Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

These amazing vanilla cupcakes get their flavor and velvety texture from the buttermilk. A soft and fluffy cupcake that is great for birthday parties, weddings, or any special occasion. This recipe makes about 24 classic vanilla cupcakes with my favorite easy vanilla buttercream.
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 30 mins
Serves: 24 cupcakes

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 a little bit of oil makes these cupcakes very 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!

I love these vanilla cupcakes because there are so many frosting options that go with this recipe. You can combine it with strawberry buttercream to make strawberry shortcake cupcakes. Or frost them with some yummy chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream. For lemon lovers, try filling your cupcakes with some lemon curd and topping them with fresh stabilized whipped cream. You can even add spices to the batter and make them into spice cake or add in sprinkles to make them funfetti cupcakes! This is seriously the best vanilla cupcake recipe.

 

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients

vanilla cupcake ingredients.Buttermilk is essential to this recipe because it adds flavor and moisture. Buttermilk is acidic and actually breaks down the gluten in the flour, making a more tender cupcake as well. If you have whole milk and white vinegar or lemons, you can make your own buttermilk substitute.

Oil is important for keeping the cupcakes moist, but too much oil in a recipe will cause the wrappers to peel away from the cupcake.

Cake flour is what makes these cupcakes extra soft and fluffy. This recipe uses the reverse creaming method, which coats the flour in a layer of butter and then whips in the air. Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour, so it’s important to use it to get the right texture. If you don’t have cake flour, you can try using my cake flour substitute recipe, or try searching for “Shipton Mills soft cake and pastry flour.”bite out of a vanilla cupcake

Making Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes

I recommend first making the vanilla cupcakes, and then making the frosting while the cupcakes are in the oven. They will need time to cool after baking, so don’t pipe frosting onto a warm cupcake.

If you’re making these for an event, it’s best to frost and fill them on the same day that you’re going to deliver and serve them.

Making Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two cupcake pans (or a muffin pan will do) with paper liners. You can also bake one pan at a time if you only have one cupcake pan. This recipe will make about 24 cupcakes.cupcake pan with white cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the vanilla and buttermilk in a separate measuring cup and set it aside. Protip – Use clear vanilla extract for that “classic grocery store cake” flavor. Use good quality vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, or even a vanilla bean for true vanilla flavor. One vanilla bean = 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. hand adding vanilla to buttermilk in a measuring cup.
  3. Next, add the eggs and oil to a separate bowl then whisk and set them aside. hand adding eggs to oil in a measuring cup.
  4. Add the cake flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. You can use a large bowl and an electric mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer, just mix for longer. Use these photos as a guide instead of mixing by time. adding flour to a stand mixer bowl.
  5. Then add the softened butter to the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on low until the mixture resembles a sandy texture. Depending on how soft your butter is, this might take a minute or two. adding butter to the mixing bowl with the flour.
  6. Pour the milk mixture into 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.hand adding the buttermilk mixture to the mixing bowl.
  7. Slowly add your egg mixture in three parts and mix on low until it’s fully combined. hand adding the egg and oil mixture to the mixing bowl.
  8. Fill your liners 2/3 of the way full with the cupcake batter. I use my kitchen scale to measure out 1.5 ounces of batter per cupcake.a cupcake scoop pouring batter into a cupcake liner.
  9. Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes or until they are just starting to turn golden brown and the center of the cupcake springs back when you lightly touch it. I rotate my cupcakes halfway through baking for even browning. If you’re making mini cupcakes, bake for less time.finished baked vanilla cupcakes in the cupcake pan.
  10. Let your cupcakes cool in the pans for five minutes, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. Place your favorite frosting into a piping bag with a tip, I like a 1M or a 2F, and pipe a swirl on top. I love using my easy vanilla buttercream and topping them with a few sprinkles. Swiss meringue buttercream or strawberry buttercream would also be delicious.plate of finished vanilla cupcakes with pink sprinkles.

Making Easy Buttercream

  1. Place the pasteurized egg whites and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Combine the ingredients on low and then whip them on high for 4-5 minutes (until shiny) to dissolve the powdered sugar.stand mixer bowl filled with meringew
  2. Now add in the salt and vanilla extract. If you want to add in any food coloring, now is the time.hand adding vanilla to powdered sugar mixture in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add in your softened butter piece-by-piece, then whip it on high. It will look curdled at first. This is definitely normal. It will also look pretty yellow, just keep whipping.adding butter to buttercream mixture
  4. After your buttercream looks like this, remove about 1 cup of buttercream and melt it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.bowl of stand mixer with frosting inside
  5. Pour it back into the whipping buttercream to bring it all together.hand pouring measuring cup of melted frosting into bowl of frosting
  6. Whip it on high for 8-10 minutes until the buttercream is white, light, and shiny. If it tastes like sweet ice cream, then it’s ready!hand holding whisk covered in frosting
  7. Finally, switch to a paddle attachment and mix the buttercream on low speed for up to 15-20 minutes to make the buttercream ultra smooth and remove any air bubbles. This step is optional, but if you want really creamy frosting, you don’t want to skip this final step.close up of mixed buttercream
  8. For extra white buttercream, add a drop of purple food coloring. The purple counteracts the yellow in the butter, toning the buttercream to make it white.side by side spoons with buttercreams to show the pure white vs regular.

Storing Vanilla Cupcakes

These cupcakes are best eaten within 24 hours of baking, and can sometimes dry out in the fridge. If you’re using a buttercream that is shelf stable, store them in an airtight container on the shelf for up to 2 days.

Baked cupcakes without frosting can be frozen in ziplock bags for up to 6 months.

If you’re using a fruit filling or frosting that isn’t shelf stable, it’s best to refrigerate them after about 4 hours. I love filling these cupcakes with fresh homemade raspberry filling.

finished raspberry filling in a mason jar.

Tips For Baking From Scratch

*This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click on them I might get a few pennies.

I suggest purchasing a kitchen scale if you don’t already have one to make the best scratch recipes. One cup of flour can vary from scoop to scoop depending on how packed the flour is and the humidity in your area. Too little or too much flour can ruin your recipe, so all of my cake recipes (except doctored box mixes) use a scale.

Practice Mise en Place (everything in its place) which means you measure everything before you start mixing so you don’t accidentally forget something or add any ingredients out of order. I use a set of medium and small pyrex glass bowls I got from goodwill for this and it makes things SO much easier.

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. 

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 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.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy Buttercream Frosting

Strawberry Buttercream

Lemon Curd

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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

Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

These amazing vanilla cupcakes get their flavor and velvety texture from the buttermilk. A soft and fluffy cupcake that is great for birthday parties, weddings, or any special occasion. This recipe makes about 24 classic vanilla cupcakes with my favorite easy vanilla buttercream.
4.94 from 260 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Serves: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 209kcal

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

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

Easy Buttercream Frosting Recipe

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

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Paddle Attachment
  • Whisk Attachment

Instructions

Making Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two cupcake pans (or a muffin pan will do) with paper liners. You can also bake one pan at a time if you only have one cupcake pan. This recipe will make about 24 cupcakes.
  • Combine the vanilla and buttermilk in a separate measuring cup and set it aside. 
  • Next, add the eggs and oil to a separate bowl then whisk and set them aside. 
  • Add the cake flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. You can use a large bowl and an electric mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer, just mix for longer. Use these photos as a guide instead of mixing by time. 
  • Then add the softened butter to the rest of the dry ingredients and mix on low until the mixture resembles a sandy texture. Depending on how soft your butter is, this might take a minute or two. 
  • Pour the milk mixture into 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.
  • Slowly add your egg mixture in three parts and mix on low until it's fully combined.
  • Fill your liners 2/3 of the way full with the cupcake batter. I use my kitchen scale to measure out 1.5 ounces of batter per cupcake.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes or until they are just starting to turn golden brown and the center of the cupcake springs back when you lightly touch it. I rotate my cupcakes halfway through baking for even browning. If you’re making mini cupcakes, bake for less time.
  • Let your cupcakes cool in the pans for five minutes, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Place your favorite frosting into a piping bag with a tip, I like a 1M or a 2F, and pipe a swirl on top. I love using my easy vanilla buttercream and topping them with a few sprinkles. Swiss meringue buttercream or strawberry buttercream would also be delicious.

Making Easy Buttercream

  • Place the pasteurized egg whites and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Combine the ingredients on low and then whip them on high for 4-5 minutes (until shiny) to dissolve the powdered sugar.
  • Now add in the salt and vanilla extract. If you want to add in any food coloring, now is the time.
  • Add in your softened butter piece-by-piece, then whip it on high. It will look curdled at first. This is definitely normal. It will also look pretty yellow, just keep whipping.
  • After your buttercream looks like this, remove about 1 cup of buttercream and melt it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
  • Pour it back into the whipping buttercream to bring it all together.
  • Whip it on high for 8-10 minutes until the buttercream is white, light, and shiny. If it tastes like sweet ice cream, then it’s ready!
  • Finally, switch to a paddle attachment and mix the buttercream on low speed for up to 15-20 minutes to make the buttercream ultra smooth and remove any air bubbles. This step is optional, but if you want really creamy frosting, you don’t want to skip this final step.
  • For extra white buttercream, add a drop of purple food coloring. The purple counteracts the yellow in the butter, toning the buttercream to make it white.

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. Use clear vanilla extract for that “classic grocery store cake” flavor. Use good quality vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, or even a vanilla bean for true vanilla flavor. One vanilla bean = 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. 
  4. Preheat your oven to 350ºF for 30 minutes before baking to give your cupcakes a good rise and set the dome. 
  5. Baked cupcakes can be frozen for up to 6 months.
  6. Buttermilk is essential to this recipe because it adds flavor and moisture. If you have whole milk and white vinegar or lemons, you can make your own buttermilk substitute.
  7. Cake flour is what makes these cupcakes extra soft and fluffy. If you don’t have cake flour, you can try using my cake flour substitute recipe, or try searching for “Shipton Mills soft cake and pastry flour.”

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
    Hi Liz! Can we turn this into a Lemon buttermilk cupcake? How would we do that? Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    THESE ARE THE BEST VANILLA CUPCAKES I HAVE EVER MADE AND EATEN! Going to try make them with a lemon-y twist today.

  3. 5 stars
    Made these cupcakes today and they are heavenly!! If I want to double the recipe should I also double the mixing time to 3 mins on step 6? Thanks!

    1. Hi! Thank you, no need to double the time. Just mix for 1 1/2-2 minutes.

  4. 5 stars
    These turned out great! I’ve tried quite a few vanilla cupcake recipes recently and this is the one I’ve been searching for. The texture is perfect and the cupcake is just the right amount of sweet. I’ll be saving this one for future use!

  5. 5 stars
    Hey Liz,
    All the way from sunny Africa here, to thank you on the most delicious cupcakes. Know that your kindness in sharing your recipes is bringing smiles to people around the globe.
    My search is finally over.
    I made these yesterday for a friend s luncheon and they were a big hit. I will now be signing up for your decoration course to up my game even further. A big Hug from me.

  6. Can I use a cup for cup gf flour as a substitute?

  7. 4 stars
    Hi. I’m a little confused about the liquid ingredients. They are given in both grams and ounces. Is that fluid ounces or by physical weight.

  8. Hi Liz….. can i store these cupcakes in the fridge for 2 days? and will they still be fresh for another 2 or 3 days?
    if yes, then could you please tell me how to store them. I plan on turning these into Tiramisu cupcakes for a party and make them a day or two ahead

    I just love love love your white cake recipe…i left a review there too….( i usually don’t unless Im super happy with it.)
    I’ve been struggling to temper chocolate correctly but then i am using chocolate chips may be if i use someother chocolate i would have better luck with tempering….

    thank you so much for your recipes… i just wish i knew how to store the frosted cupcakes without drying them out

    1. No these would not do well in the fridge for any amount of time. Freeze them if you aren’t going to use them right away to preserve the moisture.
      Try using a chocolate bar cut into small chunks not chips.

  9. Can I substitute the cake flour for ap flour? if so, is there a special measurement?

    1. Hi! This recipe needs cake flour because the mixing method for this is very specific, and if you use AP flour it could turn out with a cornbread-like consistency.

  10. 5 stars
    Liz, I freaking love you and every single recipe of yours that I have tried. I just made these in a seriously desperate attempt to finally find an amazing vanilla cupcake recipe and this is IT. I made these strawberry, with the addition of 1c strawberry drink powder AND I doubled the recipe and had zero issues. This. Is. The. Best. Paired with your insanely easy, delicious buttercream, this is truly the perfect cupcake. THANK YOU!

  11. 5 stars
    I will never visit one Michigan’s top bakeries again for cupcakes! Simply the best I have ever eaten or made in my whole entire life! Thank you for blessing the world with this phenomenal recipe. These cupcakes were beyond moist, flavorful, with a buttery, but not greasy delicate crumb! Amazing!

  12. 5 stars
    Hi, I was wondering if I could make the frosting tonight and store it in the fridge and remix it a little to pipe tomorrow morning?

    1. For sure, it will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for 6 months. I like to microwave about 1/2 cup of the frosting until it’s just melted, and pour it back into the whipping frosting to make it extra creamy the next day.

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