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.


  1. I have made these cupcakes atleast four times now and they are always a huge hit. As a matter of fact I am making them today! Also I use the vanilla cream cheese frosting! If someone made these and didn’t turn out right then they must not be used to cooking/baking. These are pretty fail proof as I allowed my husband to make them once and even he didn’t screw them up! These are my go too!!

  2. Any suggestions for making this a white cake?

  3. I always make these cupcakes, they are the best, just making a double batch for my middle sons birthday, as requested!

  4. These are perfect and I have not even frosted them yet!  I doubled the recipe.  I have always found it difficult to find the right vanilla cupcake.  
    Thank you!!!

  5. I wondered if you could tell me how much is in a cup in grams or ounces?

  6. I searched and tried a variety of cupcakes,….. we did taste tests. As I wanted the perfect go to recipe as my first child was turning one. He is now 8 and this is still our favorite! Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I’m so happy to have been a little part of your celebrations over the years!

  7. I have had the original recipe stuck to the side of my fridge for several years, but when I went to make them today it was gone! Came back to the website to find it and was dismayed to see that it was different. I was dubious you could improve on “Perfect” so I made the old recipe…… and then the new recipe, just to check. And, yep, you’re right! Better than ever. Thanks for sharing your hard work so we can all benefit 🙂

    • Awe, thank you so much for the sweet comment! Yes, the original will still work great… but I do find that the slight updates make it even more “fool-proof”. So glad you are baking from my site and enjoying the results!

  8. Hi, I have read most of the posts from those people that were requesting the original recipe. You had replied “see changes above”. Would it be possible to illustrate your old recipe with all the ingredients as you posted originally???? 

  9. Hi! I’ve been making your cupcake recipe for years! Now I would like to make a 3 tiered 8” cake  for my daughter’s wedding. Would you suggest I double the cupcake recipe?

    • For three layer cake I might suggest tripling the recipe, I think doubling it might not be quite enough for three layers. Use your best judgement, you may have a bit of batter leftover (to make a couple little cupcakes) if you do a triple batch. Be sure to not fill the pans much more than 1/2 way (depending on the depth of your pans). Thin layers of batter will bake much nicer than trying to bake a super thick layer. Happy baking!

  10. I have been making these cupcakes for about 7 years. This is a true never fail, everyone loves them cake. 

  11. Hi! I’ve made this recipe a few times and they always taste amazing but it seems like they sink flat one they cool, and your pictures show a perfect dome.
    Any tips on what I could be doing wrong?
    Thank you

    • Hi Valerie,
      Generally when cakes (or cupcakes) sink as they cool it’s because they are slightly under baked. Try baking for just a minute or so longer and see if that helps. The only other thought would be if you are baking (living) at a high elevation… then that would be a different issue all together.
      Happy baking!

    • This is the best vanilla cupcake recipe I’ve so far and I’ve tried a lot. I love how theycome out and will continue to make them. Do you happen to have a strawberry cupcake recipe.? I looked everywhere and only found strawberry lemonade.. If you have a strawberry recipe would you please share? Thank you much!

  12. Hello,
    I’m constantly on the hunt for the perfect cupcake recipe. I’m excited to try yours and hopefully find a keeper! What’s your opinion on substituting the sour cream with plain yogurt?

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  15. Hello!  I have made your cupcake recipe several times now.  The recipe is perfect!  Everybody loved the cupcakes!  I’ve tried many cupcake recipes and your recipe is the best by far!  They taste delicious and the texture is perfect!
    Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipe!              

  16. Thanks for posting.  I’ve tried this cupcake recipe twice and both times the middles of my cupcakes dropped.  Any ideas on why this might be happening??

    • So sorry you’re having trouble! My first thought would be… do you live at a high elevation? This recipe is a bit sensitive to baking at high elevation without adjustments. Otherwise, my only guess would be that you are under-baking the cupcakes just a bit. If the cupcakes rise while baking (and look good when you remove them from the oven, but then sink a lot once cooled… then they have just been under-baked a bit.

  17. I have made these almost every year for each of my children’s birthdays. I made them today using the new adjusted recipe and they were all sunken in, and totally unsalvageable. I’m not sure what happened but thought I’d share in case others had the same experience. Such a bummer!

    • So sorry you had some trouble. If the original worked well for you, I’d just stick with that. The original is still listed (below the rest of the recipe). The updates were listed for those who had some issues with the original. Happy baking!

  18. We bought  and downloaded your cookbook  several years ago and love the recipes!  We also love the new vanilla cupcakes and the coffee buttercream is so delicious!!  Now we’re waiting for a chocolate chip cupcake recipe.  

  19. Hey!  Is there a way to make this recipe into a 9in cake?  same amounts diff bake time? 

    Its my husbands 40th tomorrow 3/27 and he doesn’t like cake – but loves these cupcakes that i make for my daughter’s EVERY occasion!!  always a big hit!
    Let me know.  thank you!!

  20. Thank you for this amazing recipe. This is officially my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe.

    However I’m trying to use this recipe to make a whole 6 inch cake and I can’t seem to get the cooking time correct. Would you happen to have a recommended baking time for a 6 inch cake using one portion of this recipe please? I’ve split it into two baking pans for a two-layered cake and used between 17-25 minutes , but the three times I’ve tried, they all came out with streaks of uncooked batter though a tooth pick came out clean.

    Thank you so much!

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