Cakes & Cupcakes

Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

I’m about to reveal a homemade vanilla cupcake recipe that you are going to turn to again and again. The texture is light, fluffy, and melt-in-your-mouth good. These individual vanilla cupcakes have become the star of any event. And for good reason. Did I mention they are easy?! 

They bake up perfectly domed with an almost crunchy sugary top making them completely irresistible.


Ingredients For Vanilla Cupcakes

Here’s why this cupcake recipe WORKS.

  • Soft butter helps to get your cupcake fluffier.
  • Flour is used as a binder.
  • Eggs create structure and stability within our cupcake batter.
  • Sugar to sweeten.
  • Baking soda makes the cupcakes light & fluffy and helps them rise.
  • Milk adds tenderness, flavor, and moisture.
  • Salt brings out the sweetness and balances the flavor.

Tips For A Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

  • The key to moist and fluffy cupcakes is to not overbeat the cupcake batter. Overbeating creates a dense cupcake that isn’t airy or fluffy.  
  • You can buy the cheapest flour, milk, or butter but you have to go all-in when it comes to vanilla. Use good vanilla for this recipe! It’s the main flavor and you want it to shine through. Wanna go fancy? Use some vanilla bean paste too while you’re at it.
  • Ingredients need to be at room temperature.
  • Usa a paddle attachment, whisk brings too much air.

Vanilla Cupcakes: Troubleshooting

What’s Wrong With My Cupcakes?


Too Cold Butter:

When the butter is too firm, it will be very resistant under your thumb when pressing. It’s very hard to shape your butter.

  • Mixing: When mixing the batter, not all of the butter will be incorporated and you’ll be left with lumps of butter. It’s not the batter consistency you want and it will appear quite yellow and even split.
  • End result: After baking, you’ll notice that they have peaked in the middle like volcanoes. It hasn’t risen hardly at all, except in the middle. You might even get a dark crust on the top (this is mostly the sugar, eggs & flour). The cupcake will appear yellow on the inside and feel quite dense.

Too Soft Butter:

If you soften your butter too much, or leave it in a hot room for too long, you will end up with a really oily butter. The butter has no resistance to it at all. Your finger will disappear in the butter, which you don’t want.

  • Mixing: When mixing the batter, the butter will be incorporated and batter will look very pale and oily.
  • End result: After cooling down the cupcakes might have shrunk and collapsed in the middle. The cupcake won’t have an even crumb.

Perfect Butter: ‘Squeezably soft’

You want it to be a little resistant, somewhere in the middle. You can leave a dent in the butter but the oil won’t stick to your finger.

  • Mixing: This batter will not be as pale and fluffy.
  • End result: The cupcakes have risen evenly and are gently rounded. The inside is very fluffy.

Mixing Time

You can over and under-mix your batter!

Overall 20 seconds = under-mixed

  • Mixing: The batter will look sticky and sloppy. It hasn’t incorporated any ingredients at all.
  • End result: A hard crust on the outside & quite yellow. Might even have a small bump on top. It’s very greasy around the cupcake case.

Overall 5 minutes = over-mixed

  • Mixing: The batter is very pale and fluffy and is volumized. There’s way too much air, not ideal for today’s cupcakes.
  • End result: These cupcakes have too much air inside of them. When taking out of the oven, they appear soufflé-like, but when cooled down, they shrunk in the middle. Weird texture inside.


  • Mixing: See recipe.
  • End result: An even rise and color. Fluffy inside & very delicious!

Oven Temperature

  • Too hot: Overcooked, way too brown, and cupcake might even peak. It has a very thick crust all around & a dry taste.
  • Too cold: A very pale yellow color, a slight sinking in the middle.

Vanilla Cupcakes With Vanilla Buttercream

My favorite recipe for homemade vanilla cupcakes! These cupcakes are soft, sweet, fluffy, and infinitely buttery.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: swiss meringue buttercream, Vanilla Cupcake
Servings: 12 Cupcakes



  • 125 g Self-raising flour
  • 125 g Caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 125 g Soft, unsalted butter
  • 2 Whole Large eggs
  • 1/2 Tbsp Whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 200 g Soft unsalted butter
  • 150 g Powdered sugar Sifted
  • 3 Tbsp Heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (375°F) with a Fan. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Cupcake Batter

  • Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the dry ingredients along with the soft unsalted butter & 2 large eggs on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  • Mix the vanilla extract with the milk until combined and pour into batter. Mix for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  • Give the batter one last 30 seconds of mixing. The batter will be volumized & lighter in color.
  • Pour/spoon the batter into the liners – fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides.
    Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Vanilla Buttercream

  • With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and pinch of salt on medium speed until creamy, for about 5 mins. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
    The butter will be pale in color & volumized with half times the size it was before you started whisking.
  • Add half of the powdered sugar and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 full minutes to incorporate more and more air.
  • Add the leftover powdered sugar, combine the vanilla with the cream and mix to combine and pour into your icing. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 full minutes.
  • Use immediately or cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.
    After freezing, thaw in the fridge then beat the frosting on medium speed for a few seconds until it’s creamy again.
    After thawing or refrigerating, beating in a splash of heavy cream or milk will help thin the frosting out again, if needed.


How To Store This Vanilla Cupcake Recipe?

These cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature.

Vanilla buttercream can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the fridge until ready to use.


If you make this vanilla cupcake recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #WhatsUpDoughBakes.



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