Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Absolutely perfect vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting are super moist, buttery and melt in your mouth. Topped with silky smooth vanilla buttercream frosting – a classic combination!

Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkled with white non pareils.

Cupcakes experienced a serious boon in popularity about 10 years ago and boutique cupcake shops started popping up in every neighborhood. Forget about traditional cupcake flavors; things like red velvet, mocha, salted caramel and peanut butter were all the rage. And as good as those cupcakes are (seriously, I love them ALL), is there anything more iconic or nostalgic that a simple vanilla or chocolate cupcake?

My husband will always choose a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, so I set about finding the best combination of each a long time ago and fell in love with this recipe!

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting!

Vanilla cupcake batter in a glass mixing bowl.

These cupcakes are extremely buttery, supremely moist, and totally melt in your mouth, plus they come together in absolutely no time at all, which make them a quick and easy weeknight or weekend project.

A lot of cupcake recipes use oil instead of butter to keep them moist, but for a vanilla cupcake, I much prefer the pronounced butter flavor which shines through so wonderfully.

Scooping vanilla cupcake batter into cupcake tins.

Cupcake liners filled with batter and ready to be baked.

Why Are My Vanilla Cupcakes Dense, Crumbly and Taste Like Cornbread?

One of the biggest complaints about homemade vanilla cupcakes is that they often turn out dense or (horror of horrors) taste like cornbread! So what gives? Why does this happen? How can you prevent it?

  • Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. This is essential – be sure that the butter is FULLY softened and that the sour cream and eggs are also at room temperature. If the ingredients are not all at the same temperature, they will not incorporate properly or thoroughly, which can cause a dense cupcake.
  • Do not overmix the batter. This goes for most baked goods! Overmixing can cause too much gluten to be developed, which can also cause dense cupcakes.

Piping vanilla frosting onto vanilla cupcakes.

This is my absolute favorite frosting recipe, one that I began using a long time ago, and is the base for such things as my Espresso Buttercream Frosting (which made an appearance on top of the Mocha Cupcakes), Maple-Bacon Buttercream Frosting (which topped the Pancake Cupcakes), and The Best Chocolate Buttercream for Cupcakes. Needless to say, it is my go-to frosting recipe, and I hope it will become yours too!

With all of those crazy cupcake flavors floating around today, a simple recipe for vanilla cupcakes and vanilla frosting is a must have for a baker of any experience level!

Vanilla cupcakes with a bite taken out of one.

Four years ago: Greek Easter Bread
Five years ago: Rhubarb-Ginger Crumble
Six years ago: DIY Vanilla Pudding Mix
Nine years ago: Pigu

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Servings 12 cupcakes
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Total 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Michelle
Absolutely perfect vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting are super moist, buttery and melt in your mouth. Topped with silky smooth vanilla buttercream frosting - a classic combination!


For the Cupcakes

  • cups
    cake flour
  • ¾
    granulated sugar
  • ½
    baking powder
  • ¼
    baking soda
  • ¼
  • ½
    unsalted butter
    (cubed and at room temperature)
  • teaspoons
    vanilla extract
  • ½
    whole milk
    (room temperature and divided)
  • 3
    sour cream
    (room temperature)
  • 1
    (room temperature)
  • 1
    egg white
    (room temperature)

For the Vanilla Frosting

  • 1
    unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • cups
    powdered sugar
  • 1
    vanilla extract


  1. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.

  2. Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the milk, the sour cream, the egg, and the egg white; set aside.

  4. Beat the dry ingredients on low speed for 15 seconds to combine.

  5. Add the butter, vanilla, and remaining ¼ cup of the milk. Mix on medium speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

  6. With the mixer on medium speed, add the wet ingredients in 3 additions, beating for 15 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional 15 seconds. It’s okay if there are some lumps, do not overmix!

  7. Divide the batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out to a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Make the Vanilla Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.

  9. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Frost cupcakes as desired. The cupcakes can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • You can store the frosting in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using.
Nutritional values are based on one cup cake


Calories: 429kcal
Fat: 25g
Saturated fat: 15g
Trans fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 77mg
Sodium: 92mg
Potassium: 69mg
Carbohydrates: 50g
Fiber: 1g
Sugar: 38g
Protein: 3g
Vitamin A: 764%
Vitamin C: 1%
Calcium: 34%
Iron: 1%

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

This recipe was originally published on October 28, 2010.

[photos by Whitney Wright]