Moist & Fluffy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

These amazing vanilla cupcakes get their flavor and velvety texture from buttermilk. A soft and fluffy cupcake that is great for any special occasion. This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 26 mins
Serves: 24 cupcakes
vanilla cupcake

This moist and fluffy vanilla cupcake recipe is everything you want a cupcake to be. Light and fluffy with lots of flavor in a little bite! The buttermilk adds a wonderful tang and the cupcake is so moist, I may have eaten a couple without any frosting! If you like my white velvet buttermilk cake or my vanilla cake, you will love these cupcakes! closeup of vanilla cupcake with light blue frosting

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 a piping bag and topping them with fresh stabilized whipped cream!

Add spices to the batter and make them into spice cake or add a little lemon zest and some blueberries. You can even add in sprinkles and make them funfetti cupcakes! This is seriously the most versatile cupcake recipe.

Ingredients Needed

vanilla cupcake ingredients

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. 

Protip – A little bit of oil in this recipe helps keep the cupcakes moist but too much oil in a recipe will cause the wrappers to peel away from the cupcake. This can also happen from too much liquid in the recipe. 

How To Make Moist Vanilla Cupcakes Step-By-Step

Be sure to check out the video below of my daughter Avalon showing how easy it is to make this vanilla cupcake recipe.

Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature or even a tiny bit on the warm side. I warm my milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. The butter should be soft enough to live an indent in it when you press it but firm enough that it’s still holding its shape. Place your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes to warm them up. 

I use a scale to measure all my ingredients so that the recipe turns out perfect every single time. Learn more about why I use a kitchen scale for my recipes in this blog post

Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line two cupcake pans (or a muffin pan will do) with paper cupcake liners. You can also bake one pan at a time if that’s all you have. 

paper cupcake liners in a cupcake pan

Step 2 – Add your vanilla to the milk and set it aside. 

milk and vanilla in clear measuring cup shot from above

Step 3 – Combine the eggs with the oil and give them a gentle whisk to break up the eggs. Set them aside. 

Protip – Use clear vanilla extract for that “classic grocery store cake” flavor. Use real vanilla extract for a true vanilla flavor or even a vanilla bean! One vanilla bean = 2 tsp vanilla extract. 

eggs whisked with vanilla

Step 4 – Combine the sugar, baking soda, flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment attached. You can use a large bowl and an electric mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer, you’ll just have to mix for longer. Use these photos as a guide for mixing instead of mixing by time. 

cupcake ingredients in clear mixing bowl

Step 5 – Add in your softened butter and mix on low until the flour mixture resembles a sandy texture. Depending on how soft your butter is, this might take a minute or two. 

mixing cupcake ingredients

Step 6 – Add in the milk mixture to your dry ingredients and increase the speed to medium (speed 4 on a KitchenAid, speed 2 on a bosch). Mix for 1 1/2 minutes to develop the fluffy structure of the cupcake. The batter will go from being yellow to a fluffy white. You can use a hand mixer for this step if that’s all you have. 

mixing dry and wet cupcake ingredients together
fluffy cupcake batter

Step 7 – While mixing on low, add in 1/3 of your egg mixture. Let it combine fully then add in half of the remaining mixture, let it mix in fully then add in the rest. Mix until just combined. 

mixing cupcake ingredients in mixing bowl

Step 8 – Fill your cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full for the best rise. I use my kitchen scale to measure my batter. 1.5 ounces of batter per cupcake liner is perfect for my oven and elevation but I have mixed results in other ovens so find out what works best for you and stick with it. Baking at a high elevation? Check out my high altitude baking hacks

adding cupcake batter to cupcake pan on scale

Step 9 – Let the cupcakes bake for 15-16 minutes or until they are just starting to turn golden brown and the center of the cupcake springs back when you lightly touch it with your finger. I rotate my cupcakes halfway through baking for even browning. A toothpick inserted will leave a hole and could collapse your cupcake. If you’re making mini cupcakes, bake for less time.

cupcakes in cupcake pan

Step 10 – Let your cupcakes cool for five minutes then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely before you frost them! I love using my easy vanilla buttercream frosting but you can use any kind of frosting that you like! I used a piping bag and 15mm star piping tip.

piping frosting onto vanilla cupcake

 Tips for success and FAQ

Why are my cupcakes flat?

You might be baking at too low of a temperature. Baking at 350ºF makes the cupcake nice and fluffy and set’s the dome. Baking at too low of a temperature will make your cupcakes flat. Not sure what your oven temperature is? You can get an oven thermometer to calibrate the temperature of your oven. 

How do you make a fluffy vanilla cupcake recipe? 

The secret to fluffy cupcakes is enough baking powder to really get that high rise and higher oven temperature to create a lot of lift and to set the dome of the cupcake. Too much liquid in your cupcakes or over-filling your liners can cause them to collapse. 

Why do my cupcake liners pull away after baking? I

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. 

Can you add flavor to this vanilla cupcake recipe?

You can easily change the flavor of these cupcakes from vanilla to lemon or spice by replacing the extract and adding in things like spices or zest. You can also add in up to 1/4 cup of any dry ingredient like sprinkles, crushed Oreos, or fruit without changing the recipe. 

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

Can you freeze cupcakes?

Cupcakes can be frozen in ziplock bags for up to 6 months. 

What can I use instead of buttermilk?

Sour cream or milk mixed with a tablespoon of vinegar make great buttermilk substitutes. Be sure to check out my buttermilk blog post for more substitutes.

Easy Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Ganache
White Velvet Cake
Chocolate Cupcakes 

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
vanilla cupcake

Moist & Fluffy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

These amazing vanilla cupcakes get their flavor and velvety texture from buttermilk. A soft and fluffy cupcake that is great for any special occasion. This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.
4.97 from 207 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 16 mins
Total Time: 26 mins
Serves: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 209kcal

Ingredients

  • 10 oz (284 g) cake flour
  • 9 oz (255 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 2 tsp (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1/4 tsp) baking soda
  • 2 large (2 large) eggs room temperature
  • 4 oz (114 g) vegetable oil
  • 5 oz (142 g) buttermilk room temperature or slightly warm
  • 4 oz (114 g) butter unsalted and softened
  • 2 tsp (2 tsp) vanilla

Vanilla Frosting Recipe

  • 24 ounces (680 g) unsalted butter softened
  • 24 ounces (680 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (170 g) pasteurized egg whites
  • 1 tiny drop purple food coloring (optional for whiter frosting)

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Paddle Attachment
  • Whisk Attachment

Instructions

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.
    Preheat the 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. 
    You can use a large bowl and an electric mixer if you don't have a stand mixer, just have to mix for longer. Use these photos above as a guide for mixing instead of mixing by time. 
  • 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 2/3 full or 1.5oz batter per cupcake. Bake 16-20 minutes until the edges just begin to brown and the center bounces back when you touch it. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
  • Let your cupcakes cool for five minutes then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely before you frost them! I love using my easy vanilla buttercream frosting but you can use any kind of frosting that you like! I used a piping bag and 15mm star piping tip.

Vanilla Buttercream 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.

Notes

  1. For the best rise, fill your liners 2/3 with cupcake batter or 1 1/2 ounces per cupcake
  2. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before mixing your batter (milk, butter, eggs). 
  3. Preheat your oven to 350ºF for 30 minutes before baking to give your cupcakes a good rise and set the dome. 
  4. Baked cupcakes can be frozen for up to 6 months. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 209kcal (10%) | Carbohydrates: 25g (8%) | Protein: 2g (4%) | Fat: 11g (17%) | Saturated Fat: 7g (35%) | Cholesterol: 16mg (5%) | Sodium: 198mg (8%) | Potassium: 93mg (3%) | Sugar: 14g (16%) | Vitamin A: 195IU (4%) | Calcium: 40mg (4%) | Iron: 0.2mg (1%)
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @SugarGeekShow or tag #SugarGeek!
 

174 comments on “Moist And Fluffy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe for the first time last weekend and it was pretty amazing! Could I use this recipe to make some cookies and cream cupcakes?

  2. Hi there it’s says butter in the recipe but there is no step to add it in. Can you let me know if buyer doesn’t go in the cupcake batter?

  3. Hi could you tell me if you have a sugargeekscook book for the cake’s as I would love a one for a gift
    thank you

  4. How does it work to bake them a day before you frost them, and how should I store them until then? I’m wanting to bake them today and decorate them tomorrow for my daughter’s birthday party.

  5. Thanks, I’ll give it a try. I’m excited to see how they turn out! I put sprinkles in the batter also to make it more fun. 😉

  6. Do you use full fat buttermilk in this recipe or low-fat?

  7. Hi Liz ! I did your vanilla cake for my goddaughter wedding and it was amazing, thank you ! For your vanilla cupcakes can I use plain yogurt instead of the buttermilk?

  8. 5 stars
    Hi Liz ! I’m a big fan of your work and very appreciative that you joyfully share your baking wisdom. You crack me up many a video. I was wondering… if using Greek yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk, should I thin it out with a little milk to achieve same consistency? And I’ve read that most buttermilk produced today is actually cultured so wouldn’t using yogurt actually be a better substitute than the commonly recommended milk with lemon juice which is just acidified milk and not cultured ? Thank you in advance.

    1. You don’t need to thin it out. The only thing we’re really concerned about in baking is acidity. Whether it’s cultured or not doesn’t really matter.

  9. 5 stars
    Hi Chef Liz! I am new in baking and I learned a lot of techniques in your tutorials. Grateful and lucky to come across your youtube videos…since then I’ve been watching you. I love all your videos its easy and very enticing…this video for one…I love the aroma of vanilla and its fluffiness and oohhh so moist. 💗🥰 Thank you for all the videos for the newbies like me.

  10. Hi, hope you are well. Can I make my own buttermilk and if so, what is the ratio please?
    Thank you ☺️

  11. 5 stars
    Awesome cupcakes! Turned out moist and fluffy…as advertised and always with SugarGeek’s recipes.

    Two questions:

    1. You state this makes 24 cupcakes, this made 12 in my standard muffin tin. My liners with about 7/8 full.
    2. My cupcakes rose and then flattened out so they the muffin tops were stuck to the pan making the cupcakes hard to remove from the pan. Is there anything to do to stop this?

    1. Sounds like you just over-filled your pans. I put 1 1/2 ounces of batter in each cupcake liner. Muffin tins are twice as big as cupcakes tins so you can see why you only got 12.

  12. 5 stars
    Hi😊 I absolutelly adore all your recipies. I baked vanilla cupcakes and banana cake today. Banana cake came out perfect but had few issues with cupcakes. I loved the texture of the cupcakes, they were light, moist and fluffy but have two issues:
    1). The cupcakes came out very sweet…a little bit too sweet for me. Is it something I did wrong or they just on the sweeter side? Can I increase the salt to 1tsp next time or will they be too sweet?
    2). The first batch of cupcakes, I baked at 170C for around 20 minutes and they were baked but turned out crispy on top and more golden than in your pictures. When they were just light browned on the edges, they were not baked inside yet. For the second batch, I reduced the heat to 160C, they were less crispy on top but browned to much before they were done🤔 Any advise would be highly appreciated😘

    1. I have actually noticed that when I bake my cupcakes in a toaster oven type oven they get brown a lot faster even though the temp is the same. Maybe try moving them further away from the top of the oven if possible. The sugar helps them to be very moist but you could remove 2 ounces of sugar and they would still be ok, just maybe not quite as fluffy and soft

  13. Thank you for your reply. I actually left the cupcakes in the air tight container over night and the crispy top has disappeared! They are soft on top and lovely.

    Also, I tasted them yesterday when they were still warm from the oven and they tasted much sweeter but when I tasted them today they tasted just right👌👌👌 Weird right?🤔
    Anyway, I wanted to say a huge thank you! This cupcakes are trully perfect! I have been looking for a perfect vanills cupcakes for such a long time and those ones are just amazing😍

  14. Hi Liz, I’m sorry if you’ve been asked this 100 times but I’m in the UK and we don’t have cake flour. Do you know if it’s plain flour that we should use, ie the one with no added raising agents? Thank you!

  15. I tried this and when I slightly left my buttermilk to warm. It curdled. I tried second time with vinegar and milk and then left in a pot of warm water and curdled again but I used it anyhow . But I haven’t still eatten them after baking . I hope they’ll be good. My batter turned runny too at the end ☹️ and I felt a gush of disappointment. I don’t know why it happened. It was not like your scoopable batter . I had to pour.

    1. Curdled buttermilk is not a problem. The texture of the batter depends on how warm your ingredients are. You haven’t done anything wrong.

  16. i made the cupcakes over the weekend and the taste was very good. My only problem was that my cupcake liners did pull away badly. You mentioned, one of the reason is we shouldnt store the cupcake liners in a container, may I know why? because i actually did that and is there a way to save the cupcake liners or I have to buy new ones? thanks

    1. In my experience, storing liners in containers stretch them out (stacking them on top of each other) so that when you bake, the liners pull away.

  17. Good afternoon! I can’t wait to try this recipe, I just had one question. The cake flour says 10 oz ang the sugar says 9 oz yet in grams they both say to weigh out 284 gr. Which one is correct for the sugar. 9 oz or 284 gr which is 10 oz?

  18. Is there going to be extra icing after decorating the cupcakes. If so can I cut the recipe in half. I’m so excited to try these. TIA

    1. It really just depends on how you make your cupcakes. The recipe is for a swirl of buttercream on each cupcake.

  19. hi liz, whats the difference between 2/3 and 3/4 cups??

    also can I halve this recipe?

    1. If an object is divided into three and you take two of those pieces, that’s 2/3. If you divide an object into 4 and you take 3 of those pieces, that’s 3/4. 2/3 is bigger than 3/4 because you are dividing the object into fewer pieces.

  20. 5 stars
    Can I add mini chocolate chips into the batter?
    Thanks!

  21. Can i add sprinkles to this recipe to make funfetti cupcakes?

  22. When I added the vanilla to the buttermilk it curdled. I use real vanilla extract and room temperature ingredients. Any idea what happened?

    PS. Your vanilla cake recipe is my favourite and the most recent version is fool proof.

  23. Do you have a metric conversion for me in Australia? Can’t wait to bake these beauties

  24. How long is the buttercream good for? Can it sit at room temperature even with the pasteurized egg whites? Thanks! I’m a huge fan of your recipes!

    1. Thanks! The easy buttercream lasts up to 2 days at room temp, 2 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. Just melt 1/4 cup in the microwave and pour it back in while re-whipping to use it again.

  25. 5 stars
    Hi Liz,

    Can I make these 24 hours ahead including the frosting ?

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