Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe with Oil

While I usually make cakes, everyone needs a go-to vanilla cupcake recipe. Or to be more specific, a moist vanilla cupcake recipe with oil!!

Cakes take so much time to make and decorate, but cupcakes come together in a flash!! Or at least that’s I feel about them. Because this recipe uses oil instead of butter as the fat, it can be made hand and you don’t have to bother with a stand mixer.

Cupcakes also are so much easier to eat. Cakes have to be sliced, you need plates and forks….but cupcakes? You just peel back the liner, and dive right in!

The cutest vanilla cupcake, decorated with gold leaf! Made with my one bowl vanilla cupcake recipe, which is so moist and fluffy!!

Vanilla Cupcakes Don’t Have To Be Boring

Another benefit to having an moist vanilla cupcake recipe up your sleeve? It’s the perfect starting point for so many different flavors of cupcakes!

You can add in different extracts, fillings, or frostings, and transform this base recipe into a million different cupcake flavors. 

Want a lemon cupcake? Throw in some lemon zest, and swap the vanilla extract with lemon extract!

Need to make a strawberry cupcake? Fill the center with your favorite strawberry jam, and top with a strawberry buttercream!!

See what I mean? Once you have a foundation recipe you love, it’s so easy to alter it to create whatever flavor of cupcake you want. Or if you’re gluten free, you can try my recipe for gluten free vanilla cupcakes!!

While we’re on the topic of flavors, if you’re more of a chocolate person, I highly recommend my moist chocolate cupcake recipe. It also comes together in one bowl, and is packed with chocolate flavor.

What Makes This Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe So Good

A notable ingredient in this moist vanilla cupcake recipe? It uses BUTTERMILK! I don’t know what is is, but I’m absolutely crazy about buttermilk.

I love baking with it, and use it in most of my recipes! It makes such a tender crumb, and adds so much moisture! It also gives my cupcakes a delicious tang.

image of the moist vanilla cupcakes, made with oil and cooling in baking pan before being frosted

While buttermilk can be found in most grocery stores, some parts of the country or foreign countries don’t sell it! If you’re having a hard time getting your hands on buttermilk, don’t worry.

You can make your own buttermilk! For each cup of buttermilk that the recipe calls for, use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to fill 1 cup. 

You also can use plain, low-fat yogurt as an equal substitute, cup for cup.

Don’t Worry About The Dishes: This Recipe Comes Together In One Bowl

 My absolute favorite part of this recipe? It can be made in one bowl! That’s right, you add all your ingredients into one bowl, give it a good stir, and pop these into the oven.

I hate making extra dishes, and always try to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to baking.

This recipe can also be made by hand, so no need for hand or stand mixer needed! Just a big ol’ bowl, and a wooden spoon (or at least that’s what I use)!

Don’t Forget The Frosting!!

While the texture and taste of the cupcake is very important, I’d argue that the frosting / decoration on top of the cupcake is equally important. If you have a frosting recipe you love, by all means, top these cupcakes with it!

I usually frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my vanilla buttercream. It’s definitely a sweet frosting, but it is my absolute favorite!

It only uses 5 ingredients, and is also super easy to make. I usually make it ahead of time, to make life easier!

image of unwrapped vanilla cupcake decorated with a pretty sprinkle blend

My buttercream frosting keeps in the fridge for up to a month in an airtight container. Just be sure to give it a good stir before using it, to get rid of any air bubble that may have formed while it came to room temperature. 

While I do enjoy mixing up my cupcake decorations, the frosting tip I use the most is my Wilton 1m tip (open star). This frosting tip pipes those beautiful and classic swirls that we know and love!

How To Make This Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe with Oil

Begin by preheating oven to 350°F (175°C), and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl, and gently combine with a large spoon. Pour in the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. The batter will be very thick, but that’s ok!

Next, add in the water, vanilla, eggs and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 way full.

Scooping my vanilla cupcake batter into my cupcake liners

I like to use an cookie scoop to do this, to make sure I add the same amount of batter into each cupcake liner.

I find I can make 12-14 cupcakes using this recipe, depending on slight variations between cupcake pans and liners.

Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

If you want to accelerate the cooling process, pop the pans into your freezer for about 30 minutes.

The most delicious vanilla cupcake recipe! They are so fluffy and moist!!

While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the vanilla frosting as instructed in the recipe below.

Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, add a large swirl of buttercream. I used a Wilton 1M tip, but you can use whatever you prefer!

If you don’t have any frosting tips, you can always use a ziplock bag and just trim the tip to have a 2 cm opening.

I also added a bit of gold leaf to these cupcakes to jazz them up! To do this, use a sterile paint brush to gently add the gold leaf sheets of 23k edible gold leaf

My easy vanilla cupcake recipe is so moist and fluffy!!

Tips for Making The Best Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • Properly measure your all-purpose flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients
  • Use a cookie scoop to easily fill your cupcake liners
  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better, so be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Bang your cupcake pan on the counter before putting it in the oven, to bring any air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface
  • Be sure your cupcakes are COMPLETELY cooled before you frost them! If they’re even a little bit warm, the frosting can melt right off. 

Making These Cupcakes Cake In Advance & Storage Tips:

  • Make your cupcakes in advance! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for 2 days at room temp, up to a week in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature overnight in an airtight container, but I find frosting them right before serving is best.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this moist vanilla cupcake recipe with oil, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment 🙂

Also please tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

This moist vanilla cupcake recipe with oil is insanely simple to make and equally delicious! It comes together in one bowl, and makes super moist and fluffy cupcakes!!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (162 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (4 grams)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (120 grams)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (56 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (12 grams)
  • 1 large egg, room temp (57 grams)
  • 1/2 cup water (118 grams)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (217 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  •  1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (6 grams)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (454 grams) - or a 1 lb bag
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (15 grams)

Instructions

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F (175°C), and place cupcake liners in baking pans.
  2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl, and gently combine with a large spoon or whisk.
  3. Pour in the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. The batter will be very thick, but that's how it should be!
  4. Next, add the water, vanilla, egg and vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 way full. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, pop the pans into your freezer for about 30 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream

  1.  Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
  2. Mix in the vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and salt on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
  4. Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. 
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  6. Place the buttercream in a piping bag fit with your favorite frosting tip, and pipe large swirls onto the fully cooled cupcakes.
  7. Garnish as desired, then enjoy!

Notes

Make your cupcakes in advance! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for 2 days at room temp, up to a week in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer

Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature overnight in an airtight container, but I find frosting them right before serving is best.

Nutrition Information

Yield

14 cupcakes

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 386Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 50mgSodium 211mgCarbohydrates 55gFiber 0gSugar 46gProtein 2g

151 thoughts on “Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe with Oil

  1. I made these for my girls birthday party and they were absolutely perfect!!! I was so excited to make them again.
    However since then I’ve probably made a total of 6 more batches and each one shrank up sooo small and they were very dense. The next day the tops were wet where if I were to tip it long enough the buttercream would slide off. My first thought is that now I’m overmixing? I am determined to figure it out because of how amazing they were the first time! Please help!

    1. Hi Jessica! So happy to hear you love this recipe!! Over mixing may be the culprit, or you may be adding too much flour! some times when people scoop the flour, they end up packing in more than the recipe actually calls for (by grams).

      I mix mine with a wooden spoon, and mix until the ingredients are just incorporated. Hope that helps!! <3 Let me know if you figure it out!

  2. Hi! I was looking to make almond flavored cupcakes this week and I wondered if I could substitute the vanilla extract for almond extract? I know that almond extract is super strong so should I just do 1/2 Tbsp instead of a full one like in your recipe? Thanks!!

    1. Yup, I’d say swap the vanilla extract for 1 1/2 tsp of almond extract, and you should be good to go! Happy baking Brynne <3

  3. Making these tonight for my kids lunchbox, I forgot I had no white sugar so I’ve substituted for brown sugar, and I only got 11 cupcakes from the mix from a standard pan but I think I’ve overfilled as they rise out the top haha

  4. Hey Chelsey 🙂

    I love your blog ??

    Can I have a link from your standard cupcake molds/liners ?

    My cupcake molds curl up in the baking mold, there too big.

    I just can not find the right ones and it looks awesome to you

    Sorry my english is not that good,?

    Warm greetings from Germany
    Dominique

  5. Hi Chelsea! Could I use half whole milk & half buttermilk for the recipe? Would that make the cupcakes fluffier?

    Also, how could I adjust the recipe to make a cake? I tried your vanilla cake recipe that bakes flat, but I got a few comments on the density.

  6. I really love these cupcakes! But every time I make them they come out so dense and heavy:( Is there any reason for that or how I could change it?

    1. So sorry to hear that Allison!

      If it’s dense it means you might be using too much flour (sometimes when you scoop out of a bag you end up packing a lot more flour into the cup than the recipe calls for (by weight), or you may be over mixing! Those are usually the two main culprits for dense baked goods<3 hope that helps!!?

  7. 5 stars
    I made these for my sisters baby shower recently. She doesn’t like cake but they were a part of the decoration too. I also made your small batch vanilla cake and used that as the centerpiece. I fully intended to have leftovers to bring to work work (or, I mean, eat by myself…) but my sister actually likes them so much she wanted to keep them! So I figured ok I’ll get the cake. Her husband who never eats dessert took one bite and ended up eating it in two days! It was such a big hit I’m making it for my nieces first birthday this weekend too! ???

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Aw I am so happy to hear that!! Sad that you didn’t get the leftovers, but happy they were a big hit 🙂 Your comment put the biggest smile on my face, thank you for sharing!

  8. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if I should adjust the amount of wet ingredients since I live in a prettyyyy humid country (Singapore)?? If so, which ingredients should I adjust? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Devashree!! I’d suggest using sour cream instead of buttermilk, which should work great in a humid environment! It still makes moist cupcakes, but bakes up easier in humidity. You can use the same amount the recipe calls for. Hope that helps, happy baking!

    1. Hi Allison,

      You definitely can! I’d recommend adding in the same weight of egg whites (or about 2 egg whites), and 1 or 2 tsp of almond extract (depending on how strong of an almond taste you like, and if you plan to also use almond frosting). Hope that helps, happy baking!

  9. Hi Chelsea,
    I made your peanut butter lovers cake and it was a huge hit. I would like to make peanut butter cupcakes now. Would you recommend I use the PB cake recipe, or is there a way to add PB to these vanilla cupcakes? Thanks! I love your recipes and have been tagging you on Instagram.

    1. Hi Shynade,

      So happy to hear that! I haven’t tested out adding PB into this cupcake recipe, but you could definitely fill the cupcakes with fancy peanut butter (like honey roasted peanut butter) and top them with PB frosting?! Haha that’s my best suggestion 🙂 I hope that helps, happy baking!

Let me know what you think!