Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

A truly perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe! These Vanilla Cupcakes are easy to make, moist, and bake up beautifully every time! Light, fluffy and flavorful! Got the baking bug? Try my Lemon Cupcakes and Chocolate Cupcakes too!

single vanilla cupcake on white cupcake stand with purple liner and pastel sprinkles text overlay at top

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes 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.

vanilla cupcakes frosted with pastel sprinkles two cupcakes sitting on white cake stands with two more cupcakes sitting below them

The BEST Vanilla Cupcakes 

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….

three vanilla cupcakes on white cupcake stands with purple cupcake liners and vanilla frosting

I am SO happy to share the results of my many experiments! These cupcakes were absolutely delicious and I 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. 

Ingredients Needed

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.

  • 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)

top down view of vanilla cupcakes with white frosting and pastel sprinkles

How To Make Vanilla Cupcakes

  1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2.  In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
  3.  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.
  4.  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.
  5.  The batter will be thin.   Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.
  6.  Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes.
  7.  Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  8.  Frost as desired when fully cool.  I love to use my favorite Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.
  9.  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.

RECIPE UPDATES

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 in the recipe card).  

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).

Check out all of my cupcake recipes here!

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More Cupcake Recipes

  1. Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes
  2. Red Velvet Cupcakes
  3. Strawberry Cupcakes
  4. Samoa Cupcakes
  5. Chocolate Kahlua Cupcakes

How To Make Vanilla Cupcakes

single vanilla cupcake on white cupcake stand with purple liner and pastel sprinkles

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

A truly perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe! These Vanilla Cupcakes are easy to make, moist, and bake up beautifully every time! Light, fluffy and flavorful! A baking recipe that everyone should have in their back pocket, I know you'll use this cupcake recipe time and time again!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 14 mins
Total Time 34 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Calories 167 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 167kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 141mgPotassium: 31mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 68IUCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
Keyword vanilla cupcakes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

1,127 comments

  1. I made these cupcakes for my daughter’s 3rd birthday……she’s now 11 and I’m so happy I found it again!!!! I can still remember how light and fluffy they were 🙂 excited to explore your recipes all over again!!! 

  2. I have been making these cupcakes for couple years now and they are always perfect! You really did come up the perfect vanilla cupcake!!!!!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!!

  5. 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.  

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!              
                          

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