The perfect vanilla cupcake recipe makes a cupcake that is light, fluffy, moist and has a perfect dome
I think this is the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe because it’s everything you want a cupcake to be. Lots of flavor in a little bite. The buttermilk adds a wonderful tang and the cupcake is so moist, I may have ate a couple without any frosting!
Why this is the best vanilla cupcake recipe ever!
I seriously LOVE LOVE LOVE this vanilla cupcake recipe because it’s so versatile! You can combine it with strawberry buttercream to make strawberry shortcake cupcakes. You can frost them with some yummy chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream if fruit isn’t your thing. For lemon lovers, try filling your cupcakes with some lemon curd in piping bag and topping with fresh stabilized whipped cream!
You can add spices to the batter and make them into spice cake or you add a little lemon zest and some blueberries. This is seriously the most versatile cupcake recipe. I love it!
How to make moist vanilla cupcakes
The best way to make your cupcake recipe moist is the addition of a little oil. Oil keeps your cupcakes from drying out but if you add too much oil it can cause your liners to pull away from the cupcake after baking.
The buttermilk in this vanilla cupcake recipe also makes the cupcakes very moist. Buttermilk is acidic and actually breaks down the gluten in the flour, for a more tender cupcake.
How to make a fluffy vanilla cupcake
If your vanilla cupcake recipe is too dense, the problem might be that your leavening (baking powder and soda) are off. Make sure they aren’t expired. Following the mixing method is also super important. If you’re used to making boxed mix cupcakes you might only be familiar with the one bowl method but most scratch recipes require a specific type of mixing for the ultimate fluffy cupcake. My vanilla cupcake recipe uses the reverse mixing method.
How full should I fill my cupcake liners?
I use a size 20 scoop for my cupcake liners. It fills them about 2/3 of the way full so they are full enough that they have a slight dome but not over-flowing. You might be tempted to fill your liners all the way to the top but not only can that cause your cupcakes to overflow or stick to the edges of your cupcake pan, causing the cupcakes to tear when you remove them from the pan.
If you don’t have a size #20 cupcake scoop you can estimate. One cupcake should have about 3 Tablespoons of batter in the tin.
Common cupcake problems and how to solve them
Why are my cupcakes flat? You might be baking at too low of a temperature. Baking at 350ºF helps the cupcakes rise faster and set’s the dome.
Why do my cupcake liners pull away after baking? It could be that your recipe has too much liquid, oil or that your liners are not grease-proof. Your liners can also pull away if you are storing your cupcakes in a closed container and the moisture causes them to pull away.
Why are my cupcakes sticky? If you cover your cupcakes with plastic wrap or put them in a container before they are completely cooled, condensation will collect on top of the cupcake and make it soggy.
Why do my cupcakes shrink? Cupcakes can shrink from over-mixing your batter, over-baking or too much fat/liquid in the recipe
Check out these yummy frosting recipes to go with your vanilla cupcakes!
Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
- Stand Mixer
- Paddle Attachment
- Whisk Attachment
- 10 oz cake flour
- 10 oz granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 4 oz vegetable oil
- 5 oz buttermilk room temperature or slightly warm
- 4 oz butter unsalted and softened
- 2 tsp vanilla
Vanilla Frosting Recipe
- 24 ounces unsalted butter softened
- 24 ounces powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces pasteurized egg whites
- 1 tiny drop purple food coloring (optional for whiter frosting)
Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
- NOTE: It is SUPER IMPORTANT that all the room temperature ingredients listed above are room temperature and measured by weight so that the ingredients mix and incorporate correctly. Heat oven to 350º F
- Prepare your cupcake pan with cupcake liners
- Combine the buttermilk and vanilla and set aside
- Combine the oil and eggs. Whisk to break up the eggs. Set aside.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low to combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Add in your milk mixture and let mix until dry ingredients are moistened and then bump up to med (setting 4 on my KitchenAid) and let mix for 1 1/2 minutes to develop the cupcake's structure. If you don't let your cake mix on this step your cake could collapse.
- Scrape your bowl and then reduce speed to low. Add in your egg mixture in three batches, letting the batter mix for 15 seconds between additions.
- Scrape down the sides again to make sure everything is incorporated the pour into prepared cupcake liners. Bake 16-20 minutes until the edges just begin to brown and the center bounces back when you touch it.
- Let cupcakes cool fully before frosting
Vanilla Frosting Recipe
- In the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and powdered sugar on high for 1 minute
- Reduce speed to low and add in your vanilla, salt and softened butter.
- Increase speed to high and let the frosting whip until it's light, white and fluffy. Give it a taste, if it still tastes buttery, keep mixing. This can take 10-15 minutes. It might look curdled, keep mixing.
- Add in optional purple food coloring. Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for 15 minutes (optional) to remove air bubbles and make your buttercream super smooth.