Vanilla Cupcakes

A good classic vanilla cupcake recipe is something that everyone should have in their recipe box. These Vanilla Cupcakes are delicate, moist and full of buttery vanilla goodness! They’re sure to be the star of just about any occasion.

This recipe is just one of my favorite vanilla cakes. If you end up enjoying this one, you may also want to try my Perfect Vanilla Cake, or—for something more dense—try my Vanilla Bean Pound Cake!

Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes on a white plate

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla is a flavor most everybody likes, which makes it a good go-to choice when deciding on a cupcake flavor. For a long time, I didn’t have a recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes that I absolutely loved, so I set out to find THE one. It took me a lot of trial and error, but I finally accomplished it with this recipe!

So what makes these cupcakes so amazing? I’m glad you asked 😉 It starts with a lot of butter, some granulated sugar and both vanilla extract and vanilla bean. The flavor is delectable, the consistency is perfect, and the frosting (which compliments the cake flavor perfectly) is divine! 

See for yourself!!

Keys to the Perfect Cupcake

Vanilla: First, let me just say that they key to delicious vanilla cupcakes is using real extract. Second, is the use of vanilla bean. I love love love Nielsen-Massey’s madagascar bourbon vanilla paste, but you can also use the inside of an actual vanilla bean too. Either way it’s an essential ingredient! 

Sour Cream & Milk: Make sure to use full fat sour cream and whole milk. I’ve tried using one or the other but found that overall, equal parts of each results in a tender and moist cupcake.

Cake Flour: Make sure to use cake flour… I know it’s another “special ingredient”, but you can use the rest of it in this pumpkin cake, these lofthouse style cookies, or these red velvet cupcakes. It makes a huge difference in the texture of these cupcakes!

Before you get started making the cupcake batter, here are some quick tips to ensure your cupcakes come out flawless:

  1. Make sure to use room temperature ingredients 
  2. Don’t overmix your batter
  3. Bake in the center of your oven
  4. Don’t let the cupcakes cool in the pan
  5. Frost the entire cupcake to help the moisture stay in

Trust us on these tips. 😉

Homemade vanilla cupcakes without frosting

How to Make Vanilla Cupcakes

PREP. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard cupcake pan with 16 liners, set aside.

BATTER. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the vanilla bean paste. With mixing speed on low, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just combined.

In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a glass measuring cup mix together sour cream and milk.

With mixing speed on low, alternate dry and wet ingredients, mix until batter is smooth and homogeneous (being careful not to over mix).

BAKE. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling each ⅔ of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when touched. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (about 25 minutes).

The Frosting

While the cupcakes are cooling you can easily whip up the frosting. The overall flavor of the frosting is just as important as flavor of the cupcakes. I mean, no one wants a delicious cupcake with less than delicious frosting, right? That’s why we’re using both vanilla extract and vanilla bean again!

COMBINE & BEAT. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste (or vanilla bean “seeds”), and salt. Beat until fluffy (2-3 minutes). With mixing speed on low, add the heavy cream, then gradually add ½ c. powdered sugar at a time until the mixture becomes soft but firm enough to hold it’s shape. Beat frosting for an additional 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Note: If the consistency is too thick, add a little more cream and beat for 30 seconds more. Taste to see if it needs more salt to balance out the sweetness of the powdered sugar.

DECORATE. When the cupcakes are cool, pipe or spread the frosting onto them. I wanted a more vintage look so I used an offset spatula to make sort of a frosting nest and then poured the sprinkles inside. It was kind of fun and it gave them a unique look that I love. Anyway, how you decorate them is totally up to you!

Classic vanilla cupcakes with frosting and rainbow sprinkles

Storage Tips

Unfrosted Cupcakes 

  • Storing: Let the cupcakes cool completely and then keep them in a container with a tight lid. Store them at room temperature, but try to frost them within 2 days.
  • Freezing: Let the cupcakes cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Place them in an airtight freezer bag. Defrost the cupcakes unwrapped within 3 months.

Frosted Cupcakes

  • Storing: Frosted cupcakes will last for 3-4 days at room temperature in an airtight container. After 3-4 days the cupcakes will start to dry out.
  • Freezing: Frosted cupcakes are a bit trickier to freeze. You need to “pre-freeze” them, this means that you need to set them on a baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour until the frosting is solidified. After that wrap the cupcakes tightly in plastic wrap. To protect the cupcakes place them in a freezer safe bag or in an airtight container. When defrosting them you need to unwrap them and bring them to room temperature.

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe with frosting and sprinkles

For more cupcake recipes, check out: 

Baking Tools & Ingredients You Will Need For This Recipe:

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

These Vanilla Cupcakes are delicate, moist and full of buttery vanilla goodness! They're sure to be the star of just about any occasion.
5 from 3 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Cupcakes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 17 mins
Total Time: 27 mins
Servings: 16 cupcakes
Calories: 393kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter - room temperature (1 stick)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste*
  • 2 eggs - room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream - room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk - room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Vanilla Buttercream
  • 2 sticks butter - room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste**
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 3 1/2-4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard cupcake pan with 16 liners, set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the vanilla bean paste. With mixing speed on low, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just combined.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a glass measuring cup mix together sour cream and milk. With mixing speed on low, alternate dry and wet ingredients, mix until batter is smooth and homogeneous (being careful not to over mix).
  • Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling each ⅔ of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when touched. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely (about 25 minutes).
For the Vanilla Buttercream
  • While cupcakes are cooling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine butter, vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Beat until fluffy (2-3 minutes). With mixing speed on low, add heavy cream, then gradually add ½ c. powdered sugar at a time until the mixture becomes soft but firm enough to hold it’s shape. Beat frosting for an additional 3 minutes until light and fluffy.If the consistency is too thick, add a little more cream and beat for 30 seconds more. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes, decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Notes

*If you can't find vanilla bean paste, scrape out the inside of 1 vanilla bean.
** Scrape the inside of 1/2 a vanilla bean for the frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 16g | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 659IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg