Perfectly moist vanilla cupcakes topped with whipped vanilla buttercream and sprinkles is the ultimate, classic bake and is perfect as a birthday treat.
People ask me for my vanilla cupcake recipe all the time (I used to run a cupcake business many years ago). Every now and then, friends and family will beg and plead for me to bake them a batch. I’ve always found this quite funny because you guys, there is no simpler recipe than this one. It’s literally a one-bowl batter that takes 5 minutes to whip up. And it delivers perfectly moist delectable cupcakes every time.
They are the perfect base for any frosting you’d like to top them with but here I’ve kept the vanilla theme by topping them with swirls of whipped vanilla buttercream. Whipping the buttercream results in smooth, light buttercream which adds just the right amount of sweetness to the cupcakes. Top them with a sprinkle of sprinkles and everyone’s happy because who doesn’t love sprinkles? No one that’s who!
How to make the best vanilla cupcakes
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This is an important step because you can get a lot of air into the batter this way without over-working the flour. Add the eggs and vanilla followed by the dry ingredients, milk and yogurt. Spoon the batter into cupcake cases and bake until golden brown and cooked through. Allow to cool before piping on the whipped butttercream.
Do you need vanilla extract for cupcakes?
Vanilla extract is often seen as a superior product and is more expensive than vanilla essence. I think it was Cook’s Illustrated who recently did a taste test and found that vanilla essence often won the taste test when compared to extract in baked goods. I think if you can find a good quality essence it should be fine used in baking. But when in doubt, stick with a scraped vanilla bean or extract.
How do you keep cupcakes moist?
The introduction of fat or dairy into a cupcake recipe is what keeps it moist. Oil, butter, yogurt and buttermilk are all good ways to keep a cupcake recipe moist. I love yogurt-cakes as they are always moist and light and that’s why I prefer to use yogurt in many of my cake recipes.
Do I need to keep buttercream icing in the fridge?
If it’s not terribly hot outside, it’s best to keep buttercream at room temperature as the butter will firm up and make it unpleasant to eat and impossible to decorate a cake or cupcake with.. If the temperature is too hot, you can refrigerate the buttercream and allow to come to room temperature before serving/using to decorate.
More delicious cupcake recipes:
Classic vanilla cupcakes with whipped buttercream
- 1/2 cup/ 1 stick butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract/seeds from one vanilla pod
for the whipped vanilla buttercream
- 100 g butter room temperature
- 400 g icing sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- sprinkles for decorating
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/350ºF and line a 12-hole muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix through then add the milk, yogurt and vanilla.
- Mix until everything is combined then spoon the batter into the cupcake liners.
- Place into the oven and allow to bake for 12-15 minutes until the cupcakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- To make the buttercream, whip the butter until pale then add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and whip until soft and fluffy. Add a little milk if your buttercream is too stiff.
- Transfer the whipped buttercream to a piping bag and pipe swirls of frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.
- Top with sprinkles and serve. (These cupcakes can be made the day before you intend to serving them.)