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 White on White Buttermilk Cake from BakeSpace 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 Instagram photo 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!

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Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


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!




  • 1 2/3 cups (217g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup salted butter (170g), room temperature ( I use Challenge Butter)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk


  • 1/2 cup (115g) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup (95g) shortening
  • 4 cups (480g) powdered sugar
  • 23 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.


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

See my newest Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

Keywords: vanilla cupcakes recipes, vanilla icing recipe, easy vanilla dessert recipe, best cupcake recipes


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Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes - so moist and easy to make!

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

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

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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

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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Recipe rating

  1. Eileen Moran

    I had been looking forward to making these perfect light and moist cupcakes. I was very disappointed that they came out dense and dry. I re-read the directions many times because the steps didn’t make sense to me. There were little flecks of butter as stated but it melted and when I removed each cupcake from the pan there was a puddle of butter! Had to throw them all out!

  2. Rebecca

    I’m so pleased I found this recipe.. perfect sponge every time. I’m attempting to make my little boys birthday cake tomorrow and going to use this recipe. 

  3. Karina

    My kids love this recipe! I’ve been baking them for a couple of years now. They come out delicious Every time! Thank you!

  4. Misty

    I’m sorry to say I didn’t care for these at all. The cupcakes were very dense and not very flavorful. The frosting was not very flavorful either, perhaps due to the shortening. 

  5. Elena

    I am an experienced baker. I followed the recipe but they came out almost like crumpets inside. Light and fluffy but an odd texture. Any reason why this happened?

  6. Hannah

    This was so oily! It literally leaked butter. And filling half full was not enough. Really vanilla cake needs cake flour. I can’t get a good vanilla cake without it.

  7. Lynette

    A favourite recipe that is used for all birthdays! My whole
    Family loves how moist these cupcakes are and they work with all my various frostings! 

  8. Louise Rowe

    My daughter wanted to make these for fathers day. Despite following the recipe they came out like sunken doughy dumplings and were inedible. Still don’t know what we did wrong but we won’t be making them again.

    1. Jane

      Was your baking powder nice and fresh? I like to buy smaller containers of baking powder because it stops working as it gets older. Weak baking powder will turn any quick bread/cake into dumplings.

  9. devyn

    all i have at home is lactose free 2% milk as my husband has a lactose allergy. will that work the same as regular milk?

  10. Katie

    As a chocolate cake lover myself I don’t usually make vanilla anything but I thought I’d try something different for my daughters birthday and found this recipe. This recipe was easy to follow and I was curious to see how cupcakes with sour cream in them and shortening in the frosting would turn out. Honestly they were very tasty and the frosting was so good too although I cut it in half. I didn’t have cupcake papers but these still cooked up nice although my first batch fell flat perhaps I over mixed them but they were still moist and delicious and with frosting on top who cares if they were flat!!! So all in all I’d say great recipe even for being vanilla ???? the only thing I would say is I used the cheap imitation vanilla and I’m guessing these would be that much better with real vanilla extract so next time I’ll spurge and use real vanilla. 

  11. Tammy Linck

    I followed this recipe to the letter. They had craters in the tops, they stuck to the cupcake liners and they taste like salty butter cookie. I’m not sure what happened. Can you please advise?

    1. Lindsay

      I would recommend storing in an air tight container. I usually keep them on the counter, but if you choose to use an all butter frosting, they are probably best refrigerated.

  12. Bryony

    I’m currently making these cupcakes as I stumbled across the recipe online. I followed the instructions to the letter (I think!) and when I take them out of the oven they are swimming in butter. Once they cool a little they do soak it back up and they taste amazing but they are very grease. I’m in the Uk and I really appreciated your grams conversion but just trying to figure out what I did wrong ????!
    They definitely passed the kids text though my two loved them! Thanks so much for taking the time to develop this receipe xx

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not necessarily sure you didn’t anything wrong. I don’t recall them having this issue, but several others have reported the same thing. You could try reducing the butter slightly. I also have several other newer vanilla cupcake recipes if you’d like to try them – here and here.

  13. Heather

    Whenever I find a recipe the most important part of the post are the comments I’ve found, that’s where I see where tweaks should be made, or how people found the recipe turned out, for this one, I read a few comments suggesting that this recipe wasn’t good, but others raved. I decided to trust the positive people and I’m so glad I did! I made the recipe exactly as written (I mean she said she made multiple batches to perfect it, she’s already done the leg work, why would I mess with that?) and the cupcakes were some of the best I have ever had! Truth be told, I’m not a cupcake person – the cake is too dry and crumbly, the icing too sickly sweet, I normally avoid them – but THESE cupcakes, holy crap! SO GOOD!!!! I had two. If that tells you anything!! Seriously people. Do it as directed, and start with 18 minutes in the oven, and add more as needed. For my altitude and oven 21 minutes was perfect! And when you check your tooth pick there should be a couple crumbs stuck on the side of the wood, but it shouldn’t be wet. Then take it out and follow the rest of her instructions!! She’s right guys, they are perfect! Thanks Lindsay!

  14. DAWN

    Tried your recipe on the weekend, the cupcakes came out wonderful!!!!! My kids and husband loved them and they were very moist.

  15. Chris Sol

    Tried these tonight, in Bergen, Norway. they were wonderful, my partner loved them and swallowed down two in rapid succession! 

  16. Sarah

    If I triple your recipe will it turn out just as good? Or should I make 3 separate batches of them? Thanks! I’m excited to try them!

  17. Megan O.

    My tip: have a backup plan when making these. I tried these cupcakes and they were a HUGE fail! i have never messed up baking quite like this. I followed the recipe to a T and they completely stuck to the liner. We are trying to figure out what to do with 6 dozen “crumbs” now. Guess I will have to buy store bought cupcakes for my daughters 2nd birthday.

  18. Grace

    I was wondering if this recipe could be made into a cake too? Like a 9×13 or something! I love this recipe and would like to make it into a cake to

  19. Margaret

    Today my daughter and i made these cupcakes. It is a simple recipe and the cupcakes taste great. The only thing I did wrong is that the cupcake doesn’t have much flavor. I wonder if my vanilla extract is old or if I did not put the correct amount of extract into the batter. However, this is more my fault. But being a new baker, this recipe made me look like a pro. Thanks for posting it!

    1. Lindsay

      Not sure what you mean about the curdling, but you could use greek yogurt. It does change up the texture of the cupcake though.

  20. Beth

    Just came across this recipe and made them, they are perfect! So moist, especially when stored in an air tight container. Makes them even better the next day. On my 2nd batch, I did add some extra vanilla, and some cream cheese flavoring for a little more flavor. Will be my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe. I have my own perfect buttercream frosting recipe I paired them with.

  21. Bella P

    Would Brown sugar, or natural honey work best for substituting the White sugar, I believe that it would take 3/4 cups of honey and, 1 cup Brown sugar if I were to choose one.

  22. Tatiana Konorat

    I would never ever say that vanilla cupcakes are awesome… until now. Your recipe is just perfect! Thanks a lot! Best wishes from Brazil.

  23. Sheri Biel

    I used this recipe to make a cake instead of cupcakes. I used a 9×13 pan. In comparison to making this vs using a box cake mix this recipe was half as deep as a box cake. When eating it, the cake was very dense almost like a pound cake. Did I perhaps over mix it? I tried beating it until it was smooth but I still had small chunks of butter in there so thats how I baked it. Where did I go wrong?

  24. Natalie Uhrik

    These taste great except they don’t pull away from the paper nicely. I’ve made them a number of times and same problem. I found that when I mix all the ingredients the butter stays lumpy. I leave the butter out overnight so it’s definitely room temp. Any tips?

  25. Em

    I just made these. I followed the recipe completely, but it did not work out. They are wet at the bottom from unincorporated butter and have almost a crust on the outside like cornbread. they kind of smell like cornbread too but I have no clue how that even happened. Rhese were for a bakesale but now I have to make a different recipe 🙁 I think I will stick to recipes where you cream your sugar and butter together first. 

  26. Christine Fong

    Hi! Do they eggs have to be at room temperature or fridge temperature? Large or medium eggs? Can’t wait to make this! I’ve been looking for a super easy vanilla recipe with vegetable oil and finally found it! Thanks!

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!

Scripture I’m Loving

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