. You’ll find everything you need to know on the subject in my post on how to get the right frosting consistency.
  • Cool before frosting. Allow your cupcakes to cool completely before applying the frosting. This prevents the frosting from melting and sliding off of the cupcakes.
  • Frost like a pro. We eat with our eyes first and frosting a cupcake right can really up its visual appeal. Check out my post on How To Frost Cupcakes to become a frosting pro.
Vanilla cupcakes on a cupcake stand.

How To Store Leftovers

These cupcakes are best eaten within 4-5 days. Here’s how to store them for best taste and shelf life.

  • Room Temperature and Refrigerator. Seal the cupcakes in an airtight cupcakes carrier or another airtight container that can accommodate the frosting and store them at room temperature for up to 2 days so that they don’t dry out as quickly. After that, they should be refrigerated because of the buttercream.
  • Freezer. Seal the cupcakes in an airtight container tall enough to accommodate the frosting and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow them to thaw at room temperature before serving. You can also freeze these cupcakes sans frosting and whip up a fresh batch of vanilla buttercream just before serving.

More Cupcake Recipes To Try

Cupcakes are the perfect sharable dessert. They bring everything you want from a cake to the table but with none of the messy slicing and serving. Here are some of my other favorite cupcake recipes for you to bring to your next soiree.

Download the previous version of this cupcake recipe here.

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vanilla cupcakes with multicolored sprinkles on wood and marble cake stand

Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Lindsay Conchar
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These vanilla cupcakes might just be the best you’ve ever tasted. Moist and tender, they have the perfect, subtle vanilla flavor and are topped with the most incredible vanilla buttercream. Plus, they’re super easy to make!


Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 cups (217g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (115g) sour cream
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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


Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs and whisk together until well combined. Next, add the sour cream and whisk together until well combined. Now, add the milk and whisk together until well combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined, but do not over mix.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners a little more than 3/4 full (60g) and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  1. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Carefully add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and 1-2 tablespoons of the cream and the salt to the frosting and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional cream as needed to get the right consistency.
  5. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 844. Add sprinkles, if desired.
  6. Store cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 2 days, then refrigerate them. Best served at room temperature. They are best if eaten within 3-4 days.


See my newest Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.


  • Serving Size: 1 Cupcake
  • Calories: 459
  • Sugar: 42.9 g
  • Sodium: 176 mg
  • Fat: 25.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 56.2 g
  • Protein: 3.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 46.6 mg


About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29