Last Updated on October 19, 2022 by Kathryn Donangelo
This Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe is loaded with so much vanilla flavor and is perfect for any occasion. Moist, fluffy, and topped with a simple vanilla buttercream frosting. You’ll never want to use cake mix from a box again after you try this recipe!
Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
If you’re looking for a classic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe that’s super easy and made with basic ingredients, you’ll want to save this one. These cupcakes are bursting with sweet vanilla flavor and are just as easy to make as the boxed stuff. You can make these from start to finish in just about 30 minutes so you can whip them up anytime.
Each bite is so incredibly moist, tender, and has just the right amount of sweetness. These perfect vanilla cupcakes have the same flavors of a vanilla cake in a cupcake form with a sweet and creamy frosting.
Make these cupcakes for birthday celebrations, parties, holidays, and so much more. Switch out the colorful sprinkles for holiday themed sprinkles. Use red and green sprinkles for Christmas, black and orange sprinkles for Halloween, etc..
You can’t go wrong with these bakery-style vanilla cupcakes because they will blow your mind. These might have been the best cupcakes I’ve baked from scratch yet.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Flavor: These cupcakes are so much better than boxed cake mix plus fresh is always best.
- Perfect for anytime: You can make these all year round and for any occasion especially birthday parties.
- Long lasting: You can save them for days as they will remain moist.
- Customizable: You can switch out the frosting flavors and sprinkles to customize them just how you want.
- Portable: You can easily bring these to a potluck, picnic, party, or wherever you go. Just pack them up and you’ll be good to go!
- Flour: All-purpose flour is what we use. Spoon and level the flour when measuring it. Be sure not to scoop it out of the bag using the measuring cup. This way, you won’t accidentally measure out too much. You could use whole wheat if you wanted to make these cupcakes on the healthier side.
- Baking powder + baking soda: Makes these cupcakes rise and get puffy.
- Salt: Just a pinch to balance out the sweetness.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is best so you can control the saltiness. Be sure the butter is at room temperature so it incorporates into the other ingredients.
- Vegetable Oil: Use a neutral flavored oil such as vegetable or canola oil. The oil makes these cupcakes extra moist and rich. You just need a few tablespoons.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar to add sweetness.
- Vanilla extract: The key ingredient. Enhances all of the flavors and adds the signature “vanilla cupcake” flavor. Pure vanilla extract is always recommended when baking.
- Eggs: You’ll need two large eggs that adds richness and helps bind the ingredients together.
- Milk: I recommend using whole milk to add richness to the cupcakes but you can also use low-fat or reduced-fat milk. Milk adds moisture to the cupcake batter making them extra soft and tender.
- Sprinkles: The best part! I love using rainbow sprinkles to top the cupcakes but you can use any of your favorite sprinkles.
How To Make Vanilla Cupcakes
Prepare Cupcake Pan: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake pan or muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
Combine Flour mixture: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
Mix Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
Add Eggs: Add each egg one at a time, beating each into the mixture.
Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients: Reduce mixer to low speed and add half of the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat together just until combined, be sure not to over-mix. Slowly add in milk and slowly beat together until the milk is absorbed, scrape down the sides of the bowl. The batter will be smooth (it’s ok if they are a few lumps).
Bake: Divide the cupcake batter into the 12 lined cupcake holes and bake for 15-18 minutes (the bake time will vary with each oven), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Frost: Let the cupcakes cool in the cupcake pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack or wire rack. Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost by hand or with a piping bag and enjoy!
Recipe Tips & Variations
- Make ahead: If you want to make these cupcakes ahead of time you can. Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe and let cool completely. Place them unfrosted in an airtight container or large heavy-duty ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 weeks. You could also refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Sprinkles: You can add any color sprinkles for different holidays and occasions. Add red and green sprinkles for Christmas, black and orange sprinkles for Halloween.
- Mini Cupcakes: Make these into miniature cupcakes by baking them in a mini cupcake pan. Adjust the baking time to 12-15 minutes.
- Frosting options: You can use any of your favorite frostings for these cupcakes. Some options are: chocolate buttercream, swiss buttercream, strawberry buttercream frosting, lemon frosting, cream cheese frosting, any canned frosting, and whipped cream.
- Gluten-free cupcakes: Swap the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour.
- Rich vanilla flavor: Add a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the batter for a deeper vanilla flavor.
Leftovers & Storage
To-store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 24 hours. After that, transfer to a refrigerator to store for 3-4 days. They may seem dry once they are chilled so it’s always best to eat them fresh. Let the cupcakes sit out for at least 5 minutes to come to room temperature before eating for the best flavor and texture
To-freeze: I don’t recommend freezing cupcakes with the frosting, however, you can freeze the baked cupcakes without the frosting for up to 3 months. When ready to frost, you can frost them frozen or you can let them thaw. Just be sure they are completely thawed before serving.
Other Cupcake Recipes
Other Popular Cake Recipes
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- Carrot Bundt Cake
- Glazed Buttermilk Donut Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
- Firecracker Cake
Can’t Get Enough
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Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 whole eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoon whole milk
To Make The Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cupcake pan with paper or silicone liners. Set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until combined.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often.
- Add in eggs one at a time, beating each into the mixture.
- Reduce mixer speed and add half of the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat together just until combined, be sure not to over-mix. Slowly add in milk and slowly beat together until the milk is absorbed, scrape down the sides of the bowl. The batter will be smooth (it's ok if theres a few lumps).
- Divide the cupcake batter into the 12 lined cupcake holes and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool in the cupcake pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling wrack. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.
To Make The Frosting:
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Beat until light, fluffy, and smooth- scraping down the sides of the bowl. If the frosting seems too thick, add more milk. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe or smear the frosting on top. Add sprinkles of your choice. Enjoy!