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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.
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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%)