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!

vanilla cupcakes with multicolored sprinkles on wood and marble cake stand

vanilla cupcake with a bite taken on a cake stand

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.

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.

vanilla sprinkles with multicolored sprinkles

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!

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!

vanilla cupcakes with multicolored sprinkles on marble stand
vanilla cupcakes on wood and marble cake stand with blue napkin underneath

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.

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!

Print
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vanilla cupcakes with multicolored sprinkles on wood and marble cake stand
Recipe

Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes

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

Description

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!


Ingredients

CUPCAKES

  • 1 2/3 cups (217g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (115g) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk

FROSTING

  • 1 cup (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 23 tbsp (30-45ml) water or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

CUPCAKES

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add butter, egg whites, vanilla, sour cream and milk and mix on medium speed just until well combined and smooth. Do not over mix.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners a little more than half way and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

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.

Notes

See my newest Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

Nutrition

  • 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

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

Filed Under:

Enjoy!

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Some treats from friends:
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Recipe rating

563 Comments
  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. 

Lindsay
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