Light & fluffy, so moist and filled with the most delicious buttery vanilla. Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream for the win!!!
Everyone needs a recipe for the perfect vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. They’re so quintessential for children’s birthday parties and summer bbq’s. Not that I have children or a back yard. But… you know, I’ll be prepared if I ever do. And since I have zero home decorating, tax preparation, or car maintenance skills – baking is my way of adulting. (Apparently, I equate being a grown up to owning a couch & knowing how to change your oil).
But in all seriousness, having a recipe for perfect vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream is a necessity for any
baker person with a kitchen. Cupcakes should be moist with a super soft crumb, light & fluffy in texture, and have a delicious buttery vanilla flavor without being too sweet. And these vanilla cupcakes are all those things. Plus they’re topped with creamy, fluffy vanilla buttercream and pretty sprinkles. Because buttercream is delicious. And sprinkles are tiny dots of happiness that bring sunshine & warm fuzzies into the world. (Can you tell how bad I am at adult-ing????)
So I’m very excited to say that these vanilla cupcakes are the perfect recipe. Too often I find vanilla cupcakes are dry and bland. Or, they fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and are too sweet, weirdly greasy and leave an oily after taste in your mouth.
But not these – they’re so soft & delicate in texture, perfectly moist and have the perfect flavor. The recipe uses the typical creaming method for making cakes. First you’ll beat together the butter and sugar until light & fluffy, followed by adding in the eggs and vanilla. After whisking together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl – you’ll then add them into the butter mixture alternating with the milk about 1/2 at a time. All in all, there aren’t too many more steps than making cupcakes from a box mix, and the homemade version is so totally worth the little extra effort.
Now let’s talk a little bit more about the ingredients here and what makes these cupcakes so delicious. (ATTN: BAKING SCIENCE COMING YOUR WAY).
- Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature before getting started. This ensure they can mix together easily, and you have uniform texture throughout your batter.
- REAL butter. Not margarine, not shortening, not oil. Some cake recipes will call for oil – which can work perfectly in rich chocolate cakes or carrot cakes because the strong flavors mask the taste of the oil. However, in vanilla cake a large part of the flavor comes from butter. So there’s no substitutions for my home girl from the dairy aisle here.
- Using 2 eggs add tenderness to your batter.
- Then to keep the cupcakes light in texture, we’re using cake flour. Cake flour has a lower protein content meaning that it creates baked goods with a lighter and more delicate crumb. If you don’t have cake flour on hand – see the Notes section of the recipe on how to make your own using all-purpose flour and cornstarch
- And finally, buttermilk. Buttermilk gives softness, tenderness & moisture to your cupcakes while also adding lots of flavor. It really creates cupcakes that have the most delicious texture, aren’t the least bit dry and balances out the sweetness. If you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own using the DIY version explained in the recipe notes.
Then for the frosting… As you can tell by the photos, I didn’t exactly follow the “Less is More” mentality. I swear it was just for photo taking purposes that I piped on so much (everyone that knows me is rolling their eyes….) But let me tell you the best trick I’ve learned for making your buttercream super fluffy and pipe-able. As you’re beating in the icing sugar to your butter, add about 1/2 cup at a time while mixing at about medium-low speed. Then once the half cup is combined turn up your mixer to medium-high for 5-10 seconds. Then turn it back down and repeat the process until you’ve reached your desired consistency. And Voila -perfect buttercream!
These cupcakes are light, fluffy, so moist & filled with delicious flavor. I recommend not waiting to your next birthday party to make a batch of these.
- 1 and 1/3 cups cake flour , spooned and leveled
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large , room temperature
- 1 large egg white ( you can discard the yolk)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup buttermilk , room temperature**
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 3 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (omit if you want pure white frosting)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
- food coloring if desired
- sprinkles for decorating
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a regular sized muffin tin with muffin/cupcake papers.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl using an lectric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, egg white and vanilla and continue beating until combined. Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed and add in about half of the flour mixture, followed by about half of the buttermilk. Add in the rest of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until almost combined, then add in the rest of the buttermilk and beat on low until all mixed in. Be careful not to over mix the batter.
- Fill the prepared muffin pan until each cavity is about 1/2 to 2/3 full - be very careful not to overfill each cupcake liner. Bake for 15-18 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and continue cooling.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy and begins to lighten in color. Turn the mixture to low and add in about 1/2 of the icing sugar, once combined turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 5-10 seconds. Turn the mixer back down to medium-low, and continue with the rest of the powdered sugar. Once the mixture gets thick, add in the salt, vanilla and whipping cream 1 tablespoon at a time. Go slowly with adding in the whipping cream and last cup of powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
Decorate the cupcakes using a knife, or a piping bag and your favorite piping tip (I typically use a star tip, such as the Wilton 1M).
*To make your own cake flour, measure 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of the all-purpose flour. Then add in 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Whisk together.
**If you don't have buttermilk, whole milk or 2% milk can be substituted. I don't recommend skim milk however, as it doesn't have as much flavor.