Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

I’ve made hundreds of these vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream over the last few years. Since I have four kids, and a big family, I have plenty of opportunities to make cupcakes for birthday parties. For years, I was disappointed with all the different homemade vanilla cupcake recipes I tried. Most were too dry or bland. I set out to create my own vanilla cupcake recipe that is moist with a buttery, vanilla flavor, and I’ve landed on this cupcake that we love!

Since making these for my own kids parties over and over, I’ve had several friends and family members request them for their own celebrations. I make a handful of different flavors, but vanilla is always one of the most popular. I enjoy making cupcakes, but I’d love to pass on this recipe for anyone who wants to try their hand at making vanilla cupcakes from scratch. They really are simple!

Since vanilla is the star of this recipe, I highly recommend making your own vanilla extract to get the best possible flavor. Read through my instructions for homemade vanilla extract here. Otherwise, use the best quality extract you can find. Always make sure you’re using real vanilla extract.

I’ve opted to use a combination of oil and butter here, to keep the cupcakes moist while still delivering a great flavor. I tested cupcakes with buttermilk, but since I don’t always have it on hand, I preferred using both whole milk and sour cream. These contribute to a moist result and improved flavor.

My homemade vanilla buttercream really pushes these cupcakes over the top! I love making buttercream from scratch. It is incredibly quick and easy but tastes 100x better that anything you can buy from the grocery store! Trust me. It’s worth the extra five minutes. 🙂

This recipe also translates well into mini cupcakes. They’re adorable. Especially covered in sprinkles! I’ve left notes about how to convert it in the recipe card to follow.

Another great thing about this vanilla cupcake recipe is that it can be customized to suit your tastes. You can add sprinkles or different flavors of extracts to the cake or frosting. Chocolate ganache would be a great swap for the vanilla buttercream here, too. Once you master this basic cupcake and buttercream, the options are endless!

Enjoy! 🙂


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Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Simple, homemade vanilla cupcakes with the best vanilla buttercream. A classic birthday favorite!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 dozen



  • 3 ⅓ all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp. Baking soda
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 1 cup oil canola or vegetable
  • 3 eggs room temp
  • 1 T. Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream room temp
  • 1 cup whole milk room temp


  • 3 sticks butter softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 T. whole milk room temp
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and fill cupcake pans with liners.
  2. Melt butter in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together in large mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients, except butter, in large glass measuring cup.
  5. Whisk wet ingredients into dry just until combined, then add butter while still mixing, until all incorporated and smooth. Take care not to overmix.
  6. Bake for about 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

For the Frosting:

  1. Using a stand mixer or beaters, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on low speed.
  2. Add milk and vanilla then beat for another minute. Start with 2 tablespoons of milk and increase up to four, as needed to reach desired consistency. 

Recipe Notes

The cake batter makes about 2-2½ dozen cupcakes, depending on how high you fill the cups. You may have some batter left over. 

For mini cupcakes, half a batch of this cupcake batter makes 4 dozen mini cupcakes. Bake for about 12 minutes.

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