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Vanilla cupcake on a square white plate

Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

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Easy Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are perfect for any occasion!  Sweet and tender, these will be a hit across the board.

This Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe bakes up like a dream and is ideal for a delicious simply flavored cupcake.

vanilla cupcakes on a white tray

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Katie’s birthday was approaching so we both mulled over what dessert to serve, but we also kept in mind that her little brother was coming home for the weekend. She likes peanut butter desserts, cheesecake, and tres leches cake. He does not. He’s a dark chocolate fan. She is not.

Cakes like this Very Vanilla Cake from Mom on Timeout make the whole family happy! We compromised with vanilla cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting. Nick would not be exactly thrilled with the icing, but what the heck, it’s not his birthday!

Vanilla cupcake on a square white plate

Tips for Making Ina Garten’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Ina’s sour cream vanilla flower cupcakes got raves all over the web when I first made these years ago. And who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting? Well, besides my youngest son. The sour cream makes for a moist, tender crumb and a cloud of sweet, creamy icing with a bit of tang was the complement to these homemade vanilla cupcakes. Katie was delighted with her vanilla cake plus she was thrilled to have both brothers home for the celebration. There was only a little griping about the icing from one of them!

  • PRO-Tip: Looking at more recent reviews on the Food Network site, it is suggested to only fill your cupcake tins 2/3 full so the batter does not overflow onto the tin.
  • There were some complaints about dry cupcakes. Personally, I think 30 minutes may be too long for these simple cupcakes. PRO-Tip: Check the vanilla cupcakes at the 20-minute mark. If a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, they’re ready to pull out of the oven.
  • To play it extra safe, when you start smelling the sweet delicious aroma of this easy vanilla cupcakes recipe, it’s time to take a peek through the oven window. If the tops look mounded and lightly browned, it would be wise to check for doneness at this point in the baking process.
  • Another way to test cakes and cupcakes is to tap your index finger onto the middle of one cupcake (or cake). If it springs right back, the cupcakes are fully baked. But if an indentation remains, they need more time in the oven. If you’re unsure, try a toothpick and if you see any batter on it, bake a little longer.
  • If you pull a cake or cupcakes out of the oven too soon, you cannot return them to the oven to finish baking. But you also can’t fix an over-baked cupcake.
  • You may want to invest in an oven thermometer to make sure your over is calibrated properly.

Why Add Cornstarch to the Cupcake Batter?

Cornstarch “softens” the flour by decreasing the amount of gluten in the recipe.  The cornstarch is taking the place of some of the flour, which is the source of gluten in the recipe. All-purpose flour plus a bit of cornstarch is a popular substitute for cake flour. Less gluten means a softer crumb.

Why Fill the Cupcake Tins 2/3 Full?

This Ina Garten vanilla cupcake recipe has lots of reviews on the Food Network site. Many stated that their cupcakes overflowed the tins while baking. So do not fill the tins to the top. If you have extra batter, bake any leftover in a ramekin or two.

What If  My Cupcakes Brown Too Fast?

This was another question of some of the bakers who made this recipe. You’ll see the tops of my cupcakes are a dark golden color. If you’d prefer a lighter crown for your cupcakes, decrease the oven temperature to 325º and bake a little longer. Use either the tapping method or the toothpick method (mentioned above) to make sure they’re done before removing from the oven.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white rectangular tray

More Vanilla Recipes You’ll Love:

If vanilla desserts, like these easy vanilla cupcakes, are your thing, check out all these tasty vanilla recipes.

These homemade vanilla cupcakes recipe was adapted from Ina Garten. If you’d like to double, use extra-large eggs or increase to 7 large eggs.

This recipe was first shared in September 2014. Photos and text were updated in 2020.

Overhead view of an Easy Vanilla Cupcake on a white plate

Easy Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

A delicious, all-purpose cupcake flavored with vanilla and topped with cream cheese icing.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 brick (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces powdered sugar, sifted (approximately 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Line muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.
  3. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Fill the cupcake liners to the top with batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
  4. For the icing, mix the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, mixing just until smooth. Spread or pipe the frosting generously on top of each cupcake.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

Instead of sifting the dry ingredients, place them in a bowl and whisk until they're mixed well.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 361Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 0gSugar: 39gProtein: 4g

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