These classic cupcakes make the perfect birthday treat to send to your kids’ classroom. You can dress them up with different frostings, fillings, and toppings for any occasion!
Forget about box cake mixes! You can bake simple vanilla cupcakes like a pro with this time-tested cupcake recipe and foolproof technique!
Why you’ll love this vanilla cupcake recipe:
Once you master this vanilla cupcake recipe, you’ll be able to create endless variations of cupcakes with different flavors and designs!
- Texture: These cupcakes have an unbelievably soft and fluffy texture with perfectly even crumbs and a smooth flat surface.
- Flavor: Nothing but boring, these cupcakes are infused with buttery sweet vanilla flavor using a whole vanilla bean. These cupcakes are also not as sweet as most cupcakes!
- Technique: The secret to the perfect cupcakes lies in the mixing technique that ensures perfectly light and fluffy cupcakes every time!
You’ll be so proud to serve these cupcakes to your family and friends. So, let’s get to baking!
I can’t take credit for this amazing recipe. The queen of cupcakes, CupcakeJemma on Youtube, is the creator of this vanilla cupcake recipe. She is the one who deserves all the credit. And you definitely want to check out her video where she demonstrates the technique. I made tiny little adjustments to fit my American ingredients.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- All-purpose flour works perfectly for these cupcakes. I wanted to keep this recipe simple with everyday ingredients and the best part it doesn’t sacrifice the fluffy texture!!
- Sugar – The amount of sugar is crucial for not only sweetening the cupcakes, but also for proper texture! I promise it’s not overly sweet cupcake.
- Eggs – Be sure to use room temperature eggs so it’s easier to incorporate into the batter. Cold eggs will cause the batter to separate, affecting the texture of the cupcakes.
- Butter – I recommend unsalted butter, so you can control the flavor. If using salted butter, omit the salt. Make sure to bring the butter to room temperature before making this recipe. It shouldn’t be soft and greasy thought!
- Milk – Any type of milk will work. I use whole or 2% milk. But any non-dairy or dairy milk will work just fine. Make sure it’s not cold.
- Vanilla – I like to use combination of vanilla extract and vanilla bean. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the vanilla seeds. It enhances vanilla flavor and adds beautiful vanilla specks! You may also use vanilla paste instead for the same effect!
How to make this cupcake recipe:
- In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients for a few seconds.
- Add butter and eggs and mix on low speed first. Then gradually increase the speed to medium high and whip for 1 minute.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and add milk and vanilla. And whip for another 30 seconds on medium-high speed.
Notice how fluffy the batter is! ☝️
- Now, using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. (It’s about 3 tablespoons of batter per cupcake.)
- Bake for 20-22 minutes at 350°F, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
If you end up short on the batter to fill up 12 cupcakes, it means your batter was not whipped long enough.
3 Tips for Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes:
1. Proper butter consistency
It’s crucial to use room-temperature butter. But what exactly does that mean?
The room temperature butter is not the same as softened butter, which is greasy and soft.
The proper room temperature butter feels colder to the touch (around 68°F), has a slight resistance when pressed with a finger leaving a dent, but doesn’t sink.
What happens if you use too soft, or too hard butter?
- With too soft butter, you’ll get cupcakes with large air pockets, collapsed top due to excessive rise during baking, and shrinking as it cools.
- When you use too cold butter, on other hand, the butter doesn’t incorporate properly into the batter and therefore the batter doesn’t have enough volume, making fewer cupcakes. Also, these cupcakes are greasy and dense with a volcano-like eruption in the middle. And who wants that?
2. Just enough mixing duration
It takes less than 2 minutes to mix the batter! And don’t be afraid to bump up the speed. I set my KitchenAid stand mixer to speed 8 and it’s perfect!
- The under-mixed batter doesn’t have enough volume, thus yielding fewer cupcakes. The baked cupcakes are greasy with a hard crust on the outside with a tall dome.
- Over-mixing the batter incorporates too much air and yields an almost souffle-like rise during baking, then the cupcakes collapse and shrink as they cool, leaving a well in the middle. Sad!
3. Perfect oven temperature
Did you know that it’s common for ovens to range up to 50°F up or down? Crazy, huh? And that’s why I always recommend getting an oven thermometer to check the accuracy of your oven.
Ok, let’s see what happens if the oven is too hot or not hot enough.
- Too hot oven: The cupcakes come out dark brown color, with very little rise with a spiked dome on top and dry crumbs. Imagine how hard it’d be to eat that? No, thanks!
- Too low oven temperature: The cupcakes bake longer, naturally, yet they still come out pretty pale with overflowed sunken top and too soft damp crumbs.
Best Frosting for Cupcakes:
Now, these vanilla cupcakes pair perfectly with many frostings. Chocolate, salted buttercream, vanilla Swiss buttercream, you name it!
Here’re just a few of my favorites:
- Classic cream cheese frosting – It’s my go-to frosting of all time!!
- Vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream is my next favorite buttercream. Not overly sweet, it’s a perfect complement for vanilla cupcakes!
- Salted caramel buttercream is simply divine!!! The name says it all.
- Strawberry whipped cream frosting is a light and fruity option. It pipes beautifully and surprisingly sturdy!!!
- Chocolate mousse frosting is perfect frosting if you’re in the mood for a chocolate twist!
How to store cupcakes:
- Store cooled plain cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
- Plain cupcakes freeze well too! Put the completely cooled cupcakes in a freezer bag in a single layer. This is optional, but I like to place the bagged cupcakes in an airtight container before placing them in the freezer. Freeze the cupcakes for up to 3 months.
- Thaw frozen cupcakes in the fridge overnight.
- Frosted cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator. I love using a cupcake pan with a lid for storing frosted cupcakes.
Hope you’ll try this recipe. I know it’ll be your one-and-only vanilla cupcake recipe. Enjoy!
The BEST Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour Note 1
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 stick (114g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1.5 tablespoon milk at room temperature Note 2
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 whole vanilla bean Note 3
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for 10 seconds to combine.
- Add butter and eggs into the dry ingredients and start mixing on low speed, then increase the speed to medium high and mix for 1 minute.
- Then reduce the speed to low and pour in milk and vanilla extract. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides with a silicone spatula and then run the mixer on medium high speed again and mix for another 30 seconds.
- Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter between 12 cupcake tins, lined with cupcake liners. (No need to grease the liners.)
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely on wire rack and then frost with your favorite frosting. In this case, I used my favorite cream cheese frosting.
Tips & Notes:
Note 2: Any type of milk will work. I use whole or 2% milk. But any non-dairy or dairy milk will work just fine. Make sure it’s not cold. Note 3: I like to use a combination of vanilla extract and vanilla bean. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the vanilla seeds. It enhances the vanilla flavor and adds beautiful vanilla specks! You may also use vanilla paste instead for the same effect! Storing Tips:
– Store cooled plain cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
– Plain cupcakes freeze well too! Put the completely cooled cupcakes in a freezer bag in a single layer. This is optional, but I like to place the bagged cupcakes in an airtight container before placing them in the freezer. Freeze the cupcakes for up to 3 months.
– Thaw frozen cupcakes in the fridge overnight.
– Frosted cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator. I love using a cupcake pan with a lid for storing frosted cupcakes.
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