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Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

When I first started my "no more boxed mixes ever" baking journey, I thought that all cake recipes could be transformed into cupcake recipes simply by baking them in cupcake liners. It totally works with boxed mixes, so why wouldn't it work with scratch recipes? Ha! Oh how little I knew back then.

You see, I was intentionally seeking out recipes that would perform well being stacked, carved, and/or covered with fondant. I loved the way the cakes were coming out, but it was not exactly what you want in a cupcake. It only took a few failed batches of cupcakes to realize that I had found a vanilla cake recipe that I ADORED, but it clearly wasn't working very well for cupcakes. Enter: the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe search.

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

If you don't know by now, I like to simplify and streamline things in the kitchen as much as possible. If making great cupcakes meant using a different recipe all together, then it needed to be simple. When I had narrowed my search down to an acceptable list of recipes, I started testing. I tried a few, but they all needed...tweaking. So I played with them, adjusted, and finally landed on a simple, quick, and easy cupcake with just the right qualities. Want to know how easy? Follow along!

Scratch Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

First you measure all your dry ingredients into the bowl of your mixer and set aside. This recipe can be mixed with a hand mixer or a whisk, especially if you're cutting the recipe in half.

Then measure all the wet ingredients into a second bowl and mix together. I like to measure my milk first into a larger liquid measure, then add the eggs, vanilla, and oil to it. Less dishes!

Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch

At this point, I kick the mixer on to a low speed and let it do the work of combining all the dry ingredients. This usually takes a minute or two. It doesn't matter, you can't over mix dry ingredients.

With the mixer still on low, I slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry and let it mix until they're combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix a little longer to make sure it's all good.

When your batter is ready, it'll be a little runny. This is because it's oil based and chock full of moisture. It'll be ok. At this point, I've already prepared my cupcake pan with some liners and preheated my oven to 375 F like the good baker that I am. I definitely don't scramble to throw some liners in the pan while the batter is mixing. Nope, not me.

I love this 24 cupcake pan that I got from Amazon a million years ago. Ok, it was 2012, but it may as well have been a million. While it is a little bulky, it has come in handy when I need to bake a whole lot o'cupcakes.

Vanilla Cupcake from Scratch

If you're not using a scoop to fill your cupcake liners, do yourself a favor and start. Seriously. It's the only way to not make a gigantic mess and get the same amount into each tin. This scoop is a number 16, which refers to the size. I've also had it for a million years, but found a similar, well reviewed one here. I usually fill my cupcake liners somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 full. The full recipe yields about 30 cupcakes, so you'll either need a second pan, or just wait and bake the rest in a second batch.

Now here's the little secret to getting a pretty little dome on these cupcakes. I bake them at 375 F, not the typical 350 F for about 18 minutes. You can bake them at 350 F, but you won't get a dome. I like a little dome on my cupcakes.

After they've cooled, top them with your favorite frosting. I used my classic vanilla buttercream on these. Add some sprinkles or other toppers and you're good to go!

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes


Yield 30 cupcakes

325 G Flour

414 G Sugar

3 TSP Baking Powder

1 TSP Salt

1 1/2 Cups Milk

1/2 Cup Canola or Vegetable Oil

1 TBSP Vanilla Extract

2 Eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and prepare your cupcake pans with liners of your choice.

  2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of your mixer

  3. Combine the milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs with a whisk.

  4. Turn the mixer on low speed and let mix for about 1-2 minutes to combine the dry ingredients.

  5. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour in the dry ingredients and let it mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix a bit longer if necessary.

  6. Using a number 16 scoop, fill the cupcake liners 2/3 to 3/4 full.

  7. Bake for 18 minutes or until the top of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed with your finger.

  8. Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack and top with frosting of your choice.