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Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white tray

Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

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Easy Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are perfect for any occasion! Sweet, tender and topped with mounds of rich, slightly tangy frosting.

This Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe bakes up like a dream and is ideal for a delicious neutral-tasting cupcake.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are the perfect dessert for any occasion

Easy 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 Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white rectangular tray

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 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 the mini cakes. 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. 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.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white tray with candles

More Vanilla Recipes You’ll Love:

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

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

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white tray

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


  • 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


  • 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


  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.


Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

Nutrition Information:



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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49 comments on “Easy Vanilla Cupcakes”

  1. Classic treat! And they look just perfect!

  2. Perfect little party cakes:@)

  3. Lizzy, these Vanilla Cupcakes are such a dream! I love how you frosted them and applied those tiny sliver balls. So pretty!

  4. Your cupcakes look perfect! They are so pretty and I bet they are delicious as well.

  5. Liz, you are amazing!!! Happy birthday to Katie and I hope she enjoyed these fabulous and beautiful cupcakes!!!

  6. I think at the end Kate it must be happy with this dessert 😉

  7. I love a good vanilla cupcake! Have to try out this recipe!

  8. So pretty, I think cream cheese frosting was absolutely the way to go! 🙂 Hope Katie had a great birthday!

  9. I love these cupcakes look absolutely beautiful! Many times I dont make cupcakes maybe is the time Lizzy!!

  10. Do you really only put in 3/4 cup of powdered sugar in? Doesn’t seem like enough compared to the butter and creamcheese.

    • Thanks for your question, Deirdre. The 6 ounces of powdered sugar measures out to be just a bit over 1 1/3 cups. I’ve added that option for those who don’t own a scale.

  11. Sour cream (or Greek yogurt) in cake batter is sublime =)

    P.s. Your children are very lucky to have a mom who bakes! Bet you were happy to have the whole family home =)

  12. How absolutely perfect, Lizzy!
    I made cupcakes last night…let’s just say I wanted to go to bed and forget about them…so much for late night baking…I feel I must redeem myself and try again this evening. I’m going to give these a go!

    Happy birthday to Katie! I hope she had a beautiful day 🙂


  13. I hope Katie enjoyed the celebration, these cupcakes look delicious.

  14. So pretty! How nice of you to find something both kids will like…mostly! 🙂

  15. How sweet to share her birthday treat with her brother! These are beautiful cupcakes Liz! and I’m totally craving that stromboli! oxox

  16. Cupcakes are the new Black))!!
    And nobody makes them quite as lovey as you, Liz! xx mmmmm

  17. Beautiful cupcakes Liz, love how they are decorated, so simple and lovely!

  18. Wow, these cupcakes look so delicious! Hope your daughter had a great birthday!

  19. Very beautiful Liz, they look delicious…. absolutely love Cream Cheese icing!! 🙂

  20. Lizzy,
    Those cupcakes look amazing. I would have 3 or 4. I can’t believe there was any griping.

  21. These sound delicious and they are so beautifully decorated!

  22. So pretty for a pretty girl! 🙂

  23. Compromise! #lifelessons These look delicious!

  24. Happy birthday to Katie. What beautiful looking cupcakes. As soon as I saw them I thought they would be perfect for my daughter’s birthday which is in about a week – I might just have to copy you xx

  25. These look just perfect! You can’t go wrong with a good vanilla cupcake!

  26. A classic cupcake recipe, Liz. They look stunning!

  27. Deliciously simple!

  28. There is just something about Vanilla cupcakes, that I actually prefer over most chocolate cupcakes.

  29. This recipe sounds wonderful and delicious. I should try them too, I am sure my daughters will love them, especially the cream cheese frosting.

  30. Interesting, I have a vanilla fan in my house and his birthday is just around the corner. I’ll make sure to make these for him :). The frosting looks soo soo delish.

  31. Beautiful and most delicious looking cupcakes !!
    I love vanilla flavors
    Happy Birthday to Katie 🙂

  32. I saw these a few days ago and still haven’t forgotten them!! They are simply perfect, and my sort of flavors all in a beautiful cupcake!
    On another note… I think I saw your name on the IFBC attendee list?? I just made a last minute registration and will be there!

  33. Happy Birthday to Katie and what a beautiful way to say it with these cupcakes. Meal planning isn’t easy at your house. 🙂

  34. happy B-day to your daughter!!!! Ina’s recipes are fantastic. I had never have one that disappoints. I would eat those cupcakes happily!

  35. Happy birthday to Katie; beautiful for the family to celebrate together.
    The cupcakes look to perfection dear Lizzy.
    Blessings, Catherine xo

  36. Such beautiful cupcakes! I’d love them for my birthday too. Vanilla is always king in my book.

  37. Even I like cream cheese frosting and I hate cream cheese in desserts! lol These cupcakes are oh so pretty and so perfect for your lucky daughter’s birthday!

  38. Liz, just had to come back and tell you I’ve tried this recipe and it was very successful!!! Everyone liked it in our gathering kids and adults … I just made one mistake and filled the muffin tin full so it turned out looking like a mushroom 🙂 but it was ok nobody complained. It was fluffy, light and way much better than the store bought ones. I’m just sad that I could not get to take even one bite as it vanished from the serving tray in a blink :(. Next time I will make a dozen only for me.. Thank you for this lovely recipe.

  39. Made these but used 3 egg whites, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1/2 cup whole milk. I didn’t use corn starch and I used 1 cup of sugar. They turned out light, fluffy and very delicious

  40. I made these cupcakes and they turned out terrible. I had to throw out the entire batch out because they did not rise. I just bought my baking soda so it is not that. 

    • I’m so sorry to hear this Cassandra. Baking soda would have been my first guess, but it doesn’t expire quickly like baking powder. Wish I knew what happened to your batter! There were mixed reviews on the Food Network site—most loving these, but others having difficulties. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  41. These cupcakes are so delicious! I made these for my son’s birthday and he loves them! They were a big hit.

  42. You can’t go wrong with an easy recipe like this one! They turned out perfect!!

  43. Such a gorgeous dessert! Everyone at my house was impressed!

  44. These are the best all-purpose cupcakes! They are easy enough to make just for snacking but delicious enough for special occasions!

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