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Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes

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I love coming up with creative new cupcake flavors. And I love being served creative new cupcake flavors. But at the end of the day, if given a choice between, well, pretty much any kind of cupcake and a vanilla cupcake, that delicious little white cupcake almost always wins.

I don’t know what it is about it, but I love a good vanilla cupcake. Always have. Always will.

But I feel like I need to make a confession. When it came to homemade, I was a closet “box mix” girl for years. Yep. Would show up to a party with “homemade “vanilla cupcakes, and everyone would oooh and ahhh and think that they were from some fancy homemade recipe. But the reality was that I had just never been able to find a recipe that rivaled the taste, texture and (admittedly) the ease of a box mix…until now.

I think I have finally figured out my favorite homemade vanilla cupcake!! And I kind of wanna shout it from the rooftops, because this recipe is amazing!!! It has all of the wonderful vanilla flavor and the light texture of a box mix. But it happens to be made from scratch with all normal everyday ingredients, plus a vanilla bean and some Greek yogurt. Easy peasy. And to stay pure, I topped these with a classic vanilla buttercream.

It doesn’t get any more “vanilla” than that, people! But if you’re like me, you will love it too. Enjoy!

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Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 16-18 cupcakes 1x


My favorite vanilla cupcake recipe with a classic vanilla buttercream!



Vanilla Cupcakes Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (avoid non-fat versions of either)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade
  • 2/3 cup whole milk

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 34 Tbsp. milk or heavy cream


To Make The Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. Add granulated sugar and vanilla bean to the bowl of a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds until blended. Add in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and beat for an additional 1 minutes until well-mixed. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes until well combined and a little crumbly.
  3. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
  4. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be very thin and liquid.
  5. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. Remove and let cool on a cooling rack. Once the cupcakes have reached room temperature, frost with the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe below).

To Make The Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for 1 minute on medium speed until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, the seeds of a vanilla bean and about 2 Tbsp. milk and reduce speed to low. Beat for a minute or so until the sugar no longer sprays. Then increase speed to medium high and beat for an additional minute until smooth. Add an extra tablespoon or two of the milk if you need a thinner frosting.

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45 comments on “Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes”

  1. i totally agree – i’ll take a vanilla cupcake any day! yours look awesome! xx

  2. If I wanted to adapt this to be chocolate, how much cocoa powder would need to be added? I’m assuming some of the liquid ingredients may need to be altered as well.

  3. These look great but I REALLY love the purple wrappers! ;)

  4. Looks great! How do you feel about brownies? I have never found a homemade version that even comes close to being as good as the boxed kind. And no boxed kind that’s as good as Godiva.

  5. Your swirls are so perfect! Vanilla is right up there near the top of my list!

  6. Gorgeous!! There is so much to be said about a simple, vanilla cupcake. So satisfying. I think I’d take a really good one any day over a super crazy flavor!

  7. I love the classic vanilla cupcakes!

  8. Vanilla is the best! And these look truly perfect, Ali!!!

  9. The directions in paragraph two say to ‘whisk together eggs, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), oil, and vanilla extract’ but there is no oil in the ingredients list. Is there oil in the recipe? Thanks.

  10. Okay these just look gorgeous!! Vanilla cupcakes are my favorite!!

  11. These are so pretty and I’m sure taste just as good as they look!!

  12. Definitely one of my favorite cupcakes. Why mess with a good thing?!

  13. Umm, could your cupcakes get any more PERFECT LOOKING?!?! ;) I think they’re almost too pretty to eat…..nah! =D


  14. It’s very hard to beat a good vanilla cupcake and these look just perfect!

  15. There is something so amazing about fresh vanilla beans. Love this recipe!

  16. Those sound and look wonderful!! Tell me, how to you keep your whites so nice? Mine always look so blown out. I edit in lightroom if that helps…

  17. These cupcakes are seriously stunning! Love the vanilla bean shot!

  18. Yes! I totally agree. Before I went gluten-free I always always used the box mixes. The homemade always were too dry or too dense. Luckily I found some good gluten-free recipes that taste just like the box mixes. Glad you finally found a winner too :)

  19. Such pretty cupcakes and liners! I’m happy that you added that link. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of those! Congratulations again on the new site. It looks wonderful! It was great before but this is definitely an improvement. :)

  20. They look PERFECT! When you nail a classic like this, there is just no better feeling.

    And your new site look is absolutely gorgeous!! Who did it? So beautiful – great job!!

  21. Ooooh! I love me some vanilla cupcakes as well. And these look picture perfect :)

    And I’m STILL a box mix girl to this day…baking is just terrifying to me!

  22. Yum. Vanilla cupcakes should always have actual vanilla bean in them. I love them with a vanilla bean cream cheese frosting, too.

  23. Ali these look divine! One day I hope to be able to make cupcakes half as beautiful as yours. Congrats on the new website and additions. Everything looks great:)

  24. How many cupcakes does this recipe yield? And can it be halved? Thanks!

  25. What happens if you use non fat?

  26. I can use presto flour?

  27. I made these for my daughter’s Daisy Scouts end-of-year picnic this weekend. They were exceptional. The cake was tender and moist. I found the frosting a bit sweet, but that’s subjective. I didn’t have any leftovers! You can see a photo here:

    • Thanks for sharing, Melanie! So happy they were a hit! I love the photo — that sparkly purple ice-job is awesome! : D

  28. I have finally found the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe! Thank you so much, these turned out perfectly. Moist and fluffy. My friends loved them too. FYI these freeze really well too. On defrosting they still tasted fresh baked. 

  29. Do you need to alter anything about this recipe if you want to make a cake?

    • Hi Kellie! Yes, this will make 1 8 or 9-inch cake (so we would double it if you want to make a two-layer cake). Also, it will take longer to bake (we’d suggest setting the timer for 25 minutes and then checking from that point on) — it could take longer. We hope this helps and that you enjoy!

  30. I have a question, how would you make this cupcake recipe into a cake recipe that won’t make it taste dry? 

    • Hi Kendra! We think you could probably bake a 9-inch cake with this recipe. It shouldn’t be dry, just make sure you don’t over-mix the batter or over-bake! :)

  31. Can I make these in mini cup cake  liners? I would like to fill them with passion fruit, is that possible? 

    • Sure, you can do mini cupcakes for this recipe, it’ll just make a ton! And you can fill them with passion fruit as well, if you like. We hope you enjoy!

  32. These are my go-to cupcakes. Do you have any suggestions on using add ins with this cupcake? Sprinkles, Oreos, Pineapple, Berries, Etc.?

    I love this recipe so much, but want to be able to make numerous flavors. I would love any suggestions you may have! Thank you. :)


    • We’re so glad you enjoy these, Vanessa! We haven’t experimented with add-ins in these, but you certainly could! You could stick a few berries in there or chocolate chips. We actually bet some of the toppings you mentioned would be great on top of the cupcakes! :)

  33. This was just what I was looking for! I used vanilla paste (instead of the bean) and used buttermilk instead of milk. The cupcakes were moist and light. I also tried chocolate cupcakes by adding 6T cocoa powder instead of the vanilla paste, it was also YUMMY! I made cupcakes and sheet cake (9×13 pan 350 degrees, 25-28 minutes) today. We love the butterlane recipes but we donʻt have the right oven so it seems like its hit or miss when we bake, but these came out no matter what. I made four recipes today, all baked up just right. SO HAPPY I FOUND YOU ON PINTEREST :)

  34. How could I convert this to make a half sheet cake? Or a 13×9 in cake pan?

  35. I really made sure that I will always have a room for dessert

  36. I made these cupcakes after trying several other recipes and they were, by far, the best. I would like to make a three layered 8 inch cake out of this. How much would I need to increase the recipe?

  37. I have made these twice they were the best vanilla cupcakes i have ever made! I used sour cream instead of Greek yogurt, and used plain vanilla yogurt instead of milk. They had rich butter flavor were moist and were totally gone in a couple minutes!!!