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This moist and fluffy vanilla cupcake recipe is perfect for parties, celebrations, or just because. It’s so flavorful!

For more yummy cupcakes, try Cookies and Cream Cupcakes, Lemon Cupcakes, or Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

Vanilla cupcake recipe topped with frosting and sprinkles.

Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe!

Classic vanilla cupcakes don’t get the dessert love they deserve, mostly because they can easily fall flat.

Fortunately, this classic vanilla cupcake recipe does NOT do that and is the BEST vanilla cupcake recipe that is the perfect base for so many other cupcake recipes.

Why we love these cupcakes:

  • Classic. These are fluffy, soft, light, and simply perfect vanilla cupcakes that will melt in your mouth.
  • Easy. Cupcakes are a quick and easy dessert!
  • Change it up. They can be customized for any special event or occasion. Add mix-ins, change up the frosting, or get creative with the decorations.

Ingredients

  • all-purpose flour – or cake flour for a silkier texture
  • sugar
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • unsalted butter 
  • egg whites check out this post for How to Separate Egg Whites
  • sour cream
  • whole milk 
  • vanilla extract
  • sprinkles

Room temperature. All refrigerated items should be at room temperature before use

How to Make Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. PREP. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line 12 wells of a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. BATTER. In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until combined – but do not over-mix.
  3. BAKE. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups ⅔ full. Bake 18-20 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched lightly. Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire rack.
  4. FROSTING. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and 1 tablespoon of milk, and mix. Add additional milk as needed to make a smooth frosting. Increase the speed to high and beat 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  5. DECORATE. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Make this batter into a cake! Bake in a 9×13 pan for a thinner cake or a 11×7 pan for a thicker cake. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Getting ready to frost vanilla cupakes.

Recipe Tips

Best vanilla cupcake recipe with frosting on top.

Storing Tips

  • Make ahead of time. Make these cupcakes up to a day ahead of time. Store cupcakes in an airtight container on the counter. The frosting can be stored in a container in the fridge.
    • To make them further in advance, place cooled cupcakes in a freezer-safe container. Store the frosting in a separate freezer-safe container. Freeze both for 2-3 months. 
  • STORE. Leftover cupcakes, frosted or unfrosted, can be stored in an airtight container for several days and longer if refrigerated.
  • FREEZE. Unfrosted cupcakes can be placed in a freezer bag and frozen for 2-3 months. 
    • To freeze frosted leftovers, flash-freeze the cupcakes by placing them on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once solid wrap each piece with plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Remove the plastic wrap before thawing. 
Close up of frosted vanilla cupcake recipe on a cupcake stand.

For More Cupcakes:

4.95 from 39 votes

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
This moist and fluffy vanilla cupcake recipe is perfect for parties, celebrations, or just because. It's so flavorful!
Servings: 16
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Ingredients 

Vanilla Cake

  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 3 egg whites room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream room temperature
  • ½ cup whole milk room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
  • sprinkles for topping (optional)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  • To make the cake, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, mix butter, egg whites, sour cream, milk, and vanilla with a hand mixer. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined, but do not overmix.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups two-thirds full.
  • Bake for 18–20 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched lightly. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  • While cupcakes cool, make the frosting: Beat butter with a hand mixer on low speed until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and 1 tablespoon milk and mix. Add additional milk as needed to make a smooth frosting. Increase the speed to high and beat 3–5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.

Video

Notes

Make Ahead: You can make both the cupcakes and frosting up to a day ahead of time, but wait to add the frosting to the cupcakes until just before serving. Store cupcakes in an airtight container on the counter. The frosting can be stored in a container in the refrigerator. 
Make It a Cake: Bake in a 9-x-13-inch baking dish for a thinner cake or in a 7-x-11-inch baking dish for a thicker cake. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes for the thinner cake and about 40 minutes for the thicker cake, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Variations: This vanilla base is easy to change up with a variety of add-ins!
o Funfetti Cupcakes: Fold rainbow sprinkles into the batter before baking.
o Chocolate Chip Cupcakes: Fold mini chocolate chips into the batter before baking.
o Holiday Cupcakes: Fold holiday sprinkles into the batter before baking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 387kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 73mg, Potassium: 92mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 681IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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25 Comments

  1. Hello! I’m thinking of making these cupcakes for my family. I do not have sour cream but I have milk! Do you think I could add milk instead of sour cream? I do also have buttermilk if that’s better to use instead of whole milk. Please get back to me ASAP! Thanks.

    -Sammy

    1. Do you use egg whites purely to preserve the color? If so, how would I sub out egg white for the whole egg? Want to give this a try but I’d prefer to just use whole eggs if possible.

      1. Th egg whites give the cake that light, fluffy texture too! The full egg will change the texture a bit.