These vanilla cupcakes will simply melt in your mouth. Despite being made from scratch, they’re just as simple to make as a store-bought boxed mix.
This vanilla cupcakes recipe has been developed after numerous trials and errors. I set out on a mission to crack the code on making moist cupcakes and decided I wouldn’t stop until I netted out on the best recipe possible. Why? More often than not, cupcakes are dry and underwhelming. I can’t even count how many times I’ve licked the frosting off off the top and threw the cake away.
The goal was to bring out that essential vanilla flavor while ensuring each bite was just as moist as the last. Additionally, I wanted to create a vanilla buttercream frosting that rivaled the best of bakeries. The secret? Loads of high-quality butter.
Simplifying the baking process was another top priority. Made in just 35 minutes, you’ll be able to whip up these cupcakes in the time it would take you to hop into your car, drive to the store, and pick up a boxed mix. Now that’s sweet…
How to Make Perfectly Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
Making perfectly moist cupcakes is much simpler than you think. Below, find a quick hitter overview of the recipe before you dive in.
- Combine the Dry Ingredients: In a medium-size bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt).
- Beat the Butter, Sugar, and Eggs Together: In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Once evenly combined, beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth.
- Add the Flour, Milk, and Vanilla Extract: Alternating in thirds, add a portion of all-purpose flour, followed by a portion of milk. Repeat the process until you run out of both. Add in vanilla extract and beat until distributed.
- Fill the Cupcake Tin: Pop a paper liner into each cupcake mold. Fill each mold 2/3 full.
- Bake and Cool the Cupcakes: Bake the cupcakes at 360°F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool at room temperature before frosting.
Creating Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Beat Butter with Powdered Sugar: In the stand mixer, beat butter with one cup of powdered sugar. Continue to add powdered sugar in small portions until you run out. Add in the vanilla extract and milk and beat until combined.
- Place Buttercream in Piping Bag: Place the buttercream in a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes!
Hot Tip: Take your cupcakes up a notch by substituting vanilla bean for vanilla extract in the frosting. Cut the vanilla beans in half using a very sharp knife. Then, use the sharp tip of the knife to scrape the seeds into the frosting. One whole bean will be more than enough!
Tips for the Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
Below, find a couple of tips and tricks to help you get the best homemade cupcakes possible.
- Use room temperature butter for the batter and frosting. Using room temperature butter is crucial to making fluffy cupcakes. When baking, room temperature butter (and other dairy products) form an emulsion which traps air, resulting in fluffier baked goods.
- Fill cupcake liners only 2/3 of the way full. Resist overfilling the muffin liners to prevent spillage and misshapen cupcakes. Leaving a bit of space at the top will allow the cupcakes to form that signature round top.
- Use high-quality vanilla extract. Don’t skimp on the quality of your vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract boasts the best flavor and doesn’t have a weird chemical aftertaste. It’s a bit more expensive but totally worth it!
- Sift the dry ingredients. Use a flour sifter for your dry ingredients to get rid of lumps. This is an expert baking tip that goes a long way when it comes to nailing the texture of the cupcake!
Mini-Cupcakes Hack: To make mini cupcakes, only bake them for 10 minutes.
Do you know how to properly measure flour? More often than not, people measure their flour incorrectly and end up putting too much in (dry cupcake alert!). To properly measure flour first, use a fork to fluff up the flour while it’s still in the bag. Then, use a spoon to transfer flour into the measuring cup. Whatever you do, do not pack the flour in tightly to the cup! Finally, use the flat end of a knife to lightly scrape off the top.
Storing Perfectly Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
Below, find some advice on how to store your cupcakes for maximum freshness:
- Store cupcakes only after they cool completely. If you store hot or warm cupcakes, you will trap steam inside the container causing them to melt, or even worse, mold.
- Use an airtight container. If you leave them out in the open air, they will go stale much quicker. Always store your frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Keep unfrosted cupcakes at room temperature. Refrigerating them will affect the taste.
- Wrap unfrosted cupcakes tightly in plastic wrap. If you know you will have extra cupcakes, don’t frost them until you are ready to serve them. Keeping them wrapped will help them stay moist.
What makes a cupcake moist?
What makes cupcakes moist is ensuring you don’t add too much flour. See our instructions above for how to properly measure flour.
How do you make dry cupcakes moist?
You can make dry cupcakes moist by spreading some simple syrup on top of them. This will seep into the cake and help doctor the dryness.
Should cupcakes be flat or domed?
Properly baked cupcakes should come out slightly domed. If your cupcakes are flat, that means you overmixed the batter.
What kind of flour should I use for cupcakes?
Basic all-purpose flour is what you should use when baking cupcakes.
Can I cut this recipe down from 24 cupcakes to 12?
Absolutely! Just cut each ingredient in half.
Can I frost the cupcakes the day before serving them?
You can frost the cupcakes ahead of time. Just make sure to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Other Cupcake Recipes to Try
- The Perfect Cupcakes – Made with buttermilk
- Cheesecake Chocolate Cupcakes– Cream cheese piped into the center!
- 1 cup unsalted Butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup white Sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cup flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 cup milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, whisk together butter and sugar until smooth. Whisk in eggs one by one.
- Add a third of flour, followed by a third of milk. Beat to combine. Repeat until you run out of flour and milk. Add vanilla extract and stir to combine.
- Line a 24 piece cupcake tin with paper liners. Fill each one 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 360°F for about 20 minutes. Let cupcakes completely cool at room temperature.
- Beat butter with one cup of powdered sugar.
- Continuously beating, add the remaining powdered sugar to the butter mixture until you run out. Add vanilla extract and milk. Beat to combine.
- Place frosting into a piping bag or a plastic storage bag with an end snipped off. Decorate your cupcakes, serve, and enjoy!
I made this recipe for a huge Easter party event and I did not have enough time to remake these cupcakes. They were very dry and dense and yes I used the exact amount and did not go over on my measurements and I followed all the steps. I hope I don’t lose customers. They wanted a certain taste of cupcakes and I’m so disappointed.
Hi Sara, I am sorry they came out dense. Could they have been over baked? I know you have mentioned that you measured exactly, I don't think of anything else but baking time.
Hi thank you for the recipe, I expected them to be moist, I followed to recipe to a t, I even had the cupcakes in the oven for 18 mins instead of 20 and they didn’t come out moist 🙁
They had an eggy taste, my kid didn’t like it.
Hi Kathey, I am sorry to hear that this recipe didnt work out for you. What makes cupcakes moist is ensuring you don’t add too much flour. I have tips on the recipe page on how to properly measure flour. But there is good news, You can make dry cupcakes moist by spreading some simple syrup on top of them. This will seep into the cake and help doctor the dryness. I hope this helps a little. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback.
Hi there Tq for the receipes, may I use cake flour for this cupcake receipes
Hi Sheila, I have not tried that before, but I am sure that would work just fine. It just makes this a different recipe. Good luck!
I would add 2 and half cups milk and 4 eggs and 3 tsp of vanilla….. way too many eggs. 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
I don't think this combination of ingredients will work in this recipe. It will come out flat.
It needs more moisture and it had too eggy of a taste. Taste closer to a cupcake waffle if anything. Lol. How did this get so many stars? It’s edible if you put frosting on it to hide the taste
Hey Joe, this is a base cake for all the Eastern European cakes so I can see why you may not like it on its own. We did share a few ways you can use the sponge cake. I agree, eating it alone can be boring. Hope this helps!
Very dry and dense. Followed recipe exactly.
Hey Rachel, I'm sorry to hear they came out dry and dense. If you wanted to bring some of the moistness back, my tip is to coat them in some simply syrup. My other tip is to make sure you're not adding too much flour (fluff and spoon into the cup & level it with a knife versus packing into measuring cup). Thank you for taking the time to give feedback, if you try them again I hope they come out moist! 🙂
Six eggs is honestly way overkill for this recipe. The cupcakes turn out super dense and just tasting like egg with vanilla...
Hey Bobby, I'm sorry you weren't a fan of the cupcakes. Thank you for providing feedback!
These are a nice vanilla cupcake, I used vanilla bean paste, followed the directions, but left the oven temp at 350 for exactly 15 minutes and they turned out great. The first ones were at 18 minutes and they got browner than I like them. Might be why some had dry cupcakes, it too long at a too high temp. I am at high altitude.
Hi Kathy- thank you for the feedback. I'm glad to hear you were able to modify and make the recipe work in higher altitude. 🙂
Did not work 🥺.. followed instructions to the point my children left the kitchen claiming I was being overly dramatic following instructions. Still got dry cupcakes..
Hi Tracy-- Ah, I'm so sorry. I know that can be frustrating. It sounds like you read through the blog post for all the tips already, but in case it was missed- did you make sure to measure the flour correctly (instead of packing it in) and to sift dry ingredients? Alternatively, if they came out too dry, you can cover the tops in a simple syrup to bring back some of the moistness. I hope this info helps!
If we want to make these chocolate can I just add cocoa powder
Great idea Zoe. That would be delicious. 🙂
These look and sound so good, I’ll try this recipe the next time I’m making cupcakes! I never did understand the people that use mixes for baking/cooking. You have to add ingredients to it anyway, why not just add a few more and make it actually homemade (plus, no added ingredients/health factor!)
Hi Nelya - Thanks for your kind words! I feel the same way - it's better to make it homemade and you feel so good about controlling the ingredients.
Hi, can I make this as a cake? My birthday will be next month and I LOVE everything vanilla. Also, can I add sprinkles in here? Thank you!
Hi Vincent- I think you should be able to! I haven't tested this recipe in a cake pan, but I don't see why it wouldn't work! Still bake at the same temperature, and use at least 2 cake pans if possible (9+ inches). Start checking on the cakes after about 20-25 minutes, test with a toothpick to see if they're done. Hope these tips help!
I made these and they came out dense and dry. I spooned and leveled the flour correctly. I think the problem was this recipe calls for using the whisk attachment when creaming the butter and sugar? The room temp butter sticks to the whisk and doesn't incorporate with the sugar well, so I had clumpy butter. I then had to mix the flour for longer to get everything to blend properly, and overmixing the flour developed more gluten. I should have used the paddle attachment instead - I think the texture would have been better.
Hi Ann, I'm sorry to hear they came out dry. In addition to measuring flour correctly, I'd recommend sifting the flour/dry ingredients as well. And you are correct, over-mixing can lead to dense cake so that is probably what happened. You can absolutely use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar next time to get a smoother texture. Thank you for your feedback and tips, Ann!
can i make this recipe without a stand mixer?
Yes, you can Jen! Will surely speed up the process. Hope they turn out great!
The recipe says to not refrigerate but can I make these ahead and freeze before frosting? I usually don't have a problem freezing cupcakes or cakes but since your recipe says refrigeration affects taste, I'm concerned!
Hi Ginger, we only say that because they will not have that fluffy fresh taste if you refrigerate them, just like any other cupcake. You can freeze them in an air tight container.
Hey Natalya! If I wanted to turn these into funfetti cupcakes, can I just add rainbow sprinkles to the batter or will they sink to the bottom? Any suggestions on this? Thanks!! 🙂
Hi Mela, I have not tried adding sprinkles to the batter. I don't believe they would sink to the bottom but I am not 100% sure. If you try this, please let me know.
I made this recipie today and I added sprinkles and it turned out perfect!
Hi Gloria - That sounds absolutely lovely. I'm a sucker for a classic cupcake with sprinkles. Thanks for sharing and so glad you enjoyed.
What type of all purpose flour you used for this recipe swans cake flour or white lily all purpose flour?
Hey Charlene, I am not sure what swans cake flour is or lily all-purpose flour? I haven't tried either one of them. Any brand of all-purpose flour would work in this recipe.
Hi, do we use powder sugar in this recipe or caster sugar ?
Hi Saj, we use granulated sugar in this recipe. I hope this helps. They are so so good, enjoy!
Can you use this recipe for a cake?
Hi Amy, if you are looking for a simple cake recipe, I have a delicious 3 ingredient one here: https://momsdish.com/recipe/9…
What a pretty cupcake! This recipe makes such a delicious treat!
Glad you enjoyed it!
Love the cherry on top! They really are so moist & that frosting is so creamy! Love a good cupcake!
Thank you!! I'm so happy you enjoyed it!
I have been looking for an easy soft and moist cupcake recipe and this recipe is the one! I LOVE how the batter feels and the cupcakes come out perfect.
I am so happy to hear that, thank you for your feedback!
Hi! Thanks for sharing your recipe! I'd like to make them for my son's mini birthday celebration in school, but they have to be ready really early. Was thinking I'd bake the cupcakes the day before and store them at room temperature, but wasn't sure if the cream can be done the night before and refrigerated, then pipe the next morning?
Hey Jas, I would pipe the cream the night before and refrigerate them. Enjoy
Can you say the ingredients if I am going to do only 12 cupcakes
Hey Hana, cut everything in half. This recipe makes a total of 24 cupcakes.
Do you use plain flour or self rasing flour for cup cakes
Hi Mandi, all-purpose flour works great in this recipe.
Just made the cupcakes without frosting for now, they’re really good.. have you ever used this batter to make a cake ? Seems like it might actually work!
Yes, I can see this working, you can get really creative. 🙂
Can you use almond milk for this recipe?
Hi Bere, I haven't tested this recipe with Almond Milk, I cant tell you if the turn out would be as great.
I tried it and they came out great! Thanks
Bere, thank you so much for sharing this. Now I know for the future. 🙂
Do you have a chocolate cupcake recipe
Yes, here is the one we love https://momsdish.com/recipe/2…
Looks delicious! I want to make these for my girls' bdays this week! One question- 360degrees? Not just 350?
Yes, bake them at 360F, if you do at 350F add a minute or two to the baking time.
It shows vanilla extract twice once for cream once for cupcakes. However in description it doesn't state when to add the vanilla. ?
Yes, for cream and for dough. I will adjust that. Thanks 😉