Perfect vanilla cupcakes topped with an easy vanilla frosting.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many cupcakes I’ve baked in the last few weeks. I’m talking dozens upon dozens of cupcakes trying to find the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. I know there are a million vanilla cupcake recipes out there, but I was on a mission to create a recipe that was easy to make and tasted good.
Vanilla cupcakes may seem a little boring, but I think it’s good to have one in your recipe collection that you can use over and over again. This recipe is the one I will be using all of the time from now on!
The base of the recipe is simple ingredients, most of which you probably have at home right now. You’ll start with some all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. When you’re measuring your flour don’t pack it into the cup. Be sure to stir the flour around first, spoon it into the measuring cup, then level if off with the back of a knife.
I always measure my flour with the spoon and level method to ensure that I’m measuring it correctly. Too much flour and you’ll end up with dense cupcakes, or muffins. I use a food scale when measuring ingredients too, which isn’t necessary, but it helps to know that I’m getting the exact measurements I need for a recipe.
Then come the wet ingredients, softened butter, granulated sugar, two large eggs, two teaspoons of vanilla, and sour cream. Yes. Sour cream!
I’ve tried milk, buttermilk, a mixture of different things and I love using sour cream. Not only does it add moisture to these cupcakes, but they’re sturdy enough to hold up to a nice pile of frosting yet light like a cupcake should be. I always use full fat sour cream when baking these cupcakes too.
And of course you have the vanilla frosting to go on top too. I like a lot of frosting on my cupcakes, so I use two full sticks of softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and just a bit of heavy cream. If you want just a little frosting, you can easily cut the recipe in half to make less.
One last thing when making these cupcakes is to only fill the liners just a little over halfway full. It may not seem like much batter, but they rise quite a bit in the oven and you end up with perfect cupcakes that aren’t overflowing the liners. I always get exactly 14 cupcakes with this recipe.
Ok, I think I’ve talked about cupcakes enough. Let’s get to baking!
- 1 and ⅓ cup (165 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 and ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 grams) full fat sour cream
- 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups (360 grams) confectioner's sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second muffin pan with 2 liners (this recipe will make 14 cupcakes). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Add in the sour cream and mix until fully combined.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
- Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them a little over half way full. You should end up with exactly 14 cupcakes.
- Bake in separate batches at 350F for 18-22 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Remove all of the cupcakes from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer) beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
- Add in the confectioner's sugar and vanilla and mix on low until well combined. Slowly add in the heavy cream, increase the speed to medium-high, and mix for a few more minutes until the frosting is smooth and well combined.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.