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Close up of perfect vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream and topped with rainbow sprinkles

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

This is the most perfect Vanilla Cupcake Recipe ever! It's an easy recipe from scratch, homemade, moist and fluffy and simple. You can make this gluten free or dairy free and it's the perfect all-purpose cupcake recipe that's amazing with vanilla buttercream.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cupcake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 14 cupcakes
Calories 480kcal
Author Dorothy Kern
Cost $10


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 ½ cups (186g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter , melted
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • ¾ cup (178ml) buttermilk (or combine 3/4 cup milk + 1 teaspoon white vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes)

For the filling (OPTIONAL):

  • ½ cup (119ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup (113g) unsalted butter , softened
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups (452g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake tins with liners (makes 12-15).
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • To make the filling, if using: beat heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Whisk in both extracts.
  • To make the frosting: Beat butter until creamy. Beat in salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until crumbly. Beat in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. Add more cream as needed for desired consistency.
  • 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.
  • Frost cupcakes by placing frosting in a pastry bag. I like the 1M tip, it gives pretty swirls. Add sprinkles for fun!
  • Note: you can make the frosting the day before, but let it come to room temperature before using.


No need to fill the cupcakes, I just wanted a little extra. These cupcakes would be great with chocolate frosting, and the vanilla buttercream would be good with any flavor cupcake!
If you make the frosting alone, without the cupcakes, you can use salted butter if that's what you have on hand. Just leave out the salt!
Cupcake Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 159mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 821IU | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg