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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 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!

image of moist vanilla cupcake made with oil decorated with edible gold leaf

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.

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.

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!

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 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.

Scooping my vanilla cupcake batter into my cupcake liners

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.

closeup image of moist vanilla cupcakes made with oil that aren't frosted yet

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 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:

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

image of vanilla cupcake decorated with edible gold leaf

This vanilla cupcake recipe with oil is insanely easy to make! It comes together in one bowl and makes the most tender, moist 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 (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)

Recommend Equipment

Instructions

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F / 175°C and line a muffin pan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. 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.

Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Beat 1/2 cup of room-temperature butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment until smooth.
  2. Mix in 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp fine salt on a low speed.
  3. 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.
  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 (1/4 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. Decorate as desired, then enjoy!

Notes

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.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 301Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 40mgSodium 235mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 0gSugar 31gProtein 2g

Lamiah

Thursday 15th of September 2022

Love this recipe! Thank you!:)

Chelsweets

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Yay!! So happy to hear that Lamiah, thank you for sharing :)

Kaylee

Wednesday 14th of September 2022

Hi! I see the layer cake recipe you recommend instead, but it has a ton of eggs. Is there a version of these cupcakes without them or do you think I could just double this recipe? I’m really sensitive to smells, and I swear I can taste/smell the egg in vanilla cakes and it creeps me out. That’s why I love these cupcakes, because the one egg isn’t noticeable.

Chelsweets

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Hi Kaylee,

No worries! I have a vegan vanilla cake recipe that doesn't use any eggs you might like? Here's the link: https://chelsweets.com/vegan-funfetti-cake/

Hope that helps!

Althea

Saturday 10th of September 2022

Hello I am loving your recipes thank you. To make this yellow do I just add the yolks to the eggs?? What flavor extract would you use for a yellow cake? Butter extract?

Chelsweets

Sunday 11th of September 2022

Hi Althea,

I'm so happy to hear that!! You are totally right, yellow cake is usually made with extra egg yolks and uses butter as the fat. This recipe is actually a little challenging to convert into a yellow cake cupcake, but here is an amazing yellow cake cupcake recipe: https://iambaker.net/perfect-yellow-cupcakes-with-amazing-chocolate-buttercream/

Hope that helps, happy baking!

Tika

Saturday 13th of August 2022

Hi chels, what is the size of the cupcake liners in cm?

Chelsweets

Sunday 14th of August 2022

Hi Tika,

They are about 6.5cm across, and these are the ones I use! I order them on amazon: https://amzn.to/3Qsr3SE

Hope that helps, happy baking!

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[…] do NOT recommend using this recipe to make cupcakes! Instead, I highly recommend trying my vanilla cupcake recipe (I like the texture better for […]

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