A good, vanilla cake recipe is essential, but you want a fantastic vanilla cake recipe that will keep you craving. This vanilla cupcake recipe is by far, the best I’ve found- airy, moist, perfectly cakey and the right balance of vanilla & sweetness. You’ll want to make this all the time, not just on special occasions!
I’ve been following SallysBakingAddiction for YEARS. I love her website, her vibe and every one of her recipes that I’ve ever tried has been a knockout. I truly appreciate all the hard work and testing she’s put into every recipe; she has been a valuable resource to me whenever I needed to whip something up and didn’t have time for a recipe to fail.
So when the recipe I’ve been using forever actually failed on me, I knew right where to turn. It got me searching for something that had fewer steps and was a little more straightforward.
Enter, Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes, and simply perfect they are.
As I said, this cake is perfectly cakey without being dense or dry. The flavor is also spot on. It is delightfully sweet and the vanilla aroma is intoxicating. What makes it extra good? Real vanilla bean. Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly use extract for this but do yourself a solid, and pick up some vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste.
Totally. Worth it.
You’ll wanna use it for any baked good that calls for vanilla!
I topped these cupcakes with my Nana’s Frosting recipe. More of that lovely vanilla.
I was not in the mood to make fancy frosting twirls & swirls and didn’t want to bother with sprinkles (gasp! is that allowed?!?). But I did poke around in my decorating box and found these adorable owl friends and matching wrappers to jazz up my cupcakes without any effort. To my fellow owl lovers, there’s a bunch of different kinds on Amazon!
Also, since I made these on a random Wednesday night, pretty piping is not needed, because in our house, we make cupcake sandwiches. Simply rip off the bottom stub, smoosh it down on the top and take a take a big ol’ bite!!
Arguably the best way to eat a vanilla cupcake.
A mini offset spatula is the best tool for frosting cupcakes. Super handy to have!
Filling your cupcake tins with batter isn’t always easy when you’re doing it by hand. For the perfect size, it should be approximately 2/3 of the way full. I keep it simple & consistent by using my cookie scoops. I use a 3 tbsp size scoop + a 2 tsp size scoop (one scoop of each) to achieve the perfect amount in each cup!
Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 1 and 3/4 cups cake flour *see notes for substitute
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 c (or 1 stick) unsalted butter room temp
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 3 large egg whites room temp
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- seeds scraped from 1/2 of a vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 c full-fat sour cream room temp (full fat greek yogurt could also be used!)
- 1/2 c whole milk room temp
For the Frosting
- 4 c powdered sugar
- 1/2 c (or 1 stick) butter
- 1/4 c vegetable shortening
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract or 2tsp vanilla bean paste
- 3-4 tbsp half and half, or whole milk
- 1 pinch salt
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth, then add the sugar and continue to beat on high until completely blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Beat on medium-high speed until mixed, then add in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
- On the lowest speed, begin to add the the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
- With the mixer still on the lowest speed, slowly pour in the milk until JUST combined. Stop mixing and run a spatula down the sides and the bottom of the bowl again. The batter will be thick.
- Pour or scoop the batter into the lined cupcake pan. Fill about 2/3 of the way (I feel like I was able to achieve the perfect amount using a 3tbsp sized ice cream scoop + a 2 tsp size scoop into each cup, if you happen to have both those tools onhand!)
- Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For around 30 mini cupcakes, bake for about 11-13 minutes, same oven temperature.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, shortening, sugar, salt & vanilla. Turn the mixer on for a few seconds to stir. Add 3 tbsp of the half and half or milk and turn the speed up to medium. If the frosting is still stiff, add the remaining liquid. Continue to beat on medium high until light and fluffy.
- Frost those cupcakes!