My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes

These perfect Vanilla Cupcakes will easily become your go-to recipe! This is the BEST Vanilla Cupcake Recipe EVER!

This might seem like a boring topic today…

Vanilla Cupcakes.



But let me ‘splain something to you.  This is serious-talk time.

Without a good vanilla cupcake in your arsenal you’re nothing.

Ok, that was a little extreme.

Certainly you’re SOMETHING.

Ok, let’s start over.


Vanilla Cupcakes.  They are the blueprint…the baseline…the test to whether to not you can actually bake.

Again, I guess that’s extreme… I need to settle down.


Let’s put it this way.  Anyone can bake a cupcake, fill it with frosting, top it with more frosting, drizzle some caramel and add some candy and have it taste good.  Because, HELLO, you can’t actually taste the cake!  I’m guilty of this 1000 times over, I get it.

But whenever I go to a bakery, I always, ALWAYS try their vanilla.  You have to.

Dry vanilla cake?  You’re dead to me.

Too crumbly?  DEAD.

Cornbread-ish…you know what I’m talking about…SIX FEET UNDER.


But a good vanilla cupcake and you’re forever my bestie, my boo, my numero uno.


I will tell you, I have tried my fair share of recipes, that’s for sure.  And I actually have a great white cake recipe that I LOVE, but it has vegetable shortening in it.  And I get death threats every time I share a recipe with shortening (I’ll share that another day when I’m feeling less fragile).

So today we’re talking vanilla…Buttery vanilla cupcakes.  Which is what I will present to you.


My favorite vanilla cupcake recipe…

Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes | Cookies and CupsI also have to tell you…I live in a house where boxed cake mix is the favorite.

Not MY favorite, but my husband’s for sure.  I have attempted vanilla cupcakes time and time again only to be shot down with, “too dense”, “just eh”, “not your usual” (and by usual he means Duncan Hines…

So when this recipe got the thumbs up from him I knew it was a keeper.


I will say that it is a little denser than a box cake…but it’s the perfect consistency for frosting.  Sometimes I find boxed cake a little too squishy to hold up to my beloved buttercream.

This one is fluffy, but not airy, if that makes any sense at all.

And the flavor…well, perfection.


Let’s get started.

First cut your butter into cubes.
 photo IMG_0303_zps6082eeee.jpgPut all your dry ingredients(sugar too) into the bowl of your mixer and turn it onto low and let the mixer combine them. Kinda like sifting or whisking, but easier!

Then drop our butter a few cubes at a time into the mixer…
 photo IMG_0311_zps80749498.jpgIt’ll come together like this…
 photo IMG_0317_zps5616a8dc.jpgKinda like that powdered Parmesan cheese in the can. (Sorry, it’s true)
Then add your milk and vanilla…
 photo IMG_0320_zps0a070fc8.jpgAnd mix that for about 2 minutes. Your batter will be thick, but smooth.

Fill your cupcake liners 2/3 full. This equals approximately 1/4 cup batter.
 photo IMG_0334_zpsa41564ab.jpgBake them for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and you will get perfect domes.
 photo IMG_0346_zps303c2ac7.jpgI frosted mine with my favorite buttercream frosting.
Totally easy and really delicious.

Feel free to get creative with your frosting. I used a Wilton 1M tip for the rosettes, and just an off-set spatula for the others that I edged in sprinkles.
Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes | Cookies and CupsYou should totally try these if you’re vanilla cupcake challenged.
Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes | Cookies and Cups
They’re my favorite vanilla cupcakes!




makes 24 cupcakes


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


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer add the first 5 ingredients and stir together using paddle attachment for about a minute. Enough to get them nice and combined.
  4. With mixer on low, drop in butter, a few cubes at a time continuing until all butter is in and mixer resembles coarse sand.
  5. Add eggs one at a time on low speed.
  6. With mixer still on low slowly pour in milk and vanilla. Turn mixer to medium and beat for 2 minutes until batter is smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  7. 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.
  8. Allow to cool completely before frosting.


recipe adapted from Back in the Day Bakery


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198 Comments on "My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes"

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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!

Averie @ Averie Cooks

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!


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.


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!


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’

Renee @ Awesome on $20

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.


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.


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.


Mimi @ Culinary Couture

So glad you went back to the basics today, I still haven’t found my perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. Hoping my lifelong search will end with this recipe!


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!

Becky @ A Calculated Whisk

These look great! I love how you decorated them, with the little flags and sprinkles just around the edges. Vanilla cake is my favorite, but I still haven’t found a go-to recipe and I will have to try these~


The sliced cupcake looks so fluffy,bookmarking this recipe to try-for sure!

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

There’s absolutely NOTHING boring about vanilla cupcakes, especially these right here!


Love the styling in these photos!! Really beautiful

Rachel Cooks

These do look perfectly perfect! Great to have a recipe like this in your arsenal.

Heather @ Snookie

No pressure, lol.

I’m going to try these!


I have to try these!

Cookbook Queen

I totally have that cookbook, but hadn’t tried these yet. They look amazing!!!

Courtney @ Pizzazzerie

Ooooh wow! I LOVE the styling on this, amazing!

Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

Oh, yay! These totally just added a little sunshine to my day! I love vanilla cake and truly, there’s nothing better or more necessary for a good baker to have under their belt. These are perfection, Shelly!

Julianne @Beyond Frosting@

Love this! I am always looking for a good vanilla cupcake to try. We too favor boxed cake mixes in our house for the ease of it really. But I love baking from scratch when I can!

Belinda @themoonblushbaker

I have to try this recipe for cupcakes because they look so perfect. You can never have too many cupcake recipes in my books.


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?


*salt, not sale. Sorry.


Does the butter need to be cold? Room temp?


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.

Melissa @ Treats With a Twist

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!

Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen

Yes! I always bake with butter! So nice to see a cupcake recipe that doesn’t require me to change that… 🙂

Love your frosting!


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.

Laura Dembowski

I’m obsessed with vanilla cupcakes. The way you are raving about these I will have to give them a try for sure!

Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes)

What a beautiful looking cupcake! Vanilla is always the very best flavor to me!


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.


vanilla cupcake + vanilla buttercream = heaven on earth!!!!
THANKS for sharing this recipe:0)

Laurie @ A Wiener Dog in the Kitchen

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.


These cupcakes look delicious! Vanilla is America’s favorite flavor for a reason! (:


This cupcake sounds delicious! There’s a reason vanilla is America’s favorite flavor! (:


Mmmm…you just can’t beat a great vanilla cupcake recipe!


Wow– I’ve been out of circulation for about a year and a half, but I’m glad I’m back to see this! Already saved it, and printed it for my kitchen. Can’t wait to try these!!

alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

These look SO good! I want one now

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

My husband has been requesting vanilla cupcakes – going to have to give this a try to see if he approves!

Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective

Cupcakes look delicious, Shelly! A good vanilla cupcake is hard to beat! 🙂


My kids would much rather have a vanilla cupcake over a chocolate one any day. I’ll have to try this one and surprise them!

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

There’s nothing plain with vanilla! I judge a bakery by it’s vanilla cake as well, it’s the one that sets the standard for the rest.

Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion

No one in my house will eat vanilla anything. So I will have to make these and eat them all myself

Tina | My Life as a Mrs

I’m embarrassed to say it but I’m totally a box mix girl when it comes to baked goods lol — but if your hubby gave these his approval… I’m totally trying these!!!! They look amazing!

Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

I’m on sweets overload from this weekend and these still sound absolutely heavenly!


I wish I had this recipe on Sunday!
I threw 3 cakes away.
Thanks, Shelly. I’m going to make these for my nephew’s bday.

Russell van Kraayenburg

Yum! Sometimes vanilla is the best way to go!


This looks like a great recipe…Have you used it to make a cake? If so how long did you bake for?


Love this sooo much and the photos are gorgeous!!!! 🙂