Crazy for Crust

Sep 24

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

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They might be plain vanilla, but these Vanilla Cupcakes are perfect, and are perfectly complimented with the vanilla buttercream and whipped cream filling.

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes - the best homemade ones I've ever had, and super vanilla-y! | | #cupcake

I know. A plain vanilla cupcake? Like…what?

If we’re being 100% honest with each other…I prefer a vanilla cupcake. A simple, rich vanilla cupcake and a super vanilla-y frosting. I’ll take this kind of cupcake over chocolate, peanut butter, or any other flavor.

As crazy as I like to bake, as much as I love to make rich food, there’s something about the simple flavor of vanilla. I love it! And these Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes totally deliver.

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes - the best homemade ones I've ever had, and super vanilla-y! | | #cupcake

As you probably know, last weekend was my birthday. I was out of town (at the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen, so much more on that coming soon) so the family and I celebrated my birthday early. I had a full fake birthday, complete with presents, a movie, and dinner.

And cupcakes.

Of course, Jordan wanted to make me some cupcakes. Mel, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure about helping her do that. So we compromised – I made the cupcakes and frosting and then they decorated them for me. I left out the sprinkles, candies, and mini marshmallows and left for the gym, certain my kitchen floor would be a myriad of colors when I returned.

{It wasn’t – my husband remembered to sweep!}

birthday photo

Now, I just had to include this photo. One, because it shows how Jordan decorated my cupcake. And two, because this photo speaks volumes about my life right now. Can you see what I mean?

I’m blowing out the candles on my birthday cupcake, and I’m holding my phone. #imaddicted #iphoneanonymousneeded

Also…I need a prop cabinet in the worst way. #OMG #prophoarder {Why yes, that is a used Biscoff coffee cup from my trip to SF. Everyone keeps used coffee cups for props, right?}

{And, BTW, have you tried out the Picmonkey effects for people? Normally I just edit food photos. Man, I’m editing every single photo of me from now on.}

These Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes are just that – perfect. Normally I avoid homemade vanilla cupcakes because they’re always to dry, tough, delicate, hard, etc. Box mixes are just so easy – and they’re always perfect. But, since I don’t have a vanilla cupcake recipe here, I wanted to try my hand at it.

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes - the best homemade ones I've ever had, and super vanilla-y! | | #cupcake

A few notes about the recipe:

  • It uses all-purpose flour. Many recipes call for cake flour. That’s all well and good, but I don’t want to buy special flour. This makes these easier, and more accessible for the regular home cook.
  • But, it does include unsalted butter. All the recipes I looked at specified unsalted. I normally use salted butter, because it’s what I’ve always bought and eaten. However, if every single cupcake recipe I find uses unsalted, then I better go with the masses!
  • In the past I’ve used butter in cupcakes and they’ve been dry and tough. Oil often makes them too weak to stand up to a load of frosting. So I remembered a tip (from, I believe, my friend Sally) to use melted butter. It made a huge difference!
  • The cupcakes make about 14. So…sorry you have to use two pans. But they’re worth it. :)
  • Let’s talk vanilla. Extract is easiest, I know. Vanilla beans are the best – but at $8 a pop, they really aren’t doable for me (and I never remember to order them online). Instead, I use Vanilla Bean Paste. I love the vanilla flavor it puts into things, and you still get those little black dots all over the cupcake and frosting from the beans.

The frosting is my favorite too – a pure vanilla frosting. I whip butter with powdered sugar, add more vanilla bean paste, and some heavy cream to get it to the texture I like for frosting. It’s all sweet and vanilla-y and perfect! This frosting would be awesome on chocolate cupcakes too. And the cupcakes would be awesome with chocolate frosting, or even caramel frosting!

I also filled these with a simple whipped cream, sweetened with powdered sugar and, you guessed it, more vanilla bean paste. I cannot get enough of that stuff! The filling is a total option, but if you want to add a little something extra, go for it.

These really are triple vanilla cupcakes – and totally perfect! They’re tender without collapsing, they’re soft and not dry, and they stand up to a huge dollop of frosting (because really, is there any other way to frost?)

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes - the best homemade ones I've ever had, and super vanilla-y! | | #cupcake

My mouth is watering for more. Vanilla is one of my favorite flavors…especially in Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes!

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Yield: About 14 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or combine 3/4 cup milk + 1 teaspoon white vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes)

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter extract

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners (makes 12-15).
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add melted butter to a large bowl and mix in sugar with a hand mixer for 30 seconds until thick and yellow. Add eggs one at at time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste.
  4. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Don’t over mix! Divide batter among liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. (Mine took less than 20, so check at 15!) Cool completely before frosting!
  5. To make the filling: beat heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Whisk in both extracts.
  6. To make the frosting: Beat butter until creamy. Beat in salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until it’s all added.
  7. Beat in vanilla bean paste and 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. Add more cream as needed for desired consistency.
  8. To fill cupcakes: you can either fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and poke it into the center of the cupcake to fill, or you can carefully cut out a hole in the center and fill with a spoon.
  9. Frost cupcakes by placing frosting in a pastry bag. I like the 1M tip, it gives pretty swirls. Add sprinkles for fun!
  10. Note: you can make the frosting the day before, but let it come to room temperature before using.
  11. Find vanilla bean paste on amazon, or at stores like William's-Sonoma or Sur la Table.

The Perfect Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Mint Chip Milkshake Cupcakes

mint-chocolate-milkshake-cupcakes (3 of 7)w

Almond Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

almond-cupcakes-caramel-frosting (2 of 4)w

The BEST Chocolate Cupcakes

best-chocolate-cupcakes (7 of 9)

Sweets from friends:
Root Beer Float Cupcakes by Dip it in Chocolate
Seven Layer Bar Cupcakes by The Domestic Rebel
Original Karamelgebäck Creme Cupcakes by Java Cupcake
Monster Cookie Dough Cupcakes by Something Swanky

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163 Responses to “Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks posted on September 24, 2013 at 10:45 am (#)

    They’re tender without collapsing, they’re soft and not dry, and they stand up to a huge dollop of frosting = THAT IS SUCCESS!!

    Wow, thanks for doing all the legwork so I dont have to. About 6 mos ago i wanted to post some more ‘classics’ to my site, like a basic vanilla cupcake and got very close to making some and then my book got too busy and I let this project slip but I had like 5 recipes I wanted to test. Now, I can just make yours :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 24th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      I always have trepidation about adding these to my site, because of the basic-ness. But they’re so good!


    • Katherine replied on May 18th, 2014 at 7:35 am

      These were seriously gross…
      My 5 year old loves anything with sugar (obviously, he’s five) and he ate half of one and got a tummy ache.
      My husband loved them but had stomach problems in the morning.
      I wasted a few sticks of butter and have found, hands down, the worst recipe I’ve tried online.


      • Dorothy Kern replied on May 18th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

        I’m sorry you feel that way Katherine. Did you follow the recipe exactly? I have made these several times with success and so have many of my readers. Possibly buttercream is too sweet for your family? Buttercream such as this is for sure very sweet, and if you’re used to something less sweet these might be too rich. Everyone has a taste preference, so I understand if you don’t like them. Just for other reader sakes, please know that these have never caused me, or anyone I’ve known to eat them, tummy trouble.

  2. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar posted on September 24, 2013 at 11:30 am (#)

    An awesome vanilla cupcake is an essential to me! I’ve yet to find one that I’d call “perfect”. I’m definitely going to try yours! They look and sound delicious! :)


  3. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet posted on September 24, 2013 at 11:39 am (#)

    That is so sweet that they made you cupcakes!! These look amazing! I never heard of vanilla bean paste before but I am so going to look for it now. I do not buy vanilla beans either because they are just not in the budget!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 24th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Vanilla Bean Paste is certainly in the price range! Check the kitchen stores, and sometimes you can get lucky at Ross and places like that!


    • Brittany replied on October 30th, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Hi! Just wanted to let you know I am attempting these soon, and I purchased vanilla bean paste at Walmart for around 5 was over in the basking section, the section with all the decorations for baked goods, not in the food/grocery section. 


      • Brittany replied on October 30th, 2014 at 1:14 pm

        Baked* sorry! Lol

      • Dorothy Kern replied on October 30th, 2014 at 4:50 pm

        Great tip! It’s expensive, but SO worth it!

  4. Maggie @Maggiecooks posted on September 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm (#)

    I love the vanilla bean dots everywhere !!!!! :)


  5. Nora (Buttercream Fanatic) posted on September 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm (#)

    Seriously, vanilla cupcakes get a bad rap. When they’re real, and vanilla-ey, like these, they are just heaven!


  6. Ida posted on September 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm (#)

    Yum! Yum! Yum! I love vanilla cupcakes!


  7. Alex posted on September 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm (#)

    Vanilla vanilla is my favorite! I was on a mission to make the perfect vanilla cake for my daughter’s first birthday! The party has passed, but I better try these….for next year! Vanilla bean paste saved my life!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 24th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      It’s the best! I love it so much. :)


  8. Tonia@thegunnysack posted on September 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm (#)

    Lovely! Although I do love cupcakes, I’ve got to admit that I am really all about the frosting! :)


  9. Kristy posted on September 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm (#)

    Oh my gosh these do look perfect! So fun seeing you this weekend, hope it was a great birthday!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 24th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks Kristy! It was so great to meet you!!


  10. Zainab @ Blahnik Baker posted on September 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm (#)

    These are truly perfect!! I love a simple vanilla cupcake too and will pick it any day over chocolate. That little bit of whip cream in the center is the perfect touch :). Vanilla bean paste = awesome!!!
    PS: Is there an iPhone anonymous?? I would like to check myself in please!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 24th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Totally, they need one. It’s baaaaad over here!


  11. Marti posted on September 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm (#)

    Good ole’ vanilla cupcakes are one of my favs and what a sweet gift from your daughter! I can relate to prop hoarding! I go to garage sales every weekend….I have an entire room full of props!



  12. Jenn posted on September 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm (#)

    So pretty :) Happy late birthday!


  13. LoverOfAnythingChocolate posted on September 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm (#)

    These look so yummy and perfect! I don’t buy vanilla bean paste, and they don’t really sell it around here, and it has alcohol/bourbon in it, which I don’t drink, so what do I do?????

    Your photography is awesome!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 25th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      That’s a bummer! I didn’t een think about the alcohol part of the vanilla. Your best bet then is to get the actual vanilla beans. You can find deals for them on amazon, I’m just never ahead enough to order them! :)


      • LoverOfAnythingChocolate replied on September 25th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

        Like how many of them would I need?

        • Dorothy Kern replied on September 25th, 2013 at 6:37 pm

          For this recipe, probably 2? 1 for the cake and one for the frosting. But I’ve never done it…so I’m not sure!

  14. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent posted on September 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm (#)

    Love vanilla! Glad you had a good bday and trip :)


  15. Heather @ French Press posted on September 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm (#)

    these are without a doubt the best cupcakes i have ever seen! i LOVE vanilla – and they are gorgeous! that cream looks TDF Jordan did an excellent job on yours :)


  16. sally @ sallys baking addiction posted on September 24, 2013 at 5:58 pm (#)

    Oh Dorothy! They certainly DO look perfect! There is nothign quite like a perfect vanilla cupcake. It will take you far in life. It’s a great “base” for SO many creative recipes. I have no doubt that you can turn these cupcakes into a single layer cake, too. And yes, melted butter is my jam. Love using it in vanilla cupcake recipes.

    LOVING the sprinkles and cream filling! Sometimes it’s hard to shoot all white cupcakes, all white frosting, and all white filling but your photoshoot is gorgeous.


  17. Julianne @ Beyond Frosting posted on September 24, 2013 at 6:22 pm (#)

    I am totally in love with vanilla bean paste, it is so amazing! Do you think these cupcakes need to be refrigerated with the whipped cream filling?


    • Julianne @ Beyond Frosting replied on September 24th, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Whoa- didn’t finish my sentence! I am never really sure about weather or not I have to refrigerate because I have heard it both ways.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 25th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      It’s probably best, just to be on the safe side, except for serving time of course. I usually keep my cupcakes in the fridge until about an hour before serving anyway, so the frosting doesn’t melt off, since it’s all butter. :)


  18. jackie posted on September 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm (#)

    another delicious recipe! Great pic too, love the jewelry!


  19. Rebecca @ Exploits of a Dorm Room Baker posted on September 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm (#)

    These look great! I don’t think there’s anything better than a good vanilla cupcake. I especially love that these ones are filled, most of the other recipes I’ve seen online don’t have that additional element.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 25th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      I wanted to add a little extra to them! :)


  20. Tieghan posted on September 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm (#)

    Dorothy, these are simply stunning! I have yet to have the perfect vanilla cupcake, but no I know which recipe to make to get them! The cake, the filling and the frosting are just incredible! I normally use vanilla beans, but have been wanting to try vanilla bean paste. Did you get it online? I think I need to head to amazon and find some!

    Still cannot get over your photos and the cute sprinkles!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 25th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      I think I got mine at Sur la Table. Williams-Sonoma has it too, and so does amazon!


  21. Amy posted on September 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm (#)

    Awww Dorothy, they turned out beautifully!! I’m so glad our little lunch date didn’t take too much time away from your baking. 😉 And that is SO sweet that Mel and Jordan decorated them (and cleaned up the kitchen)! Also 100% adorable that you celebrated your birthday early. LOVE it!! And you’re right, vanilla cupcakes are actually pretty hard to perfect. Your batch looks and sounds amazing!


  22. Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen posted on September 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm (#)

    I think vanilla cupcakes are my favorite kind of cupcake, even though I am usually a chocolate person! Happy belated birthday, sounds like you had lots of fun :)


  23. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen posted on September 25, 2013 at 4:08 am (#)

    Everyone who bakes needs this recipe! Gorgeous vanilla cupcakes, girl. Thanks for sharing! Pinning!


  24. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel posted on September 25, 2013 at 6:43 am (#)

    Happy belated birthday! I’m seriously a sucker for vanilla cupcakes so this is perfect!!


  25. Angie | Big Bears Wife posted on September 25, 2013 at 8:22 am (#)

    Happy Belated Birthday!!
    I love the vanilla bean bits in the frosting! Love the simple yet beautiful cupcakes!


  26. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) posted on September 25, 2013 at 8:38 am (#)

    You look so cute in your bday pic (I have long loved the people editors on picmonkey and-formerly-picnik)!

    I love a good vanilla cupcake myself and yours look like THE BEST!


  27. tahnycooks posted on September 25, 2013 at 9:40 am (#)

    I prefer vanilla any day too!! I would be in some serious trouble if these were in my household!! These look sooooo good!!
    Happy Belated Birthday!!


  28. Emily @ Life on Food posted on September 25, 2013 at 11:17 am (#)

    I am a chocolate gal. I always go for chocolate….except when it comes to cupcakes. For some reason vanilla just seems better. These look perfect!


  29. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats posted on September 25, 2013 at 11:35 am (#)

    Wow sometimes you can’t beat “plain” old vanilla cupcakes. THESE LOOK FREAKIN FANTASTIC!


  30. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life posted on September 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm (#)

    Everything about this post = yes! These cupcakes; wow girl, you did it! These are PERFECT. Thanks for your helpful notes! And your pictures are stunning. Like, drop dead gorgeous. I saw them on Pinterest and was like, wow, now those are some cupcakes! Haha, and yes, I have tried the effects in Picmonkey and no, I’m not saying whether I use them all the time or not:)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 25th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      LOL! Thank you Mary Frances! The wrinkle remover, gotta say it’s the best! :)


  31. Dina posted on September 25, 2013 at 12:27 pm (#)

    I could use one right now!


  32. Melissa posted on September 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm (#)

    Sometimes a really lovely, basic dessert is best….with coffee. Thanks for sharing and a belated Happy Birthday to you! Looking forward to hearing about the Duncan Hines experience!


  33. Stephanie @ Macaroni and Cheesecake posted on September 25, 2013 at 1:58 pm (#)

    Hope you had a happy birthday! These cupcakes look wonderful! My husband is a huge vanilla cupcake fan, so I am sure he will love these!


  34. Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted on September 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm (#)

    Sometimes you just need the perfect vanilla cupcake! Love that filling that you added. PS I may or may not be glued to my phone as well…


  35. Shari @ Shari Blogs posted on September 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm (#)

    That seals the deal, we were destined to be BFF’s. I ALWAYS prefer a plain vanilla cupcake. We LOVE trying out cupcake shops everywhere we go, and I always end up liking the plain vanilla best. I don’t know what it is about, but it’s awesome! I have a recipe that I love too, but I am definitely going to try this one. I totally know what you mean about your phone too. My kids say I need it more than air to survive. LOL! It is my lifeline. I swear I don’t know how I ever survived a doctors visit, school carpool line, etc without it. I currently have an iPhone 5 but am waiting on my new Android to arrive. A little nervous but really excited too! :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 26th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      I know, I always opt for vanilla too. It’s SO good!! I so need a phone upgrade. I cannot wait until February!


  36. Lisa @ Wine & Glue posted on September 26, 2013 at 7:05 pm (#)

    I have way too many things to say about this post! First, my prop hoarding puts yours to shame in a weird and disgusting, also sort of overwhelming, way. Two, I totally noticed the phone right away! #awesome Three, my profile picture had the crap edited out of it! Lol!! These cupcakes look amazing!! I also prefer a vanilla cupcake! Pinning!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 26th, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      LOL! I told Mel our Christmas picture needs to be the three of us, them smiling and me behind my computer. :)


  37. Ala posted on September 28, 2013 at 12:09 am (#)

    I will never turn down a fantastic vanilla cupcake! I have found many white cake recipes that seemed promising but do turn out dry and crumbly, which always disappoints me since I would love to make a great vanilla cupcake/cake for my (very picky) mom. These sound great though–I will definitely give them a shot, if you’re behind these. Thanks!


  38. Renee @ Awesome on $20 posted on September 29, 2013 at 11:57 pm (#)

    I don’t think vanilla is plain at all. It’s one of my favorite flavors. I only ever have unsalted butter in my house because I use it mainly for baking. If you want it on your toast, you have to add your own salt. These cupcakes look beautiful. I can’t wait to try them.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 1st, 2013 at 6:28 am

      I guess I need to get on the unsalted ball! :)


  39. Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen posted on September 30, 2013 at 7:48 pm (#)

    Sometimes basic is best, in this case definitely! They look gorgeous, vanilla cupcakes are so hard to make at home, if I need vanilla I almost always go for a box, I hate wasting and I wont use the cupcakes unless they are perfect. Yours do look perfect. Love the filling and frosting and the fluffiness of the cake. Need this in my life stat!!


  40. Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl posted on October 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm (#)

    My favorite cake/cupcake/ice cream/just about anything is plain old vanilla. These look perfect, Dorothy!


  41. Jessica K posted on October 5, 2013 at 10:28 am (#)

    I’m pretty sure that was the best vanilla frosting I have ever made. I had no idea the difference that using vanilla bean paste made over extract


  42. Iliana posted on November 7, 2013 at 12:17 am (#)

    Hi there! I come from Greece which ( apart from other things…) means that some of the terminology that you are using is not really familiar to me. When you are saying “1stick butter or unsalted butter” what do you mean in terms of weight?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 7th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      4 ounces or 1/2 cup! :) Thanks for reading!


      • Iliana replied on November 9th, 2013 at 4:41 am


  43. Sam posted on November 14, 2013 at 7:51 pm (#)

    I just made these tonight and they are the best vanilla cupcakes I have ever eaten! Thank you for sharing this recipe, it’s going to be a household cupcake recipe for us :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 15th, 2013 at 6:22 am

      Oh, I’m so glad you liked them!!! Yay!!! Thanks for telling me, that makes my day. :)


  44. Rebecca posted on November 17, 2013 at 4:23 pm (#)

    I don’t even know what happened with these… My batter was VERY liquidy… And so greasy they slipped through and destroyed their liners!!! I substituted vanilla extract for paste.. Could that be a problem? Otherwise., the taste of the destroyed cupcakes was fine.. But everything else was horrible!!! :(


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 17th, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      I’m so sorry Rebecca! I’ve had others make them and report success, so I’m tying to figure out what might have gone wrong. I doubt the extract for paste would make that much of a difference. Were there any other substitutions? I know my batter was thin (not thick like brownie batter, but thin like cake mix cake batter). Are your liners any sort of specialty liner?


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  46. joy posted on November 30, 2013 at 8:04 am (#)

    hi! is it ok to substitute all purpose flour with cake flour?


  47. G. Allyn posted on November 30, 2013 at 11:00 am (#)

    Just found your recipe this morning and wanted to give it a try, but found I was short of eggs (decided to double the recipe). Many claim to have the “perfect Vanilla Cupcake” recipe and I am unhappy with the results from my oven. Not with yours! I wish I had the ingredients to make it exactly as you developed, but I did need to omit the filling and substituted 1/4 cup vegetable oil for missing egg. This is a very good recipe. I would encourge others to give it a try and post any substitutions or changes made and the results.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 1st, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks so much for letting me know! :)


  48. Lauren L. posted on November 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm (#)

    I stumbled across this recipe whilst trying to occupy my boredom and satisfy my sweet tooth simotaneously. Now I’m no baking genious, and I didn’t have butter on hand. But, I did have a tub of margarine, so I used that. Needless to say, the cupcakes did not turn out how they should have. But, they came out sort of pancake-like, so I topped them with rasberry jam and served them hot, and they’re delicious! Just thought I’d share my happy accident with all you guys out there! Can’t wait to try this recipe the way it was intended, but nonetheless, thank you for posting this!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 1st, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Sorry about that Lauren! I’ve never used margarine in recipes, I guess it does change the texture!


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  50. Vanessa posted on December 31, 2013 at 11:51 am (#)

    I made these twice within a week. The first time I tried to do everything exactly as noted and the cupcakes came out beautifully! My family loved them. Then I made a second batch because I had extra frosting but unfortunately, those didn’t come out as great. They took longer to bake than the recommended time and even then didn’t seem completely done in the middle. I cut the recipe in half so as to not have too many; do you think that was the issue? I have a scale and was able to weigh the ingredients but I’m wondering if the amount of egg was the issue. At any rate I’ll be making them again today for New Years!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 31st, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      That could be it Vanessa – cutting 3 eggs in half can change the outcome. I’ve never halved the recipe, so I’m not sure how that would turn out. If you make a full batch, they do freeze well! :) I’m glad the first batch turned out good!


      • Vanessa replied on January 3rd, 2014 at 9:22 am

        Hi Dorothy, thanks for your response. I made another full batch and they turned out great, so I’m sure the problem had something to do with halving the recipe (maybe I overbeat the batter since there was less of it?)I did freeze a couple this time around; thank you for the tip and for posting this great recipe.

  51. Edan posted on January 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm (#)

    I made these last sunday and they were terrific! They were gone by the next day. My family loved them. I had never heard of vanilla bean paste and it was my first time using it. I loved it. Definitely going to be using it more.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 6th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      It totally makes the cupcake! Glad you enjoyed them!! Thanks for reading!


  52. Sarah posted on January 10, 2014 at 2:03 pm (#)

    I can’t wait to make these for my son’s first birthday! I do have a quick question for you…if I were to make this into a cake (rather than cupcakes), would I have to change anything in the recipe? I imagine I would have to adjust the cooking time, but I was wondering if I would need to change anything else.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 10th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      I think it would work okay, with adjusted baking time. But it only makes about 12-14 cupcakes, so it’s not a full 9×13 cake. It’s probably more of one 9″ round (possibly would fit good in a 9″ round by 3″ high or a 9″ square). Let me know how it turns out!


  53. Ashley B. posted on January 13, 2014 at 9:27 am (#)

    I made these yesterday and they were the perfect cake for my Boston cream pie cupcakes! The only thing I changed was substituting some of the AP flour with cake flour. (I just like the taste and texture it gives.) Thanks for a great basic recipe!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 14th, 2014 at 6:37 am

      Awesome! I’m glad you liked them Ashley!


    • Cassie replied on February 16th, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      How is everyone storing these cupcakes? I wanted to make them a day ahead for my daughter’s baptism but wanted to know if they would store good refrigerated. Thanks in advance for your help!


      • Dorothy Kern replied on February 16th, 2014 at 7:16 pm

        You can chill them over night loosely covered or in a Tupperware container. You can make the cupcakes and frosting ahead of time and frost before serving if you’re worried about storing frosted cupcakes. Just make sure to let the frosting come to room temperature before frosting (and you may need to add a touch more cream to smooth it out). They can both also be frozen (unfrosted) if needed! Enjoy!

  54. sandra s. posted on January 17, 2014 at 11:15 am (#)

    I usually add cream cheese to my frosting. I am wondering if you find its easier to decorate the cupcakes with frosting that doesn’t have cream cheese added. I often find the frosting “melts” on me as I am decorating the cupcakes and wonder if its because of the cheese. I should just try without it but its so good I don’t ever leave it out :)


    • Laura replied on February 1st, 2014 at 6:57 am

      Make sure that the cupcakes are COMPLETELY cooled before frosting. If the cupcake is warm, the butter in the frosting will melt right off the cupcake.


  55. Jessica posted on January 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm (#)

    I have been looking for a new cupcake recipe because my last few batches with my old tried and true have just come out ho-hum. Can’t wait to try this one. Just a question: can this recipe be used in a bundt pan? I am sure the time would have to be adjusted, but I am looking for a lighter cake. Most bundt cakes are denser, like pound cakes. Just a question. Thanks!


  56. Jennifer posted on January 19, 2014 at 7:43 am (#)

    My kids and I are going to make these today then write on my blog about it thanks so much for sharing this easy recipe!!


  57. Dovie posted on February 7, 2014 at 7:38 am (#)

    Can i substitute the vanilla paste with vanilla essence or vanilla powder? If so what will be the measurement? Thanks!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on February 7th, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      I have substituted vanilla extract in the same measurement with success. I’ve never used essence or powder. You can also scrape a vanilla bean into the batter if you have one!


  58. Manahil posted on February 8, 2014 at 7:26 am (#)

    Can I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean paste ? Would it make a difference ?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on February 8th, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Yes you can! It just won’t have the little black specks. :)


  59. Alisha Larson posted on February 14, 2014 at 3:24 pm (#)

    I was looking for a cupcake recipe (from scratch) to make for a baby shower. I researched a lot of recipes and decided on yours. I like your blog and your realism– I don’t have cake flour lying around either. I like that you used things anyone would have in their kitchen. They turned out amazing! Mine made about 18 cupcakes, 2/3 full. I baked them for 16 minutes and voila! Perfect delicious moist vanilla cupcakes. I couldn’t find vanilla paste so I splurged and purchased PURE vanilla extract. All my research states to get the best of the best ingredients and I guess I can spend a few more dollars and not buy the imitation extract. Eek! I used 1 T plus 1 tsp of vanilla extract. My eggs were room temperature as well. Thank you! I will make these again.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on February 15th, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked them Alisha! Yes, if you can, always splurge for the pure vanilla extract. If you happen to belong to Costco (or know someone who does) they sell large bottles of it for the price of one jar of the expensive stuff. That’s what I use! Thanks for letting me know you like them!


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  61. Niki posted on February 20, 2014 at 6:15 pm (#)

    I made these cupcakes just for fun. I followed the directions and everything however they tasted a little odd. Maybe that is how they are spose to taste. But not my thing.
    If you are looking for regular cupcakes I would not advise making these, however if you want to try something new than forsure try these :)


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  64. pris posted on March 25, 2014 at 4:44 pm (#)

    Just tried this recipe two.days ago and I must say it was the absolute best cupcake recipe ever!
    The bf could not stop with the compliments. This will now be our household regular. Thank you!


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  66. Megan posted on April 21, 2014 at 6:02 pm (#)

    These cupcakes were GREAT! I’ve been looking for a good “go-to” vanilla cupcake recipe for a long time and I think I found it! The cupcakes rose up nicely and were delicious and fluffy! They were super simple to make as well. I did use Mexican vanilla in mine which added a slightly different flavor but we loved it. Will be looking at more of your recipes for sure! Thanks!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 23rd, 2014 at 10:35 am

      I’m so glad you liked them Megan!! :)


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  68. Eden Alexi posted on May 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm (#)

    I really want to try this recipe but my oven doesn’t have a temperature adjuster so what method should i use? And sorry for the grammar error English isn’t my mother tongue language.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 9th, 2014 at 6:52 am

      Are you trying to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius? I believe 350F is the same as about 176C, but you should do a quick google search to confirm!


  69. Casey posted on May 15, 2014 at 9:16 am (#)

    If I am in a pinch with only extract, how much should I use for the cake? Thank you!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 16th, 2014 at 4:48 am

      I use equal amounts for both! :)


  70. ashley posted on May 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm (#)

    do you need to use vanilla paste


  71. Taylor posted on June 12, 2014 at 6:06 am (#)

    LOVE this recipe! The only thing I changed was the whipped cream. I thought it didn’t go well, so instead I added a vanilla PASTRY cream! YUM!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on June 12th, 2014 at 6:54 am

      That sounds amazing Taylor!! LOVE it. I need to put pastry cream on my bucket list. :)


  72. Deanna posted on June 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm (#)

    was looking for an improved vanilla cupcake recipe today and found this one
    doubled the recipe and used one split vanilla bean
    not sure where others went wrong, but i had absolutely fantastic results – so delicious! this will be my go-to recipe from now on.
    thanks so much!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on June 28th, 2014 at 7:46 am

      I’m so glad you liked them Deanna! Thanks so much!


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  74. Grace posted on July 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm (#)

    I have made these before and they are incredible. It helps that this is the FIRST result when you Google “Best Vanilla Cupcakes”. I have some in the oven now. It’s 11:00 at night and I NEED A CUPCAKE THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 28th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      I’m so glad you like them! And knowing it comes up first on google? Makes me teary. :) #foodbloggersdream Thanks for reading!


  75. Stephanie posted on August 1, 2014 at 10:41 am (#)

    I’ve never posted a comment on a blog…normally just a stalker. But, these deserve a million comments and shares and KUDOS! Amazing! I made them last night and they are PERFECT. My new favorite go-to cupcake!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on August 1st, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked them Stephanie. :):)


  76. Nanette posted on August 12, 2014 at 11:10 pm (#)

    Hi Dorothy, I made these and they were a hit..I have now had a request for a birthday cake using the same recipe…Would it work do you think?
    Nanette , Australia


    • Dorothy Kern replied on August 13th, 2014 at 6:42 am

      You read my mind Nanette! I have been itching to do a cake with that cupcake recipe. I’m going to add it to my baking list for next week!!


      • Nanette replied on August 14th, 2014 at 12:56 am

        Oh Thank you so much Dorothy…will be waiting to hear all about the results :)

  77. maybel posted on August 18, 2014 at 11:14 am (#)

    Hi how long does the frosting holds its shape at room temperature?thanks.i love the cupcake they are moist.


  78. maybel posted on August 18, 2014 at 11:16 am (#)

    Hi how long does the frosting holds its shape at room temperature? I love the cupcake they are moist!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on August 18th, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      It should hold up pretty good unless it’s warm. I wouldn’t leave them out overnight though – but for an hour or so before serving would be perfect.


  79. Handri posted on August 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm (#)

    Okay, so it is half past 12 at night, and I am baking these cupcakes! And I must say, these are by far the best vanilla cupcakes I’ve ever made :) Thanks so much for the recipe, I’m going to make them for my mom’s 50th birthday next week 😀


    • Dorothy Kern replied on August 21st, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you like them. I love them too. Happy Birthday to your mom!


  80. shida 101 posted on August 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm (#)

    i dnt no what i did mines didnt came out rite and my mixter was realy watery where did i go wrong?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on August 27th, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      The batter is more liquidy than a box mix or a recipe that uses softened butter (the melted butter makes them thinner). But they should bake up just fine. Did they bake up ok?


      • shida 101 replied on August 27th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

        no they didnt they were like tough and tasted funny n they didnt raise for like a half hour

        • Dorothy Kern replied on August 28th, 2014 at 6:58 am

          Is your baking powder fresh? That would cause the cupcakes to not rise. Check the expiration date on it. The only other thing could be the addition of too much milk? Other than that I’m sorry, I’m not sure what could have happened. I’ve made these successfully several times.

          • shida 101 replied on August 28th, 2014 at 7:09 am

            ok will try again thnkyou

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  82. ray posted on September 18, 2014 at 5:45 am (#)

    i’m just confused about the butter…… 1 stick it’s not really clear, can you tell me how many grams


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 18th, 2014 at 6:33 am

      Sorry, I don’t use grams. Google told me that 1 stick of butter (4 ounces) is 227 grams, but you may want to double check that.


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  85. jassie_belle posted on October 2, 2014 at 5:36 pm (#)

    I just baked these tonight. I will start with what I liked: the ease of recipe, moisture & color. Not to mention your pics are beautiful! But something seems to be off? I didn’t like the texture- I enjoy a more “airy” cupcake with rise. I don’t know if I needed more salt or vanilla than the recipe called, but these tasted quite bland to me. I’m sure they make a great base for other flavored cupcakes, but unfortunately this wasn’t “perfect vanilla”. 


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 2nd, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Well, they are less airy, but that’s how I prefer my cupcakes. Did you use vanilla bean paste as called for? That usually gives the punch of vanilla that’s needed.


  86. Tory posted on October 12, 2014 at 8:32 pm (#)

    These were delicious! I always make these complicated, fancy cupcakes, but my father in law prefers vanilla everything. And this recipe made me really appreciate how amazing a plain vanilla cupcake can be! And it still felt fancy, with the vanilla specks and the filling.

    My only suggestion… piping the filling in didn’t work very well because the cupcakes very pretty dense (in a wonderful way). Next time I would “core” the cupcakes and then add the filling. I added vanilla paste and a little vanilla extract and thought the flavor was great. I didn’t have butter extract, so I added almond to the frosting. Also, the frosting tasted really salty at first, but after sitting a few hours, it was the perfect compliment to the cupcakes. 

    Thanks for the recipe!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 13th, 2014 at 7:04 am

      Great tip Tony! Thank you!


  87. Kristen posted on October 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm (#)

    Does your vanilla bean paste give an equivalent to vanilla beans? I know Amazon and specialty/Williams Sonoma stores sell the paste, but since vanilla beans are at any supermarket, I just don’t want to buy a whole jar of paste and waste it if I don’t have to! Otherwise I have double strength Madagascar vanilla extract from the spice store that would be an intense vanilla flavor if I subbed Tbsp for Tbsp…


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 20th, 2014 at 6:53 am

      I sub the paste and extract exact. I’d say one vanilla bean for these. Although, the paste is way cheaper than the beans, even with shipping!! :)


  88. Ann Krezmer posted on November 16, 2014 at 10:30 am (#)

    I have to say THESE ARE THE BEST!!! I made these cupcakes yesterday and they are Delicious! They are perfect! I love the texture :)  so very fluffy and moist.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 16th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      I’m so glad you like them Ann!!


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  90. Bella posted on January 12, 2015 at 5:28 pm (#)

    WOW! I normally do not like cupcakes, but these blew me away. I halved the batch and subsituted mayo for the half egg that I was missing and they were amazing! Great recipe Dorothy!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 13th, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      I’m so glad!! I’m not normally a cupcake person either but I love these too. And great tip about the subbing for the egg!!


  91. rebecca posted on February 10, 2015 at 11:22 pm (#)

    These were really lovely. I have been craving vanilla cupcakes for ages but was always so disappointed when I made them. These were the perfect thing. I made them without the cream filling though and I thought they were perfect without it. Thanks so much. 


    • Dorothy Kern replied on February 11th, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!


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  95. Peyton posted on March 21, 2015 at 10:25 am (#)

    What if you don’t have white vinegar to make the buttermilk can you use Apple cider vinegar? 


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 21st, 2015 at 11:55 am

      I’ve never tried it Petyon, but I assume it would work. It might add a flavor to the milk, but I’m not sure. Let me know if it works out!


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