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 how I feel about them. Because this recipe uses oil instead of butter as the fat, it can be made by 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!
Vanilla Cupcakes Don’t Have To Be Boring
Another benefit to having a 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 Vanilla Cupcake Recipe Made with Oil So Good
A notable ingredient in this moist vanilla cupcake recipe? It uses BUTTERMILK! I don’t know what 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.
The Beauty of a One Bowl Recipe
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 there’s no need for a hand or stand mixer! 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 bubbles 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 the oven to 350°F / 175°C and line a muffin pan.
Whisk the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients into the opening. Whisk the wet ingredients together, then whisk them into the dry ingredients.
Mix until the batter is smooth. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full.
I like to use a cookie scoop to do this, to make sure I add the same amount of batter into each cupcake liner.
I find I can make about 12 cupcakes using this recipe, depending on slight variations between cupcake pans and liners.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
If you want to accelerate the cooling process, pop the pan into the 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.
Tips for Making The Best 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 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 of this Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
If you try this moist vanilla cupcake recipe with oil, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Leave a rating and comment below.
Tag me @chelsweets and use #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media!
Other Recipes You Might Like:
Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
This vanilla cupcake recipe with oil is insanely easy to make! It comes together in one bowl and makes the most tender, moist cupcakes!
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (160g)
- 1 cup sugar (200g)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6g)
- 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (120ml)
- 1/2 cup water, room temperature (120ml)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (60ml)
- 1 large egg, room temperature (56g)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (12ml)
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (6ml)
- 1/4 tsp fine salt (1g)
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (188g)
- 1 Tbsp heavy cream or whipping cream, room temperature (15ml)
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F / 175°C and line a muffin pan.
- Whisk 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt together into a large bowl.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add 1/2 cup of buttermilk, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 large egg, and 1 Tbsp vanilla extract into the opening. Whisk the wet ingredients together, then whisk them into the dry ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.
- Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, pop the pan into the freezer for about 30 minutes.
- Beat 1/2 cup of room-temperature butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment until smooth.
- Mix in 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp fine salt on a low speed.
- Slowly mix in 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed. Halfway through add 1 Tbsp of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
- Mix on low for a couple minutes 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 (1/4 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.
- Decorate as desired, then enjoy!
This recipe can also be used to make mini vanilla cupcakes! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, which only need to bake for 9-10 minutes.
Make these vanilla cupcakes in advance!! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for:
- 1 day at room temperature
- Up to a week in the fridge
- 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.
Amount Per Serving Calories 301Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 40mgSodium 235mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 0gSugar 31gProtein 2g
Thursday 11th of May 2023
Could I use this same recipe but put lemon extract and some lemon zest in place of vanilla to make a lemon cupcake?
Also could I add a 1/3 of a cup of sprinkles to the original batter to make confetti cupcakes? Thanks!
Sunday 14th of May 2023
You can definitely add in some lemon zest to make these lemon cupcakes! I'd leave in the vanilla extract though, it will help enhance the flavor or the lemon.
You can also add 1/3 cup of sprinkles to this recipe, or you can use my funfetti cupcake recipe: https://chelsweets.com/funfetti-cupcakes/
Hope that helps, happy baking!
Thursday 4th of May 2023
Tried this recipe today. But I whipped the egg whites and used the reverse creaming method or the biscuit method for the cupcakes.
The reason I whipped the egg white was for some volume.
However they were delicious, soft , they didn’t rise much. Since the recipe says to chug all the wet ingredients in the dry, I thought might as well try the reverse creaming method.
The cupcakes were so good but I still missed the volume so It’s not my favourite method.
Oh and I used butter.
The reason I dug up this recipe is cos I ended up mixing sugar and flour by mistake for my original muffin recipe, so that means I won’t be able to cream the butter and sugar.
Either way, thank god I didn’t have to waste that mix and still got delicious cupcakes.
Thank you ??
Monday 8th of May 2023
This recipe will turn out quite a bit different with those adjustments. I think the texture is lighter and softer with oil, which is why I like to use it instead of butter. Glad your cupcakes still taste great though, happy baking!
Monday 10th of April 2023
Can you triple the recipe?
Sunday 16th of April 2023
You can triple this recipe! Just be sure to use a large bowl so that everything gets properly mixed together. Hope that helps, happy baking!
Wednesday 5th of April 2023
Hey Chelsea! I’ve made these cupcakes so many times and they are absolutely amazing! If I wanted to make these into chocolate cupcakes could I just add 1/3 cup cocoa powder or would that totally mess it up?
Friday 7th of April 2023
Yay! I'm so happy to hear you love this recipe. If you want to use this recipe to make chocolate cupcakes I'd recommend swapping out 1/4 cup of flour for cocoa powder. If you just add cocoa powder into the batter it'll make the cupcakes bake up a bit dry / dense. Hope that helps, happy baking!
Claudia Da Rocha Pinho Nunes
Tuesday 4th of April 2023
Hi Chelsea, my cupcakes the paper is falling off, I don't understand why.
Friday 7th of April 2023
So sorry to hear that! This can be caused by a few different things, but it's usually because there's too much moisture in the batter, the cupcakes are underbaked, or if the quality of the liners isn't great. Do you think it might be one of those things? Hopefully we'll be able to figure it out together!