These moist, tender, and delicious Buttercream Topped Vanilla Cupcakes are worthy of any special occasion. They are perfect for those who prefer vanilla cake over all other flavors.

My daughter, Katie, was throwing a party for her friend who was moving to Buffalo plus celebrating her own plus another girlfriend’s birthday. One of the guests of honor requested a vanilla dessert so I whipped up this Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe to rave reviews.

Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes on a small white plate.

Why You Must Make

  • When I need a winning dessert, I head over to the blog of my friend, Danielle. Hugs & Cookies is full of all sorts of decadent creations and I found the perfect homemade cupcakes to test.
  • This recipe for simple vanilla cupcakes started with my favorite Ghirardelli cupcake recipe topped with a lovely buttercream from Magnolia Bakery. Sheer bliss. 
  • They’re perfect when you are baking for someone who doesn’t like chocolate desserts. Plus, Katie’s friends loved every bite!

Ingredient Notes

Tender with the perfect crumb, these white cupcakes disappeared quickly. With so many chocoholics in the family, it’s hard to remember that vanilla desserts can be quite scrumptious! Katie’s friends adored these gems! Here’s what you need to bake up a batch. 

  • Kitchen Staples – Flour, Sugar, Salt
  • Baking Powder – Note that baking powder is different from baking soda. It does not have the same shelf life as baking soda, so you make sure it’s still active before starting the recipe or your cupcakes won’t rise properly. Check the expiration date; if it’s getting old, test by putting a spoonful in hot water. If it’s still active, it will bubble vigorously. If it doesn’t, purchase a new can before making these cupcakes.
  • Butter – Have at room temperature. I used salted butter as a touch of salt enhances dessert recipes.
  • Eggs – I use large eggs. Have them at room temperature for easy incorporation.
  • Whole Milk – Milk Fat 3½%. The extra fat makes for moister cupcakes.
  • Vanilla Extract – Use real vanilla extract, not artificially flavored. I use the Nielsen-Massey Brand

Recipe Tips

Thanks again to my lovely friend, Danielle for another magnificent dessert! These vanilla cupcakes were divine. She is my go-to blogger for decadent treats. I promise you will love whatever you try from her blog!!! Make Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes for your next celebrations. You’ll get loads of rave reviews!

  • PRO-Tip: Make sure to get your eggs and butter out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before you plan to mix your cake batter and/or frosting. They will both incorporate better when not cold.
  • Use a large (¼-cup) scoop to dish out the cupcake batter if you have one. This helps ensure the cupcakes are all of a similar size and will be done baking after the same amount of time.
  • To check for doneness, either insert a toothpick in the middle of a cupcake. It should come out without any visible batter, but a few crumbs are OK. You can also do a finger tap. If an indentation remains after tapping the middle of a couple of cupcakes, they aren’t done. If the indentation pops back up, they’re done.
  • PRO-Tip: Sift the powdered sugar before using to make the smoothest frosting.
  • Use an open star tip to pipe on the frosting if desired. I start around the perimeter and work my way to the center.
  • Adding a round candy to the center of the cupcake is optional, but if you are making these for a party with a color scheme, it’s a nice finishing touch.
  • I like lining my cupcake tins with paper wrappers. This makes for easy cleanup, plus once they cool, they can be set into another more decorative wrapper to serve.
Overhead view of Buttercream Topped Vanilla Cupcakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Store Frosted Cupcakes?

It’s best to store your cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight container so the cake does not dry out. They’ll stay fresh for up to 4 days.

How Do You Make a Great Vanilla Cupcake?

First, use a premium brand of vanilla extract, and never use imitation vanilla. I prefer the Nielsen-Massey brand of vanilla.

Make sure the sugar and eggs are mixed well before continuing the recipe. Fold in the dry ingredients instead of beating them. This will minimize gluten formation and make more tender cupcakes. Also, fill the cupcake wells ⅔-¾ full. Any fuller and you won’t get nice, domed tops. Don’t overbake or your cupcakes will be dry.

Once you smell the wonderful aroma of cake from your oven, you should do a quick toothpick test to see if they’re done. If the toothpick comes out clean after inserting it into the middle of a couple of your cupcakes, they are fully baked.

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Buttercream Topped Vanilla Cupcakes - Delightfully delicious vanilla cupcakes!

Buttercream Topped Vanilla Cupcakes

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 53 minutes
Yield 16 regular sized cupcakes

Terrific vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream frosting.



  • 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. To make cupcakes, line cupcake tins with 16 paper liners. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar till light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.
  4. Starting and ending with dry ingredients, add alternating with milk. Divide in muffin tins and bake for 20-23 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
  5. To make buttercream, beat butter and 4 cups powdered sugar (half the total amount). Add the milk and vanilla and beat to combine. Add the remaining 4 cups of powdered sugar and beat till creamy. Add food coloring if desired. Fill a pastry bag and pipe frosting over the top of the cupcakes. Garnish with candy or sprinkles if desired.


Cupcakes adapted from Ghirardelli; frosting adapted from Magnolia Bakery.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 495Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 0gSugar: 73gProtein: 2g


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