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Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

This Easy Vanilla Cupcake recipe makes ultra moist vanilla cupcakes. They’ve topped with my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting, it’s light, fluffy, and just the right amount of sweetness. You can’t go wrong with these.

A vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting 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. 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 classic vanilla buttercream, you can’t go wrong with that combination.

Why is This Recipe So Good?

Everyone’s opinion of what a vanilla cupcake should be is very different. Readers love this recipe because it’s truly moist, a little dense, and not too sweet. They stay fresh for several days after baking.

  • 10 Minutes to prepare: This recipe uses oil, so it comes together very quickly. Oil makes the crumb and texture a bit more tender and tighter.
  • Plenty of flavor: This recipe calls for a whole tablespoon of vanilla extract. Be sure you get a high-quality vanilla for the best results
  • They’re super moist: The sour cream in this recipe is a non negotiable for me. It’s really what keeps these soft and tender for several days.
  • Very vertsile: You can make this for any holiday or celebration, it can even be turned into a cake.
A white cupcake with a bite missing frosted with vanilla buttercream

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: First combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract until well incorporated. Then add in the sour cream and beat until well combined.

Combine the dry ingredients: In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients. Add half the dry ingredients and half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate. Repeat until all ingredients have been added.

Fill the pan: I recommend using a large cookie scoop, which is about 3 tablespoons. It ensures an even amount of batter for each cupcake, and they will bake more evenly.

Bake: In my oven, these bake for about 15 minutes. I bake both pans on the top rack and I test the middle with a toothpick to make sure they’re baked through all the way.

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?

  • Butter temperature: 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.
  • You have more control over the consistency: You don’t have to worry about the butter being too soft, resulting in a runny buttercream that doesn’t hold it’s shape.
  • Whipped to perfection: You’ll be doing extra mixing with this recipe and adding some heavy whipping cream which helps reduce the sweetness and incorporate air into the frosting.

If you’ve never made frosting before, be sure you visit this tutorial which walks you through step-by-step.

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

A close up of a frosted vanilla cupcake in a teal polka dot liner

Tips for the Best Cupcakes

  • Using a cookie scoop or measuring cup to fill the pan: 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 most ovens take much longer to preheat than you think. Using an oven thermmeter to monitor the internal temperature of your oven will help ensure it’s not over or under heated.
  • Make it gluten-free: You can swap out the all-purpose flour with a measure for measure gluten-free flour to make the most amazing Gluten-Free cupcakes.
  • Change up the frosting: This cupcake is so versitle. Try adding some chocolate buttercream, or a cream cheese frosting.
Three stacked vanilla cupcakes, the one on top has a bite missing

Can I Use This Recipe to Make a Cake?

Yes, you can. You can find variations of this cupcake recipe to make with a Layer Cake, or a sheet cake

How to 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 doing so unfrosted. Flash-freeze the cupcakes on a baking sheet for 15 minutes then transfer them to an air-tight, freezer-safe container. Thaw to room temperature before frosting.

Three frosted vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles
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A vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting and sprinkles

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 78 reviews
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 24-26 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


This Easy Vanilla Cupcake recipe makes ultra moist vanilla cupcakes topped with fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting.


For the cupcake:

  • 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup(118 ml) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour sifted
  • 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (296 ml) milk (any type), at room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups (339 g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 56 cups (780g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ tablespoons (37.5ml) heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt


For the Cupcakes

  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. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients, and half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. 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.
  4. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  5. 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.

For the Frosting:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Once all the ingredients have been added, increase speed to medium-high and beat for another couple of minutes to whip additional air into the frosting. Pipe these cupcakes with a large piping tip and top with sprinkles.


  • 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 measure for measure all-purpose 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.


  • Serving Size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 400
  • Sugar: 46.9g
  • Sodium: 118.6mg
  • Fat: 17.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 58.3g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Protein: 3.1g
  • Cholesterol: 57.1mg

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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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314 thoughts on “Easy Vanilla Cupcakes”

  1. I loved this recipe! I just made 5 dozen cupcakes for my household and 3 dozen of them are for my friend’s birthday today at work! I also added strawberry jam inside after baking for a surprise filling! They turned out so delicious!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      The addition of the jam sounds delicious! I am so happy you found this recipe, thank you for sharing your feedback!

  2. Seriously the best vanilla cupcake recipe I have found!! It’s simple but makes the most fluffiest and moist cake. Not too sweet absolutely perfect!!

  3. I made these today and they came out good. It wasn’t the type of cupcakes I’m looking for but I didn’t have any problems baking the cupcakes. A very easy recipe to follow. The cupcakes came out very moist and pillowy-like. Thanks for sharing ❤️

  4. Avatar photo
    Nicol Hallett

    I LOVE your frosting recipe and am deciding to try this out for vanilla cupcakes. Can you explain why you don’t use cake flour or if we are supposed to use cake flour for this? I keep hearing cake flour is better than all purpose, but I’m not sure.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      This recipe was not deigned to be made with cake flour, it is a very thin and liquid heavy batter, producing a more dense and spongy texture. Cake flour is meant for recipes that are much lighter and fluffier. The two flours cannot be used interchangeably without further adjustments.

  5. I made these today and they were super easy to make and tasted amazing. However, mine rose into a massive round dome almost the size of the cupcake underneath! I followed each measurement and I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong 🙁 are they meant to have a dome or be relatively flat?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      How full did you fill the liners? These are not supposed to be flat on top, you can see in my photos I have a nice dome, which is proportional to the cupcake. Overfilling the liners will definitely lead to a larger dome.

  6. These were amazing! I made them first for my daughters 33rd Birthday and then this past Sunday I made 60 for my 2 year grandsons Birthdsy!!

  7. I made these cupcakes and followed the recipe to a t. But I feel they didn’t turn out. The tops baked looking like they were still wet batter and the taste was a little off….one bite was great the other was almost sour and tangy…I just don’t know what I did wrong

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Shelby, it does sound like something was off, if the tops looked lit wet batter, that’s a problem.

  8. Thank you for the recipe, but you substitute the oil for the batter with avocado oil?
    Thank you in advance.

  9. This recipe is amazing! Made them for a gender reveal and my guests loved them. I did substitute a few ingredients due to I used what I had on hand. Used whole milk Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, light cream instead of milk and vanilla paste instead of extract, which made them so vanilla-ly. I topped them with a cream cheese frosting- so good!Thank you for my new go to recipe.

  10. Such a hit!! The only way I will EVER make cupcakes. They are absolutely delicious. Have you ever added cocoa powder to this recipe to make chocolate cupcakes?

  11. This recipe is amazing!! I’ve made so many different vanilla cupcake recipes and none of them have come close to this one. Thanks so much for sharing! ❤️

  12. In the oven now. I followed the recipe exactly ( except milk I used almond milk) mine made 30 cupcakes. Can’t wait to see how they turned out 🥰

  13. These are the BEST vanilla cupcakes. They are moist with delicious vanilla flavor. Topped with vanilla buttercream frosting, this is the only vanilla cupcake recipe I use.

  14. Lovely recipe! They turned out delicious for my mom’s birthday. Love the flavor, texture, and color of the cupcake. It was a great make. Everyone liked them.

  15. Hi! I am going to make your buttercream frosting recipe for my granddaughter’s birthday cupcakes, and I have a quick question. The frosting ingredients shown here indicate 6 cups powdered sugar and 2 tsp vanilla extract, whereas if I click on the link for the Perfect Vanilla Frosting, the ingredients are 5 cups powdered sugar and 2 1/2 tsp vanilla. Which do you recommend based on experience?

    Thank you for your guidance on this.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Jeanne, this recipe with work with either 5 or 6 cups. With 6 cups the frosting with have a slightly higher yield, and be a little bit more stiff. The additional 1/2-1 teaspoon of vanilla won’t make a difference in the consistency, only the flavor.

  16. I highly recommend this recipe!! Over the years, I have tried a gazillion vanilla cupcake recipes and i’ve never been satisfied with any of them! They’ve either been too dry and dense or tasted like cornbread. But this recipe right here is PERFECTION!!! They have the best vanilla flavor and stayed sooo moist days after I made them! Thank you so much Julianne!! This will be my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe!!!

  17. This recipe (as well as the gluten free cupcake ones) is perfect for 3 six inch cake molds!
    I made a 6 inch three tier cake, using this recipe and your buttercream recipe and it came out awesome ♥️!
    In case readers need to know, my cakes cooked for 30 minutes.
    Love your recipes Julianne. 🥰

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      That’s wonderful Brigitte! Thank you so much for sharing your adaptions, super helpful!