While I usually make cakes, everyone needs a go-to easy vanilla cupcake recipe. 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.
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!
Vanilla Cupcakes Don’t Have To Be Boring
Another benefit to having an easy 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.
While we’re on the topic of flavors, if you’re more of a chocolate person, I highly recommend my moist chocolate cake recipe. It also comes together in one bowl, and is packed with chocolate flavor.
What Makes This Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe So Good (and MOIST!)
A notable ingredient in this 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.
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!
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 Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
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.
I like to use an ice cream 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 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 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.
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.
Before you go to town and whip up a batch of these delicious cupcakes, I have a few tips to help make sure your cupcakes turn out the very best they can:
- This easy vanilla cupcake recipe can be made in advance! They freeze very well, and can be made up to 2 weeks in advance if stored in an airtight container. I recommend waiting to frost and decorate them until the day you plan to serve them. They should come to room temperature within a couple hours.
- Be sure your ingredients are at room temperature! It helps them combine easier, and bake more evenly
- Don’t overmix your batter! If you make this batter by hand, it’s almost impossible to overmix it. But if you use a hand or stand mixer, be sure to mix on a low speed, and to only mix until the ingredients are combined
- Your cupcakes need to be COMPLETELY cooled before you frost them! If they’re even a little bit warm, the frosting can melt right off.
If you try this recipe, please tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations!
- 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 (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)
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (454 grams) - or a 1 lb bag
- 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (15 grams)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)
- 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 how it should be!
- Next, add in the water, vanilla, egg and vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together.
- Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 way full. Bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- 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.
- Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
- Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
- 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).
- Place the buttercream in a piping bag fit with your favorite frosting tip, and pipe large swirls onto the fully cooled cupcakes.
- Garnish as desired, then enjoy!
This recipe can also be used to make mini cupcakes! This recipe makes about 40 mini cupcakes, which only need to bake for 9-10 minutes.
Amount Per Serving Calories 386 Total Fat 18g Saturated Fat 9g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 8g Cholesterol 50mg Sodium 211mg Carbohydrates 55g Fiber 0g Sugar 46g Protein 2g