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 208 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 16 mins
Total Time: 26 mins
Serves: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 209kcal


  • 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)


  • Stand Mixer
  • Paddle Attachment
  • Whisk Attachment


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.


  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. 


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%)
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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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