Whether you’re a novice baker or a seasoned one, you can’t deny that there’s anything better to have handy than a basic cupcake recipe that you can make quickly.
These easy vanilla cupcakes are just that.
These cupcakes are a canvas for your creativity. You can make them as is, or you can let your imagination go wild with ideas for add-ins, toppings, and substitutions.
If you’re new to baking it’s a good idea to start with this initial recipe to get your feet (fingers?) wet in terms of cupcake making. Then, expand to other ideas.
Go-To Cupcake Recipe
Table of Contents
In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a good cupcake recipe. I’ve never met a person who disliked cupcakes, and they’re the easiest dessert to serve.
If you’ve been looking for a recipe for cupcakes that couldn’t be more simple, but is super customizable, you are in the right place. The next time you need a dessert for a party, book club, or just to nosh on at home, try this one.
Why You’ll Love These Cupcakes
Simple – This easy recipe uses basic ingredients that you likely already have in the pantry and it’s perfect for the first time baker trying their hand at making cupcakes. It’s also a great foundation for an expert baker to add their own customizations.
Portable – You can take these to parties or out for a picnic. They transport easily and you can even wrap the cupcakes in plastic wrap and add the frosting on the fly.
Delicious – Vanilla is a classic flavor that nearly everyone enjoys. No one will be disappointed to chow down on these!
Fresh – A boxed mix is easy, but so is this! And since you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already, this is a much fresher and tastier version than you’ll get with a mix.
- All-purpose flour – All purpose flour helps to make these simple vanilla cupcakes light and airy.
- Baking powder – This ingredient also acts as a leavening agent to ensure the cupcakes perfectly rise.
- Baking soda – Using baking soda ensures, too, that your cakes are just the right texture.
- Fine sea salt – Just a touch of salt helps bring out all of the vanilla flavor.
- Unsalted butter – Whether you use melted butter or just choose to leave it on the counter, make sure your butter is at room temperature.
- Granulated sugar – White sugar is the best to use for this recipe to make sure that it maintains its color.
- Vegetable oil – The neutral flavor in this oil makes it ideal for baking.
- Pure vanilla extract – This brings all the flavor to these classic vanilla cupcakes.
- Eggs – If you want to make sure to have a fluffy cupcake make sure to use room temperature eggs in this recipe.
- Milk – Whole milk is the best option to make sure you get the moistest cupcakes.
- Sprinkles – These are optional but add a fun decorative twist, especially for birthday parties or baby showers.
- Unsalted butter – Be sure the butter is at room temperature for the best results.
- Powdered sugar – Use powdered instead of granulated to make sure that you have a smooth consistency.
- Pure vanilla extract – Adding this to the frosting brings even more vanilla flavor to these, but you can change it up if you want a contrast of flavors.
- Milk – To get the creamy consistency that you want for a frosting, use whole milk.
How To Make Easy Vanilla Cupcakes
- Dry ingredients. Use a whisk or a sifter to mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, making sure that all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Wet ingredients. Cream butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl often so that all ingredients can mix together.
- Add eggs. One at a time, add the eggs. Beat each one into the batter on medium speed.
- Add half dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined, being careful not to overmix which can lead to dense cupcakes.
- Add milk. Then, while the mixer is still running, add in the milk and slowly mix until the milk is fully absorbed.
- Add rest of dry ingredients. Once milk is completely absorbed, add the remaining dry ingredients and continue mixing until smooth.
- Bake. Divide the batter into the paper liners. Bake the cupcakes, making sure to leave the oven door closed for most of the baking process to ensure even temperature.
- Remove and cool. After removing the cupcakes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
- Make frosting. Combine all of the frosting ingredients in one large mixing bowl. Beat the ingredients with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Pipe onto cupcakes. Using a piping bag, or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. You can also use a spatula to spread, if you prefer.
- Add sprinkles and enjoy. If you choose, garnish your cupcakes with colorful sprinkles.
- Make it moister – Using sour cream will increase the moistness of any cake. You can also use creme fraiche or full fat yogurt.
- Frosting options – Change up your topping by using a cream cheese frosting or even a powdered sugar icing for something simple. Or choose your own favorite frosting.
- Top it – Add decorator’s sugar (colored or not) to add some sparkle, or try finely crushed nuts or toffee to add some texture and impart a salty/sweet flavor. You can also garnish with fruit like maraschino cherries or finely diced fruit.
- Vary your vanilla – Substitute vanilla bean paste for the extract using a 1:1 ratio. Alternatively, you can change up the entire flavor profile by using any extract of your choice like lemon, almond, or coffee in place of some or all of the vanilla.
- Fill ‘em up – After baking, use your piping bag with an appropriate sized tip and fill the center of the cupcakes with jam, pudding, or whipped cream.
- Add-ins – Throw some mini chocolate, peanut butter, or butterscotch chips into either the batter or the icing. You could also try finely chopped dried fruit.
Storage and Freezing
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can also wrap the cupcakes individually, unfrosted, in plastic wrap.
More Cupcake Recipes
- Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes
- Peach Cobbler Cupcakes
- Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Jumbo Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Creme Brulee Pie
Easy Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs , at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- Sprinkles , optional
- 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. This will take a few minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one into the mixture.
- Reduce the mixer speed and add half of the dry mixture. Beat just until combined, then slowly add in the milk and slowly mix until absorbed. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat together until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Be careful not to overmix.
- Divide the batter into the 12 lined cupcake holes and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Make sure they are cooled before frosting them.
- Combine the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk in a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric mixer until fluffy and smooth. If the frosting seems too thick, add more milk. If it seems to thin, add more powdered sugar.
- Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes or smear the frosting on with an offset spatula. Top with sprinkles of your choice and enjoy.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.
Very easy to make, without compromise on flavour or texture! Really nice, moist and fluffy, and with the frosting on top – they are simply divine! Great recipe for both novice bakers and the more experienced bakers who are simply looking for a no-fuss cupcake recipe!
So true about how useful it is to have a good basic cupcake recipe on hand—especially when you have little ones. This is the perfect recipe for that. It’s stress-free but comes out perfect and delicious every time!
These cupcakes look so beautiful. I am going to try your recipe next time I bake. Thanks for sharing.
You just can’t go wrong with a classic like vanilla cupcakes! These look absolutely perfect. 🙂