My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes

These Vanilla Cupcakes will easily become your go-to cupcake recipe! This simple and sweet dessert, made completely from scratch using the reverse creaming method, is the best vanilla cupcake you will ever taste! These soft, light, and buttery cupcakes topped with a swirl of buttercream are guaranteed to be your new favorite too!

Fluffy, soft vanilla cupcakes

Today we’re taking it back to basics! This vanilla cupcake recipe is one I shared many years ago, back in 2013 but I thought needed an update. The recipe remains the same, but I wanted to include some more tips and tricks for ultimate cupcake success. PLUS, I felt like they needed some pretty new pictures!

Everyone Needs a Vanilla Cupcake Recipe That Always Turns Out Perfect!

A classic vanilla cupcake might seem like a basic or no-brainer type of recipe to bake, but I will tell you that it took me many years to perfect! There was a lot of trial and error that went into this recipe to get the texture moist, light, and soft! So many recipes I have tried in the past have been too dense, or too dry, or too too oily. But this one is soft, buttery, and light in texture with the perfect dome.

Buttery, soft vanilla cupcakes

How To Make The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

The trick I use in this cupcake recipe is the Reverse Creaming Method. I have used this in a few other recipes on my site, like my Confetti Cupcakes and LOVE how they turn out. Reverse creaming produces an ultra-fine crumb, which makes these cupcakes super tender!

What Is Reverse Creaming?

Reverse Creaming is when you mix the butter into the dry ingredients before mixing in the remaining ingredients and liquids. Generally when you bake a cake you cream the butter and sugar together to start and then add the dry ingredients in alternating additions with the wet.

Reverse creaming evenly combines the butter into the dry ingredients creating a coarse sand texture, coating all the dry ingredients with fat, and then add in the remaining ingredients. We’re always told when making cake batter NOT TO OVER MIX! because over-mixing batter can cause more gluten to form, creating a denser, less light and airy cake. BUT reverse creaming coats the flour in fat which minimizes gluten formation. This also creates smaller air particles being formed in the mixing, producing a finer crumb, and a perfect dome.

How To Make The BEST Vanilla Cupcakes

How To Make The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

Let’s get started, the process is super easy, but just make sure to follow a few quick steps to ensure perfection!

  1. Use room temperature butter cut into cubes. This allows the butter to mix into the dry ingredients easily and efficiently without large clumps!
  2. Place all your dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer and turn the mixer onto low and mix for 1 minute. This essentially does the same thing as whisking or sifting the dry ingredients, only easier!
  3. When you mix the butter in, start with a few cubes at a time. Bu the time it’s all mixed in you will want it to look like Parmesan Cheese!
  4. After you add your wet ingredients to the dry make sure you scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so you make sure you get everything mixed in evenly.
  5. When you fill your liners with the batter, fill them 2/3 full, which is about 1/4 cup. I use a measuring cup, or a large scoop to portion it out to ensure every liner is filled exactly the same.
  6. Bake them until the domes have formed and they are set!

Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcake recipe

What Frosting Recipe Should I Use On Vanilla Cupcakes?

  • Buttercream. Of course this is my go-to on vanilla cupcakes! And it’s what I have frosted on the cupcakes in the pictures featured here!
  • Chocolate Frosting. A vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting is a classic, and my Creamy Chocolate Frosting Recipe is the BEST!
  • Perfect Party Frosting. This recipe is a marshmallow buttercream with sprinkles INSIDE! It’s a fantastic recipe!
  • Pumpkin Butter Frosting. This is a great recipe to give your cupcakes a fall twist!
  • 2 Ingredient White Chocolate Buttercream. Creamy, decadent, with the perfect amount of sweetness, this recipe is silky and rich!

Feel free to get creative with your frosting. I used a Wilton 1M tip for the swirls in these photos, and it’s my go-to piping tip! And of course don’t forget the sprinkles!


My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 35 min
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This vanilla cupcake recipe is easy, soft, and moist! The perfect birthday cupcake topped with a tall swirl of frosting!


  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Recipe for Vanilla Buttercream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the cake flour, all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and stir together using paddle attachment for 1 minute on low speed.
  3. With mixer still on low, drop in butter, a few cubes at a time, continuing until all butter is in and mixer resembles coarse sand.
  4. Add eggs one at a time on low speed until combined.
  5. With mixer still on low slowly pour in milk and vanilla. Turn the mixer to medium and beat for 2 minutes until batter is smooth, scraping sides of bowl as necessary, making sure batter is well combined.
  6. Fill liners 2/3 full (about 1/4 cup batter) and bake for 15-20 minutes until centers are set and toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Keywords:: cookies and cups, vanilla cupcake recipe, best vanilla cupcake recipe, cupcake recipe, buttercream

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The Best Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe


Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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238 Responses
  1. Shelly,since I’m not much of a chocolate lover, vanilla is Numero Uno in my book. I love Cheryl Day from Back in the Day Bakery and actually saw her make this recipe on Paula Deen’s cooking show. Yours look even better and prettier than hers did. I’m bookmarking this one now and will be making it very soon. I think I just might need to get my hands on that book, too.

  2. The vanilla cupcake is truly the mark of good baking. I can’t tell you how many crappy white and yellow cake recipes looking for perfection. It’s mind boggling. I’ll definitely try these because I like the domes. Yum.

  3. Kate

    You are hilarious! I laughed out loud at my desk over the shortening death threat comment. Go ahead and share! Oh, and I prefer vanilla cupcakes, can’t wait to try this recipe.

  4. I have and love that cookbook too!
    I always love getting crazy with my cupcakes, but my brother and my fiance like simple, vanilla cake. So it’s so important that the basic cake tastes amazing.
    I think it’s great to always ask a bakery for their most basic cake to really see who they are! This became really evident to me when I was wedding cake tasting, because bakeries (I tried several…just to check)give you just squares of their cake (naked!) and piles of frosting to mix and match. And if the cake isn’t good all on its own…next!

  5. I made plain old vanilla cupcakes this weekend because my brother refuses to like any other flavor and it was his birthday…and I think this was pretty much almost exactly the recipe! I’ll need to make more to be sure, though. Definitely.

  6. I love a good vanilla cupcake and these sound wonderful. I do have a potentially stupid question – what’s the difference between kosher sale and regular salt? Can I use sea salt?

    1. Shelly

      REgular table salt (iodized salt) is very fine and can easily lead to over-salting. Kosher salt has coarser grind which is nicer for baking. Sea salt works too, as long as it’s not coarse for this recipe!

  7. I love that you posted a classic. Everyone needs this recipe. Including me! I never make classics, but I have no idea why. I mean they are everyones favorite!

    This recipe looks so goo and your pictures are so cute!

  8. Heeheehee! Your post made me giggle. I’ve been looking for a solid vanilla cupcake recipe… so thanks for sharing! I’ll give yours a go and report back.


  9. I just adore your recipes and am always on a quest for the “perfect vanilla” cupcake! I’ll prob. use vanilla paste, because, well, you can never get too much vanilla flavor.

  10. How odd that people get upset over shortening. I mean, it’s not my favorite ingredient, but really? I imagine vegans find butter just as offensive. You can’t please everybody. Even with cupcakes, it seems. These look great. I can’t wait to try tem.

  11. Hello love! What about the eggs? Do you whip the milk and vanilla with the eggs and add it all together? Would you sub cream for the milk? You have inspired me to give these a go. I like your assertion that a great vanilla cupcake is the benchmark.
    Soon as I find out about the egg bit. Thanks!

    Patty ‘Mac’

  12. Christiana

    Looks beautiful! One thing…the eggs? I’m assuming they’re added one by one after the butter step? Or do you whisk them with the other wet ingredients and add them that way? Thanks!

      1. Patty

        I am cake, cupcake chalenged. The batter is even yummy! Just took out ofvovrn and cooling. They look like they turned out good. It is for my hubby’s birthday and he requires cream cheese frosting. So, can you use this same recipe for a two layer cake?

  13. These look amazing – just like the perfect vanilla cupcake. With a small springy crumb and buttery vanilla flavour – I have always liked the cake part the best. I know, sacrilege! But that’s how I feel.

    1. Chastity

      Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I am excited about baking these awesome cupcakes in the near future. I am a beginner when it comes to Baking and have some questions.
      1. Do you have to use Cake Flour or can you increase the amount of All Purpose Flour?
      2. What is Kosher Salt? Can you substitute regular salt?
      3. Can you use Buttermilk in place of regular milk?
      4. Would it hurt to add a package of Vanilla Instant Pudding and if so would I need to omit any ingredient if I did?
      Lord look at me question away. Haha. Ya sure you just don’t want to come and bake them for me. ?. Thanks for all of your help. If you don’t mind can you email me response because it may be a few days before I get back on site
      BakingforDummies ???

      1. Shelly

        1) If you don’t have cake flour you can create your own by: Measuring out the amount needed for your recipe. For every 1 cup of flour remove 2 Tbsp of flour, now add 2 Tbsp of Cornstarch for every 1 cup of flour. Sift 5-6 times and it’s ready-to-use cake flour.
        2) If you use table salt decrease the amount by 1/4 teaspoon.
        3) For this recipe you don’t need to use buttermilk, but you certainly could.
        4) I wouldn’t add pudding to this recipe. You would need to alter the other measurements.


  14. I have the Back in the Day book and have always wondered about their recipe! Good to know it’s a keeper!

    And I love the reference to ‘your usual’ by your husband being Duncan Hines 🙂 Too funny!

    I am loving your recent Sugar Cookies post and this one b/c as bloggers sometimes we get caught up in the complicated things and crazy recipes but having really solid basic recipes is the best!

  15. I Loved your post and wholeheartedly agree with your views about vanilla cake! I always try vanilla cake as a test to the bakeries true worth! Your cupcakes look lovely and I can’t wait to give the recipe a try… Thanks for sharing!

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Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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