Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Simply the BEST vanilla cupcake recipe!

This week I’ve made 6 batches of vanilla cupcakes and a vanilla cake.  I feel like my oven has been on for 42 hours straight!  =)  What are all these cupcakes for, you might ask.  Well, for me… and for science, and for you too.  Confused yet?   I’ll explain…

  I have been on a search for a perfect vanilla cupcake recipe for several years.  I have tried Martha’s, Magnolia’s, Billy’s and Amy Sedaris’.  I’ve read the Cake Bible from cover to cover (really!).  I’ve googled until I can’t google anymore!  Some of the recipes were good, just not perfect.  I’ve considered just giving up… maybe my expectations were to high.  I wanted a vanilla cupcake recipe that was as light and fluffy as a box mix, but without all the funny chemicals.  I wanted a cupcake that was flavorful and moist.  And I wanted it to be almost as easy to make from scratch as from a box.

This week, I wasn’t going to stop until I found what I was looking for.  So I baked and baked… then went to the store for more butter and sugar, and baked some more!  I tried recipes with butter, oil, or some of both… recipes with milk, buttermilk, or sour cream… 1 egg, 2 eggs, 5 eggs… baking powder, baking soda… bake at 350*, bake at 325*…

I made cupcakes that were lopsided, over-flowing, over-baked, and just plain ugly…

And then I made these…

They looked beautiful and tasted perfect, so I double checked all my notes to make sure I could remember what I put in them… then I made another batch to make sure it was THE ONE.

They were just as perfect!!  I think I heard angels singing….

Simply the BEST vanilla cupcake recipe!

I am SO happy to share the results of my many experiments.  I am perfectly happy with these cupcakes and look forward to making them again and again.  Now certainly, peoples tastes and preferences vary greatly.  I love these, my husband (my #1 taste tester) loves them, and I hope many of you will too.  As with any recipe, it is very important to use the best quality ingredients you can.  You will notice the recipe calls for cake flour, which is a bit more expensive than all-purpose flour, but I have found it is essential to produce the light and fluffy texture I was looking for.  Also, the recipe uses oil instead of butter.  I realized most cupcake recipes (from scratch) call for butter, and yet box mixes (which have the texture I was looking for) are baked using oil.  I was concerned that using only oil would leave the cupcakes without adequate flavor, but I found that with good quality vanilla, these cupcakes are delicious and flavorful.

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Recipe by Glorious Treats

Yields- 15-16 cupcakes

1 1/4 cups cake flour

3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)

1/3 cup milk (whole or low fat, but avoid fat free)

1/3 cup sour cream (full fat or light, but avoid fat free)


* Preheat oven to 350*F.

* In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.

* In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20 seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat.

* Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of the flour mixture.  Add the milk, then the rest of the flour and the sour cream.  Beat until just combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.

* The batter will be thin.   Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.

* Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes.

* Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.

* Frost as desired when fully cool.  I love to use my favorite Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.

* Feel free to use this recipe for a cake as well.  The recipe above will work for a 6″ cake.  Double the recipe for an 8″ or 9″ cake.

* A note about Cake Flour-  Cake Flour has a lower protein content than traditional all-purpose flour, which results in a more tender, delicate crumb in the finished product.  If you can not find or access cake flour, feel free to substitute as necessary, but your results will vary from the original recipe.


I have made this recipe many times with success, but in an effort to always be improving (even great recipes) I’ve made a couple small updates to this recipe (which are now listed above).  My original recipe included 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder (now reduced to 3/4), 3/4 cup sugar (now increased to 1 cup) and 1/2 cup buttermilk (now updated to 1/3 cup milk, 1/3 cup sour cream).

Prop notes-

Brown cupcake liners from Simply Caked.  The pretty purple cupcake liners are from Confectionery House.  The pearlized sprinkles are from Sweet Baking Supply.  Cupcake stands available at Farmhouse Wares.


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  2. I’ve tried this recipe many many many times. I’ve also turned them into muffins by adding blueberries etc. This is by far the best vanilla cake recipe on the internet. You are a much better baker than I, and I BAKE and tweak and create new recipes all the time. Now I have a request for an oatmeal flour (wheat free) cupcake. I can’t get it quite right but I think someone with your talent will! Looking forward to all your future posts.

  3. Thank you so much for this perfect recipe! Initially I tried another recipe that claimed to be great, but the cupcakes were definitely mediocre compared to these. Your red velvet recipe is also amazing! People can’t stop raving about those whenever I make them. I’m sticking to your recipes! There’s no point in looking elsewhere. 😉

  4. Hai.. im trying to used chocolate chip in the batter but its sink to the bottom of my cupcake.. need help how to solve this problem.. thanks

  5. Hai.. im trying to used chocolate chip in the batter but its sink to the bottom of my cupcake.. i really need help how to solve this problem.. do u have any suggestion?thanks

  6. Hi Glory,
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I always rate and write notes on my recipe sheet so I know the recipe turned out. I rated this 4 out of 5 and “moist, good flavor, light, nice crumb.” I really like the fact that the cupcakes themselves are not too sweet since the frosting will add more sweetness.
    As for the buttermilk, I use the dry packets and just add water. It works perfect every time!
    This recipe is a keeper! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I found these while doing an internet search for vanilla cupcakes. They really are the best! Thanks for sharing your recipe – this one is a keeper!

  8. The taste was great but the texture was far more muffin-like than cupcake like. Also, the inside texture of the cupcakes had wildly uneven holes… fine for muffins, not so fine for cupcakes.

  9. AMAZING cupcakes!!! Found this recipe off another website, which in fact credits Glorious Treats, and these cupcakes are delicious!! So fluffy and moist!! I did the same thing searching the web for the perfect recipe for my daughter’s birthday party, and making endless amounts of cupcakes. In the end, this recipe won out and got great reviews!!! Everyone asked for the recipe and I happily obliged!!! I even got requests to make them for othe parties!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

  10. Hi Glory!
    I’m looking for a maple bacon cupcake recipe and was wondering if you have have used your perfect vanilla cupcakes to make a version of them? I’ve found many recipes online but have had so much luck with your recipes I was hoping you could point me in the right direction! Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful recipes!

  11. Absolutely beautiful! Pale in colour, fluffy as anything I have ever tasted. I put organic whipped cream on top with a raspberry and then sprinkled with caster sugar! Gorgeous!xx

  12. can sunflower oil be used ? i baked this receipt for the past 2 yrs and always had the best result thanks to you! however, i don’t know not know what i have been doing lately my cupcake are turning out dry and hallow inside lots of bubbles and so dry? any idea?

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  14. So would I need to American measurements or would it matter if it’s in Australian cooking measurements ?

  15. I just made these for the second time. The first time I overfilled the liners and they sank in the middle. The second time I was very careful to not over fill and they all rose perfectly. Still not sure they are my favorite. Taste is awesome but the texture is not quite what I was hopi g for.

  16. I tried yr recipes but the centre parts of the cupcakes raise with lighter color . Can u pls explain what i done wrong.

  17. I am going to try making one of those giant cupcakes for my little ones first birthday. You mention it will work for a 6″ cake but do you by chance know if this recipe will work for this and if so the correct baking temp and time? Any guidance would be appreciated. Excited to try this recipe out for the other cupcake portion for her party regardless, so thanks!

  18. OMG! I just made two batches of these cupcakes and they are everything I wanted!!! The cake flour definitely made all the difference! I am so happy with them! Thank you for sharing.

  19. I made these yesterday for my kids as a very special, surprise treat. They couldn’t stop raving! My husband was my taste tester (unfortunately, I can’t have wheat) and he was wondering why I only made six (I used my big cupcake tins). I was able to try the frosting and OH BOY! I’m not a big sweets eater, but I couldn’t keep my fingers out of the bowl! Thanks for sharing this oh! so yummy recipe. This will be my go-to recipe from now.

  20. Sound like a recipe I’ve been looking for!

    You mention felling the liner 2/3 full, can the same be said If I fill them with a medium scooper? or do you recommend just eyeballing it to fill it to 2/3?


  22. I have just made these and they look amazing!
    I am also going to ice them with some cream cheese frosting:)

  23. I am really sorry I didn’t double the recipe.  They came out just like the picture.  Finally truth in recipes.  

  24. Hi. I just tried this recipe out last night and my cupcakes turned out really well! Yah! I used Nielsen Massey Pure Madagascar Vanilla Extract. How would the recipe be effected if I replaced the extract with the companies paste or beans? I want a really flavorful vanilla cupcake. If you have any other suggestions please let me know.

  25. I too was searching for that perfect yellow/vanilla cake recipe and I am so glad I found this!!!! This is it….no more looking for me. Thank you for your research. This cupcake was absolutely moist, delicious, fluffy, perfect yellow color, and taste. I added it with a strawberry buttercream (I didn’t have cream cheese on hand) They were perfect! Plus they made my house smell like heaven :)

  26. How should I alter recipe for 9×13 cake? 

  27. I made these cupcakes today. They were amazing!! However, they rose so much that they stuck out over 1/2 an inch over the top of the liners. I followed the recipe exactly, and the batter made 15 cupcakes. I’m not sure why mine rose so much! Besides that, these cupcakes were so delicious and everybody loved them!

  28. Could you please put the ingredients in ounces or grams as do not understand cup measurements. Thank you, looks lovely cupcakes. Mrs. Forrest

    • I’m sorry, but I am only familiar with U.S. measurements, but if you do a quick google search I’m sure you can find a measurement conversion chart to keep on hand.

    • I to need this recipe in grams, I have found a conversion site,  Google, best thing ever! So will have to give it a go!
      Cup method is ok if you don’t have butter, trying to get a accurate amount isn’t easy so I measure in cups for other ingredients and just convert the butter only, works really well!

  29.  This is by far the best Vanilla cupcake recipe I have ever used. They are little heaven pillows of vanilla fluffiness. Thank you so so so much. I made a double batch by accident, I started getting the milk ready because it is extremely difficult to find buttermilk in Chile. So I warmed half the milk and infused it with tea and let it cool before topping up and adding the apple cider vinegar since i did not have white (my little experiment haha flavour did not come through though). I started on the milk and when i was done i realised i had a full cup now of Rooibos tea infused “buttermilk”; so i figured why not make a double batch instead. So i did, I did not have cake flour (again thank you Chile) so i did the corn flour meets all purpose. I also did not have veg oil so i caved and used olive instead, i was so worried that it would come through too strongly but hey you live and learn. The cupcakes came out perfect, no olive oil taste, they’re ridiculously soft and fluffy and look just like the pictures. They are definitely my new go-to recipe for those rainy day cupcakes. Thank you again so so so much >__< 

    • I should add, I also had to do everything by hand as I do not have and electric mixer T__T I need one for my birthday haha. 

  30. Glory, I made your cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday and they are really  delicious!  We are gluten and dairy free so I had to make some substitutions using gluten free flour and coconut coffee creamer in place of whole milk. They turned out amazing!  You wouldn’t have known they were gluten and dairy free.  Thank you so much for all your hard work creating this recipe to perfection. This is my go to for vanilla cupcakes.

  31. I tried these today, I didn’t have cake flour, so I used the Cornstarch measurement from the comments section (and sifted twice). Also used milk and lemon juice (didn’t have butterrmilk). They came out light and fluffy just like your picture and my husband loved them. Thanks so much!!

  32. I’m so happy I stumbled upon your website! 😀

    Your Vanilla Cupcake is now my go-to recipe! I have made it 3x already and every time each cupcake comes out perfect!  My family loves it too.  I’ve also tried your recipe for Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting and giiiiirl, it didn’t fail me! 

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! 😀

  33. My first batch turned out amazing just like yours! My second batch that i did straight after  have risen but have deflated in the middle. I dont know what i have done wrong. 

  34. Tried this receipe today and it turned out perfect. Thank you so much, I will make these for my son’s birthday next month. 

  35. Hello,

    Thanks for this wonderful cake recipe. It is supermoist!! One of the best I ever stumbled upon…. I want to know if these cupcakes go to the refrigerator after icing. I used fresh cream(whipping cream) based icing and not sure if it stays good kept outside. What do you recommend. Does it taste any better cold or warm. Thanks in advance

  36. Hihi! I’ve tried your recipe twice & both times the cupcakes sinks when it’s cooling on the rack. Any idea why does that happens? I’ve read that I probably could have overbeat my batter but I’m quite sure I did not do that to the second batch. 

  37. Hi! I’m having the same problem as mentioned above, my cupcakes have steep tops and when I checked them for doneness with a toothpick, they deflated and now there’s a huge hole in the middle of the cupcake! I’m quite the baker and this has never happened to me. I’m thinking it’s because I didn’t sift my dry ingredients, but the recipe doesn’t require it. Help!

  38. This has been the best recipe that I have ever tried . It makes the most delicious and moist cupcakes and it even works out amazingly in the form of cake. Just love love love it. It’s just perfect .

  39. I feel like I should try these again. I am doing a little Cupcake experiment to see the best possible recipe as well. I tried this yesterday and nobody cared for these at all. They had a bit of a baking soda like taste that just ruined it. Did anyone else notice this? Thwy were also very runny of a batter Maybe I need to try it again. I may have messed up on one measurement and threw it all off. I’ve noticed the recipes using baking soda and oil instead of butter don’t turn out a well. Maybe it’s just me probably giving these another shot today sine everyone has had such success.

    • Hi Linda,
      So glad you’re trying my recipe! The batter will be quite thin, so that is right, but there is no reason it should have any lingering baking soda taste. Make sure your baking soda and baking powder are fresh, and be sure you’re using Aluminum free baking powder, as some people can pick up on a metallic taste from baking powder that is not aluminum free.
      Of course everyone has different taste preferences, but my family and friends love these!

  40. So glad I found two different blogs that agree on the same recipe…must be a sign.. 

  41. I am doing the same experimenting you were doing and it’s driving me insane.

    I used “Presto self rising cake flour”. You said you just used “Cake Flour”. Was your cake flour self rising or no? What brand did you use?

    Help! i need to make 48 on Saturday~

  42. Thank you so much! This is the best recipe ever!

  43. I want to make this as a 12 inch cake. Does anyone know how to modify the ingredients? Thanks!

  44. Omg ,just made this recipe as cupcakes turned out fantastic,so fluffy and moist plus they have doubled in size a biggggg cupcake sooo happy thank u so much for the lovely recipe ……

  45. I also heard the angels singing! I made these last night for my colleague’s birthday. I had some ground almonds that I needed to use, so I added a handful of these and replaced the vanilla essense with almond essense in both the batter and the frosting. They came out perfect. All 15 have been eaten and we are just 2 of us in the office (ok my 2 x boys and housekeeper also helped)

    I have printed this recipe as a keeper. It seems easy to adapt to other flavours.

  46. These are amazing and I hate cupcakes :) any chance you have a chocolate recipe you love???

  47. Very disappointed! Followed the directions to the letter yet half if them fell horribly. Huge craters, sunken in. I would post a pic but I don’t see an option to do so.

    • Hi Karen,
      So sorry you didn’t have success with this recipe. I’ve made this recipe many times, but without being with you in the kitchen it’s hard to know what to suggest. Do you by chance live at a high elevation? Baking results will vary greatly if baking at high elevation. Generally if the cupcakes sink after being removed from the oven they have not been fully cooked in the center, so baking another little bit may be part of the solution as well. Best of luck!

    • Hi Glory!
      I’m not at a high altitude, so I don’t think that was a factor. I did bake them 5 more minutes than recommended. I’m thinking maybe the liners were overfilled. Still not sure why that would happen to only half of the batch, though. Oh well!

  48. Love this recipe. Made a batch of cupcakes and they were perfect the first time…  but then the second and third time they rose perfectly…. then the last minute they peaked and formed a weird peak to one side.  When I cut it there’s a huge bubble there. Any idea what I did wrong?? Did I not mix enough fearing over mixing?
    Love the recipe :)

  49. Hiii! I was just wondering , would  it make a difference if I used normal flour instead of Cake flour? 

  50. OMG! I made these cupcakes for a party and they were DELICIOUS!!!! I actually didn’t have any cake flour, so I used AP flour and they turned out perfectly yummy. Thank you for sharing.

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