Simple Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch

Learn how to make Simple Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch! Light, moist, and fluffy, these cupcakes have the perfect balance of flavor and are topped with a heavenly buttercream frosting.

Learn how to make Simple Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch! Light, moist, and fluffy, these cupcakes have the perfect balance of flavor and are topped with a heavenly buttercream frosting.

I feel like every baker, whether they’re a beginner or a veteran, should have a trusty dusty (the recipe, not the cupcakes ;) ) basic vanilla cupcake recipe under their belt.

There something about cupcakes that’s just so timeless—a mini cake with a smear or swirl of frosting. 

When it comes to special occasions, I tend to lean more towards cupcakes than cake for dessert for a couple of reasons. For one, I don’t have to worry about cupcakes coming out of the pan nicely (because it’s almost always my luck that cakes won’t). 

Learn how to make Simple Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch! Light, moist, and fluffy, these cupcakes have the perfect balance of flavor and are topped with a heavenly buttercream frosting.

Even if I do everything right, from flouring and greasing to putting down parchment paper and leaving some overhang, nothing seems to work. But with cupcakes, they each have their own individual liner, so you’re pretty much guaranteed that they’ll come out nicely. 

Second of all, they’re easier to serve. No need for a plate or a fork, or even a serving spatula, which as you can imagine makes clean-up a breeze. 

Learn how to make Simple Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch! Light, moist, and fluffy, these cupcakes have the perfect balance of flavor and are topped with a heavenly buttercream frosting.

As you probably already know (or have probably already witnessed), my decorating skills are not top notch. Not in the slightest. 

Like they’re almost embarrasing. 

But to fill you in on how I decorated these non-beauts, I just used a star piping tip and tried two different methods. The first method I tried was the “ice-cream cone swirl,” where you start from the outside of the cupcake and make your way towards the center.

The other method I tried was the “rose swirl,” which is where you start piping from the center of the cupcake and work your way out, tapering the frosting off when you reach the edge.

Learn how to make Simple Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch! Light, moist, and fluffy, these cupcakes have the perfect balance of flavor and are topped with a heavenly buttercream frosting.

I hope you guys enjoy these cupcakes as much as my family and I did. They were a HUGE hit with the younger kids, but that’s a given! This is a recipe I’ve turned to time and time again because they are such a crowd-pleaser and they’re so easy to make!

Here’s the recipe:

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 24
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
For the cupcakes:
  • 1½ cups pure cane sugar
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the buttercream frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Place the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Combine the milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Alternate adding the milk/vanilla mixture and the dry mixture to the whipped butter/sugar mixture. Beat on medium speed for 1½ minutes, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture, and beat for another 30 seconds.
  6. Fill paper liners ⅔ of the way with batter, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before topping with buttercream.
Buttercream frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, or until pale in color and fluffy.
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
  3. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time. Optionally, you can add in a few drops of natural food coloring.

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