Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

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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 the best. You can literally come home from work and have cupcakes in the oven 10 minutes later.

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

I topped these with a classic vanilla buttercream, you can’t go wrong with that combination. But these would also pair well with a Swiss meringue or chocolate buttercream as well.

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

Recipe ingredients and substitutions

  • Granulated sugar:
  • 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
  • Pure vanilla extract: Be sure you get a high-quality REAL vanilla extract
  • Sour cream: helps keeps these cupcakes very moist.
  • Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, Baking powder, Salt
  • 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. 

substitutions

  • Sour cream: I recommend substituting with plain or Greek yogurt
  • Butter instead of oil: You can use 1/2 cup of melted butter instead of oil. 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. 
an overhead shot of ingredients for vanilla cupcakes: milk, sugar, flour, eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla

How to Make Vanilla Cupcakes

Prep: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Combine the sugar with the wet ingredients: Beat together the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract until well incorporated. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.

Combine the dry ingredients: 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. Repeat until all ingredients have been added.

an overhead shot of a glass mixing bowl with vanilla cake batter, flour and milk being poured into the bowl

Fill the pan: Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full. 

Bake: 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.

Seriously the best vanilla buttercream

I promise this will become your new go-to frosting recipe. It’s the perfect consistency for piping, and the texture is amazing.

What makes this frosting so good? My secret is to use cold butter, straight out of the fridge. The butter is whipped in the beginning for several minutes, so the mixture softened the butter for you. This is the most important step in the process.

My other secret? I use heavy whipping cream which helps reduce the sweetness and incorporate air into the frosting. If you don’t have heavy cream, milk will also work.

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 for decorating cupcakes

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. 
  • 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

Can I use this 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

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.

Can I freeze cupcakes?

Personally I don’t freeze cupcakes if I can help it. I don’t think they taste the same when thawed. However, if you need to freeze them, I would suggest to do so unfrosted. Flash-freeze the cupcakes on a baking sheet for 15 minutes than transfer them to an air-tight, freezer-safe container. Thaw to room temperature before frosting.

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

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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 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, Birthday Cupcakes

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.

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225 Responses
  1. Danielle

    I LOVE these cupcakes. I’ve been making them for weeks and they’ve been perfection every time. I even know the ingredients and measurements without looking at the recipe. But 🙁 something is happening to them. I made 3 batches of these today because they keep shrinking down after I take them out of the oven. Once they’re cooled, it’s like eating glue. I’m super frustrated because I’ve been making these perfectly and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong now. They’ve never turned out like this. Any suggestions? 9 dozen cupcakes in the garbage *crying*

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