Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes


Earlier this week I talked about classic recipes that every home cook needs in their recipe box. If you are a home baker in the era of cupcakes, a Perfect Vanilla Cupcake is a must- have don’t you think? I fell in love with simple vanilla cupcakes with a sweet creamy frosting back when I first moved to New York and would roam the city tasting cupcakes from all the bakeries looking for my favorite. My standards were – fine crumb, moist, loaded with pure vanilla flavor and a sweet vanilla frosting that is both creamy and has a bit of a crust (if that makes sense.) I tasted many delicious ones and some just OK ones, but until recently I never baked the one.

These are my perfect vanilla cupcakes and though I’ve made a lot on this blog it is by far my favorite. It’s actually the recipe from Georgetown Cupcakes, which believe it or not, I’ve never actually been to. (There is one in NYC but I stopped buying cupcakes around the time I started cranking out a 2-3 desserts a week for the blog.) Even though I’ve made the “official” vanilla cupcake recipes from other bakeries before, they never were quite right. I love this cupcake and I used my new favorite vanilla frosting which made them even better. It adds just a touch of cream cheese- only enough to give the frosting that little punch and keep it super creamy.

So- are you making these over the weekend or what? I would consider it but we’re heading to DISNEY WORLD today! Woohoo! Stay tuned to my Instagram feed for some photo updates from the weekend. TGIF!


Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Yield: 20 -24 cupcakes


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick of butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature

For the Frosting:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, soft
  • 4 oz of cream cheese
  • 3-5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and smooth. Mix in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Stir the vanilla into the milk.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  6. Fill liners about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick interred into one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. Always cool 100% before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Mix in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Start with 3 cups and add more depending on how stiff you want it to be. Add food coloring if desired and frost cooled cupcakes.


Cupcake recipe from Georgetown Cupcakes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


  1. So since there is cream cheese in the frosting do these cupcakes need to be refrigerated?

    1. I would say if you aren’t serving them for over 6-8 hours pop them in the fridge and then let them come to room temperature before serving. I didn’t refrigerate them though. I made in he morning last time and served in the afternoon!

  2. gosh these look good…and the recipe is so straight forward! is it the whipping hte butter and sugar so much that is the secret you think? can you fit me in your suitcase to go to disney world?? xooxxooxooxx

  3. These look absolutely beautiful and delicious! I really want to try your buttercream, but every time I try to make buttercream it turns out waxy. Do you know why this might happen?

      1. It’s kind of hard to explain, but the buttercream gets kind of dense and almost leaves an oily coating in my mouth. Almost like shortening, even though I used butter! I’ve tried different recipes and I always get the same result :( I know I’m doing something wrong I just can’t figure out what.

        1. I would try this recipe that uses a bit of cream cheese- that should definitely keep it on the smooth side! :)

        2. If you over beat the butter, this can happen. Try reducing the amount of time you are betting it.

  4. I made this recipe today and was very disappointed. The cake is heavy and the flavor is nothing special. I will not make it again. I notice that most people who enthuse about your recipes have not actually made them. They are mostly enthusiastic about the pretty pictures.

    1. It’s hard to know what went wrong since I wasn’t there, but my guess was over mixing of the batter or maybe expired baking powder? Were all the ingredients room temperature? I’ve tested this recipe several times and they always are the lightest most perfect texture. Sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  5. Audra – I just wanted to tell you that your cupcake recipe is a winner!! My husband and I absolutely loved them. We really liked that that the cake part holds together when you eat them, but they’re not heavy at all. That allows you to eat them anywhere without crumbs all over!! Perfect for kids and grandkids. The frosting is out of this world. We just finished them for dessert last night, and I’m planning on making more for the weekend. Thank you for another outstanding recipe! I hope you had a great vacation

  6. Hey Audra!! Was trying to make these today and was wondering if you used AP Flour or Cake Flour?

  7. I THOUGHT I had found the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe, but now I’m thinking I need to do a side by side comparison. For blog research, obviously.

  8. Dear Baker Chick:

    I have a child that is allergic to eggs and all nuts.
    Do you have any recipes like this cupcake that is eggless and nut free or any others that would be safe?

    Thank you a bunch!

    1. Hello! Unfortunately I don’t have any vanilla cupcakes recipes that are egg free, but if you search “Vegan Chocolate Cake” on the search bar on the top right you will find a great Chocolate Cake recipe that should fit the bill!

    2. Perhaps try this recipe- it comes out perfect every time for me!


      Recipe by Jubes

      1 1⁄2 cups plain flour (use a typical blended general purpose gluten-free plain flour mix -as stated in the intro)
      1 cup sugar
      1⁄3 cup oil (I use vegetable oil)
      1 cup water
      1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
      1 teaspoon gluten-free bicarbonate of soda
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      1 tablespoon vinegar or 1 tablespoon orange juice

      Preheat oven to 180°C Oil and line a round cake tin. (I use 20cm/8inch pan- but smaller or larger will just vary the height of the cake).
      Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Use an egg whisk to aerate- their is no need to sift the dry ingredients.
      Using a mixing jug, beat the oil, vinegar, vanilla and water together. Mix well.
      Make a well in the flour mix and add the wet mix. Beat this together slowly and when mixed through beat with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes.
      Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.The mixture should be the consistency of a thick batter. Cook 45-60 minutes.
      When cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before turning out to cool.
      Decorate as desired

  9. I really wanted to love this recipe since it’s so straightforward and uses ingredients I’m very comfortable with, but unfortunately by trying to be very simple the recipe does not produce the right consistency. I had to almost double the butter to start off with as I could see that the butter to sugar ratio was insane (is there a mistake?), and after cross-checking several other recipes, I could see that my new butter ratio was more in line with others. But the final produce is too chewy and dense (perhaps due to the initial butter ratio being off) – not at all light and fluffy as hoped. I’m disappointed to be serving these at my son’s birthday party. Don’t get me wrong – they’re not terrible – but they’re certainly not “perfect” either.

    1. HI Lois- the butter ratio isn’t off at all and that is what makes this recipe so great. I encourage you to make the recipe as written and then see what you think. I can’t imagine the texture is nearly as good without following it!

  10. I am excited to make this recipe soon but just want it to turn out perfect! Do you use unsalted butter and all-purpose flour for the cake? Also, you mentioned not over-mixing in your earlier post. How can I be sure that I don’t over-mix the batter? Thanks!!

    1. Yes I always use unsalted butter and AP flour unless otherwise noted :)
      For over-mixing, you just don’t want to keep mixing beyond the point where the batter is smooth and lump free. That can lead to dry or dense cake :)

      1. Hi Audra! So I made the cupcakes and they ended up being a little dry. I was pretty careful not to over-mix them. Do you have any other tips to keep them moist? Maybe I overcooked them just a minute or two too long? Any tips would be much appreciated.

        1. My only thought would be that your flour may have been measured heavily. Do you scoop and level? This can result in too much flour which could lead to driness. I like to fluff the flour with a spoon and the sprinkle the flour into the measuring cup. I hope that helps! We’re your butter and milk room temperature?

          1. I sprinkle the flour into a measuring cup and then shake it a little to level it. And yes I made sure the milk, butter and eggs were room temp. Not sure what went wrong but I definitely want to try them again! Just out of curiosity, how does it affect the cake if the butter and milk are not room temp?

            1. If the ingredients are cold it makes them blend into the batter less smoothly.
              I hope the recipe works out for you! I’ve never had a problem with them being dry.

  11. These cupcakes came out perfectly! Very moist and they don’t crumble either. My husband ate a few right after they came out of the oven. He loved they even if they weren’t chocolate! It is a keeper recipe!

    1. Yes, I’d start with the original cooking time and then check every couple minutes with a toothpick to see when done. 18-25 minutes is usually standard

  12. Easy and super delicious! We used cake flour. They are light and flavorful. My daughter is super excited to frost them and share with her soccer team tomorrow. Thanks!

  13. I cannot believe how insanely delicious these cupcakes are. I’ve never seen crumb like this outside of a professional bakery, let alone my own kitchen. My whole family was flabbergasted.

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