Moist Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

My moist vanilla cupcakes recipe is truly a delight! Light, fluffy and always delicious, this versatile cupcake recipe is a must in any baker’s repertoire!

Light fluffy vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and colourful sprinkles

Gimme all the cupcakes!

I love all sorts of cupcakes, from bright and breezy lemon cupcakes filled with my delicious lemon curd to more indulgent black forest cupcakes and boozy strawberry and prosecco cupcakes, this girl just cannot get enough!

But today, I wanted to take a moment to share with you the humble vanilla cupcake. It is so underrated, but it is so often used as the base for so many decorative cupcakes, I felt it deserved more recognition! So, I decided it was about time I shared with you, my friends, my divine moist vanilla cupcakes recipe!

A selection of moist vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream swirl.

What ingredients do I need to make this moist vanilla cupcakes recipe?

  • Unsalted butter: as with all my recipes, I like to use unsalted butter so I can control how much salt is in the bake. For best results, use butter at room temperature.
  • Caster sugar: I use caster sugar in this bake as I wanted to keep the colour lighter and I find caster sugar is less grainy in my bakes than granulated sugar.
  • Flour: I use plain flour for these cupcakes as it allows you to have control of the amount rising agent used in your bakes.
  • Baking powder/bicarbonate of soda: the raising agent for these cupcakes.
  • Eggs: helps with the structure of the cupcakes.
  • Vanilla: for delicious flavour!
  • Yogurt: keeps your cupcakes moist and tender.
  • Icing/powdered sugar: used to make your buttercream. Dissolves more easily so your buttercream isn’t grainy.
  • Sprinkles: need no explanation!

What equipment do I need to make cupcakes?

  • Cupcake tin*: you will need 12 hole cupcake/muffin tin to make these cupcakes.
  • Cupcake cases*: to bake your cupcakes in.
  • Digital kitchen scales*: whilst I do provide cup measurements for all my recipes, I always recommend using digital kitchen scales to weigh your ingredients out instead. Weighing out your ingredients is much more accurate than measuring by volume, as you do with cups, and will ensure better results. Digital scales are now relatively inexpensive and widely available.
  • Measuring spoons*: for measuring smaller quantites such as tablespoons (tbsp) and teaspoons (tsp), I would recommend getting a set of spoons as they would be far more accurate than using your everyday eating spoons.
  • Sieve*: to remove lumps from your dry ingredients, ensuring it is all mixed together evenly.
  • Stand mixer*/electric hand mixer*: I would highly recommend investing in a good electric mixer to help with your baking. This recipe can, of course, be done entirely by hand, but your bicep will get quite the workout! Having these tools makes it much easier and quicker to do your baking.
  • Jug*: to mix together the wet ingredients before combining with the dry.
  • Spatula*: for mixing and smoothing your cupcake batter and buttercream, plus scraping down the bowls as you mix.
  • Piping bag*: used for piping your buttercream on your cupcakes.
  • Piping nozzle*: I used a 1M nozzle here, to create a beautiful buttercream tower swirl.

How to make my moist vanilla cupcakes recipe

These cupcakes are actually relatively easy to bring together, there are just a few steps along the way. First, we need to make the cupcakes, then the buttercream and finally bring them both together.

Ingredients required to make the cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

Step 1: Line your cupcake tin with cupcake cases and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F while you make your cupcake batter.

Step 2: In a large bowl or your stand mixer, beat your butter until softened, then add in the sugar and beat together until completely combined and slightly paler.

Mixing the dry ingredients and butter to sand texture for vanilla cupcakes

Step 3: Sift your flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt into the same bowl and beat it all together until your mixture resembles damp sand.

Step 4: Tip in the eggs, yogurt and vanilla into your jug. Mix well until smooth and totally combined.

Mixing the wet ingredients together for my vanilla cupcakes recipe

Step 5: Tip in ¾ of the wet mixture into your dry mix and beat to combine thoroughly. Scrape your bowl down, then add in the remaining wet mix to your batter and beat again until mixed. Finally, turn the speed to high and beat for 30 seconds. Your cupcake batter should be totally smooth and wonderfully light and creamy.

Step 6: Spoon or scoop your cupcake mixture evenly between your 12 cases, then bake in your preheated oven for 17-20 minutes until springy to touch and a skewer or toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the tin, then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Spooning cupcake mixture into cases before baking

For the buttercream:

Step 1: To make your buttercream, first beat your butter for 3-4 minutes until really soft and spreadable and paler in colour. This is really important as it gives you a really light buttercream that is just heavenly and fluffy. Don’t skip this step!

Step 2: Add in half your icing sugar and mix in slowly until completely combined. Tip in the vanilla and milk and mix to combine in smoothly, scraping down your bowl as needed. Don’t worry if it looks a little curdled or runny, it will come together in the end! Now add in the remaining sugar and slowly mix it in. Scrape your bowl down again, then beat, on high, for about 2 minutes until pale, fluffy and cloud like.

Step 3: Using your spatula, mix and press your buttercream around your mixing bowl for about a minute or so. This smooths out your buttercream, pushing out air bubbles, so giving you a really silky buttercream to work with for your final step.

Step 4: Transfer your buttercream to your piping bag fitted with your piping nozzle. I find it easiest to place my piping bag into a glass to help me hold the bag open, so I can use both my hands to hold my mixing bowl and steady the piping bag as I fill it. Once you have filled your bag, twist the top of it to stop the buttercream from escaping out that way. Starting from the middle of each cupcake, pipe a swirl going out along the edges and coming back into the middle for the height of your buttercream. Remember to keep your pressure steady and your bag upright as you move it around your cupcake. Top each buttercream flourish with sprinkles of your choice. Enjoy!

the best vanilla cupcakes recipe

What can I do if I don’t have any cupcake cases?

If you’ve run out of cupcake cases, you can make your own. Simply find a glass that fits closely in your cupcake tin, then press a square of parchment around the bottom of your glass to shape it before placing your “cupcake case” in your cupcake tin and filling with batter before baking.

How do I know when my cupcakes are done?

You can tell your cupcakes are done because they will have risen and be firm on top, and springy when lightly pressed. You can also use a toothpick or wooden skewer, poked into the middle of the cupcake: you should have nothing come out sticking to this if you cupcake is baked.

How long do cupcakes last and how do I store them?

These cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container and will be fine kept at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Can you freeze cupcakes?

Absolutely! Most cupcakes will freeze well for up to three months.

How to freeze your cupcakes

I recommend freezing cupcakes undecorated. This helps avoid your buttercream being squashed and damaged when frozen. To freeze your cupcakes, make sure they are completely cool first, then wrap each cupcake tightly in cling film and place in a sturdy airtight container before freezing. Using a container will help protect the cupcakes from knocks in the freezer.

How to thaw your cupcakes

Cupcakes thaw very quickly. Depending on the temperature of your room, they can normally be completely thawed in just a few hours. To thaw your cupcakes, remove them from the container and cling film and place each cupcake on a cooling rack, brushing off any ice crystals as you do. Cover with a clean tea towel until you are ready to decorate them.

moist vanilla cupcakes recipe

Can I make these cupcakes gluten free and dairy free?

Absolutely! You can substitute your plain/all purpose flour for a gluten free flour, but do add an additional ¼ tsp Xanthan gum if you can tolerate it. For dairy free options similarly use a plant based butter, yogurt and milk.

Additional tips for making this moist vanilla cupcakes recipe

  • Make sure you’ve prepared your tools and ingredients before you start mixing: line your cupcake pan with cupcake cases, preheat your oven and get your ingredients out ready to use. It’s easy to forget something once you start mixing!
  • Take time to read through the recipe so you are familiar with what steps come next. Don’t skip details and instructions given as it could affect the results of your final bake.
  • Invest in a good vanilla extract. Vanilla flavour will give you a watered down flavour, so for the best flavour always go for a good quality vanilla extract over vanilla essence or vanilla flavouring.
  • Remember to beat your butter plenty enough when making your buttercream. Trust me, this step is totally worth the extra few minutes you’ll spend!
  • Ensure your cupcakes are completely cool before decorating with buttercream, otherwise you could end up with a melted liquid mess for buttercream and soggy cupcakes. No one wants that!
moist vanilla cupcakes recipe

Troubleshooting

If you have any other questions about this recipe, please use the comments below to ask away and I’ll do my best to help! And if you made and enjoyed this, I’d love to hear from you too!

And don’t forget: if you make this recipe for easy vanilla cupcakes, please do consider leaving a rating and review below, I would love to know how you enjoy making them and it really helps others looking for a recipe too! You could even post a picture on Instagram and tag me when you share it with the world, I’d love to see!

More cupcake recipes for you to enjoy

Don’t forget too to check out these other yummy cupcake recipes on my blog:

Lemon curd cupcakes: bright, light and just delightful, these will satisfy even the most die hard lemon lover in your love! Filled with my scrumptious homemade lemon curd, these cupcakes are totally divine!

Black Forest cupcakes: rich and decadent, these are the lightest chocolate cupcakes, filled with beautiful boozy cherries, Kirsch and a light buttercream to top. And don’t forget the cherry on the cake!

Coffee and walnut cupcakes: delicious soft fluffy coffee and walnut cupcakes, topped with a glorious silky coffee buttercream and a garnish of walnuts and coffee beans. Yum!

Happy baking, my friends! x

It's raining sprinkles on the best vanilla cupcakes!

Recommended equipment and ingredients I used *

Cupcake tinCupcake cases
Digital kitchen scalesMeasuring spoons
Stand mixerHand mixer
SieveJug
SpatulaIce cream scoops
Mixing bowlPiping bags
Piping nozzleSprinkles
* If you purchase any of the products through one of the links above, I will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you so much for your support!

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by movers and bakers Course: Cupcakes, Baking BasicsCuisine: British, AmericanDifficulty: a little effort
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Servings

16

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Baking time

17

minutes
Calories

346

kcal
Total time

1

hour 

The evergreen classic, perfectly moist vanilla cupcakes every time!

Ingredients

  • For the cupcakes
  • 110 g (½ cup) unsalted butter

  • 180 g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 215 g (1¼ cups + 1 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 125 g (½ cup) yoghurt (I use Greek)

  • For the buttercream
  • 200 g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter

  • 400 g (2¾ cups) icing (powdered) sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 tbsp milk

  • sprinkles to decorate (optional)

Directions

  • For the cupcakes
  • Line your cupcake tin with cupcake cases and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F while you make your cupcake batter.
  • In a large bowl or your stand mixer, beat your butter until softened, then add in the sugar and beat together until completely combined and slightly paler.
  • Sift your flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the same bowl and beat it all together until your mixture resembles damp sand.
  • In your jug, tip in the eggs, yogurt and vanilla. Mix well until smooth and totally combined.
  • Tip in ¾ of the wet mixture into your dry mix and beat to combine thoroughly. Scrape your bowl down, then add in the remaining wet mix to your batter and beat again until mixed. Finally, turn the speed to high and beat for 30 seconds. Your cupcake batter should be totally smooth and wonderfully light and creamy.
  • Spoon or scoop your cupcake mixture evenly between your 12 cases, then bake in your preheated oven for 17-20 minutes until springy to touch and a skewer or toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the tin, then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • For the buttercream
  • To make your buttercream, first beat your butter for 3-4 minutes until really soft and spreadable and paler in colour. This is really important as it gives you a really light buttercream that is just heavenly and fluffy. Don’t skip this step!
  • Add in half your icing sugar and mix in slowly until completely combined. Tip in the vanilla and milk and mix to combine in smoothly, scraping down your bowl as needed. Don’t worry if it looks a little curdled or runny, it will come together in the end! Now add in the remaining sugar and slowly mix it in. Scrape your bowl down again, then beat, on high, for about 2 minutes until pale, fluffy and cloud like.
  • Using your spatula, mix and press your buttercream around your mixing bowl for about a minute or so. This smooths out your buttercream, pushing out air bubbles, so giving you a really silky buttercream to work with for your final step.
  • Transfer your buttercream to your piping bag fitted with your piping nozzle. I find it easiest to place my piping bag into a glass to help me hold the bag open, so I can use both my hands to hold my mixing bowl and steady the piping bag as I fill it. Once you have filled your bag, twist the top of it to stop the buttercream escaping out that way. Starting from the middle of each cupcake, pipe a swirl going out along the edges and coming back into the middle for the height of your buttercream. Remember to keep your pressure steady and your bag upright as you move it around your cupcake. Top each buttercream flourish with sprinkles of your choice. Enjoy!

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