Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details

This Easy Vanilla Cupcake recipe makes moist vanilla cupcakes topped my my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting. This recipe uses oil instead of butter to produce a dense and sponge-like cupcake. The results are perfect cupcakes every time! 

A single vanilla cupcake in a teal polka dot liner topped with beautifully pipped vanilla buttercream and sprinkles

My Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

I think everyone needs a quick and easy cupcake recipe that they can make in a pinch. I have made many cupcakes over the years and this, my friends, is the BEST vanilla cupcakes recipe. It will definitely become your go-to.

Thousands of readers have made these cupcakes and loved the dense, sponge-like texture. These cupcakes stay moist for several days and are packed with vanilla flavor.

I topped these with a classic vanilla buttercream icing, but these would pair well with just about any type of frosting you want. 

When I say this recipe is quick and easy, it’s because this recipe uses basic panty ingredients. You can literally come home from work and have cupcakes in the oven 10 minutes later. Chances are, you can prepare this recipe faster than your can preheat the oven!

A close up shot of a moist vanilla cupcake with pretty teal sprinkles. There's a piping bag in the background.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar: The ratio of sugar to flour is very important in baked goods, so be sure to follow the recipe.
  • Vegetable oil: Oil makes these cupcakes more moist than a recipe with butter. It also makes the crumb and texture a bit more tender and tighter.
  • Whole eggs: This is a dense and spongy cupcake, so we’re using the whole egg. 
  • Pure vanilla extract: Be sure you get a high-quality REAL vanilla extract for this recipe because the vanilla is your main ingredient for flavor. 
  • Light sour cream: Sour cream helps keeps these cupcakes very moist.
  • All-purpose flour: This is not interchangeable with cake flour. So be sure to use all-purpose for this recipe. 
  • Baking powder: There’s 3 whole teaspoons to give these cupcakes the perfect rise.
  • Salt: Adding small amounts of salt to desserts enhances the flavor and sweetness.
  • Milk:  I use nonfat because that’s what I keep in my fridge, but you can use any type of milk you have on hand. 

an overhead shot of ingredients for vanilla cupcakes: milk, sugar, flour, eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla

Ingredient substitutions

  • Sour cream: This is essential for keeping the cupcakes moist. If you don’t have sour cream. I recommend substituting with non-fat Greek yogurt. The recipe calls for light sour cream, but you can also use full-fat sour cream.
  • Butter instead of oil: You can use 1/2 cup of melted butter instead of oil, but I don’t think it is nearly as good. You can also use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. 
  • Gluten-free flour: I have tested this recipe with a one for one gluten-free flour and it worked out great. 

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Beat together the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract until well incorporated.two side by side images showing the process of making a vanilla cake batter
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients, and beat on low speed while pouring in half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.two side by side images showing the process of making a vanilla cake batter
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, and the remaining milk. Beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined. 
  6. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full. 
  7. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.

an overhead shot filling cupcake liners with a cookie scoop

How much batter do you use for each cupcake?

It’s easiest to use a large cookie scoop or a measuring cup to fill your cupcake liners. This ensures they’re evenly filled, which means they will bake evenly as well. A large cookie scoop is approximately 3 tablespoons. 

You might find my post how to bake cupcakes to be helpful.

a cupcake pan with liners, filled 2/3 full of batter

How do I know when my cupcakes are ready?

I usually set my timer for the minimum baking time and then I check on them every 30-60 seconds after that. I press down the top of the cupcakes and they should spring back up. I also always use the toothpick test. I poke the top of the cupcakes with a toothpick and if the toothpick comes out clean, your cupcakes are done.

Vanilla Frosting is Perfect for These Cupcakes

Let’s talk real quick about the vanilla frosting. This is my go-to frosting recipe because my recipe uses COLD butter. That’s right, that means no waiting for the butter to come to room temperature. 

My secret for the perfect frosting is to whip the butter in the beginning for several minutes, and then again at the end. This makes it light, airy and very easy to pipe onto cupcakes. I also use heavy whipping cream which helps reduce the sweetness because there’s quite a bit of powdered sugar in this recipe.

You can flavor the frosting with your favorite extracts such an almond, lemon or even peppermint. A little lemon or lime zest also does wonders.

A small white cake stand with vanilla cupcakes that have teal polka dot liners. The cupcakes are topped with a gorgeous vanilla buttercream

How to Frost a Cupcake Like a Pro

Want to make beautiful bakery style frosted vanilla cupcakes? A simple trick is to use jumbo piping tips for the frosting. Start from the outside edge of the cupcake, working your way up towards the middle, and only fill your piping bag a maximum of 2/3 full. I have shared tons more tips and information in this post about how to decorate cupcakes

Pro Tips for the Best Cupcakes

  • Using a cookie scoop or measuring cup will ensure that there’s an even amount of batter in each cupcake liner. This means the baking times will also be consistent. 
  • If you can, use an oven thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of your oven.
  • Use a light colored, nonstick pan. Every cupcake pan cooks cupcakes differently. I have several of the Wilton Recipe Right cupcake pans and these are great, inexpensive cupcake pans.

Three vanilla cupcakes stacked on top of one another, the top one has a bite taken out of it

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my cupcakes moist?

The easiest way to make moist cupcakes is to use sour cream or Greek yogurt. That is why you’ll find that my cake and cupcake recipes usually contain this ingredient.

Other factors that can make your cupcakes dry is incorrectly measuring ingredients, over mixing the batter, or over baking the cupcakes. I also suggest storing them in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.

Can I use this vanilla cupcakes recipe to make a cake?

Yes, you can. You can find variations of this cupcakes recipe in my Moist Vanilla Layer Cake, or if you’d like to make a 9×13 inch cake, see this vanilla cake recipe

What cupcake liners do you use?

I get a lot of questions about my cupcake liners because they are so bright after baking. I special order the liners from Shop Sweets & Treats. They make grease-proof cupcake liners, which means that no matter what color your batter is, they stay nice and bright after baking. 

Cupcakes in a pan with teal polka dot liners

How do I store frosted cupcakes?

If you live in a hot and humid environment then I would suggest that you refrigerate cupcakes that are frosted and allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

Since this frosting is all butter based, it will melt in high temperatures or in humid environments. If you are serving this buttercream at an outdoor party, be sure to keep it out of the sun, especially if temperatures are hot that day.

Otherwise I store my cupcakes in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to 3 days once they are frosted.

Variation Ideas:

This vanilla cupcake recipe is very adaptable. I’ve made this recipe into:

Looking for more cupcake recipes? Here are all my best cupcake recipes.

A moist vanilla cupcake with a vanilla frosting and sprinkles has a big bite taken out of it

Follow Beyond Frosting:

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 

If you love no-bake recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook, No-Bake Treats!

 

 

Print
A trip of vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream. The cupcakes have teal polka dot liners and pink, white and teal sprinkles.

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 24-26 cupcakes

Description

This is a homemade Moist Vanilla Cupcake recipe using oil instead of butter to produce a dense and sponge-like cupcake. The results are perfect cupcakes every time!

Ingredients

For the cupcake:

  • 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup(118 ml) light sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (296 ml) milk (I use nonfat)

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cup (339 g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 6 cups (780g) powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ (12 ml) tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients, and beat on low speed while pouring in half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, and the remaining milk. Beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  7. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full. Careful not to overfill.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
  9. For the frosting: Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, beating until the butter is very fluffy.
  10. Alternate adding 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time with the liquid ingredients: vanilla extract & heavy cream. Ensure the powdered sugar is well combined, and whip for 1-2 minutes before adding more powdered sugar.
  11. Finally, increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting. Pipe these cupcake with a large piping tip and top with sprinkles.

Notes

  • The batter will be quite thin. It’s important that you stir the batter after mixing, to ensure everything on the bottom of the bowl is well mixed.
  • Sour Cream: You can substitute the light sour cream for Greek yogurt. You can also use full-fat sour cream if needed.
  • Gluten-free option: This recipe has been tested with a one for one cup gluten-free flour that already contains xanthan gum.
  • To make 12-14 cupcakes, halve all the dry and wet ingredients, but use 2 whole eggs, 2/3 cups milk
  • Storage suggestions: If you live in a hot and humid environment then I would suggest that you refrigerate cupcakes that are frosted and allow them to come to room temperature before serving. Otherwise they can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.
  • Make-ahead: These are best served within 2 days of preparation but will proper storage they can stay fresh for several days.
  • Freezing: If needed, flash-freeze the cupcakes on a baking sheet for 15 minutes than transfer them to an air-tight, freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator for several hours then bring to room temperature prior to serving. If possible, it’s best to store them unfrosted.
Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake
400
46.9g
118.6mg
17.9g
11.8g
58.3g
0.4g
3.1g
57.1mg
  • Category: Cupcake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cupcake Recipe, Vanilla Cupcake, Easy Vanilla Cupcake, Moist Vanilla Cupcake

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes
181 Responses
  1. Casey

    The cupcakes were sooo yummy!! Although I have a long way to go to perfect my cupcake skills they were amazing. They were a big hit. I’ve been trying to find a vanilla recipe (Cakes/or cupcakes), and your blog was the best one I’ve found. Easy, and quick. I definitely recommend this recipe. Thank you so much for creating this recipe. I will be using this for my future cake. 😊

  2. Shantel

    I made your vanilla icing and now the cupcakes, and OMIGOSH these are so delicious. This is go to for now.

  3. Julie

    I used this recipe (cupcakes only because I did not have enough powdered sugar for the icing) as the base for “firecracker” cupcakes. Very easy, moist, and still soft 4 days later stored in the fridge. This recipe is a keeper!!

Leave a Reply

I accept the Privacy Policy

5 BAKE FROM SCRATCH SECRETS!
Subscribe to my newsletter and get my fav tips to take your cakes & cupcakes to the next level.