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Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

These classic vanilla cupcakes are heavenly! They’re light and fluffy and perfect for any occasion! If you’re looking for an easy vanilla cupcake recipe, look no further! These are the best classic vanilla cupcakes from scratch!

These vanilla cupcakes are wonderful for children’s parties, birthdays, or any celebration! And, they are SO simple to make. This recipe is pretty basic and uses typical pantry items.

I’ve also included a simple vanilla buttercream recipe, but to be honest, I really love these cupcakes plain, especially with coffee in the morning! 

What you’ll need:

Flour:  I use all purpose flour, but you could also you self-rising flour, instead, just omit the baking powder.

Sugar: I use regular, granulated sugar.

Buttermilk: I usually make my own by adding some white vinegar to milk and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.

Egg: I use 1 organic egg.

Vanilla: I like using vanilla extract.

Oil: I use a bit of vegetable oil to keep the cupcakes moist.

Salt: I use just a pinch for flavor.

Baking powder: To help them rise.

Butter: I think the combination of butter and vegetable oil makes these cupcakes more flavorful. You will also need some butter for the buttercream.

Powdered sugar: I use sifted powdered sugar to make the buttercream.

vanilla cupcakes

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & TIPS FOR SUCCESS

What makes cupcakes light and fluffy?

To get really light and fluffy cupcakes, you need to incorporate some air into the batter to create bubbles, but not too much! That’s why you should NEVER overmix the batter, because it literally bursts those air bubbles, making the cupcakes dense and flat. Remember, you’re aiming for light and fluffy cupcakes, not pancakes! 

Why are my cupcakes dry?

There are probably 2 main reasons for this: overbaking and/or adding too much flour.

Overbaking

When you overbake the cupcakes, the excessive heat causes the moisture inside them to evaporate. 

Adding too much flour

You really need to measure the flour correctly in baking. If you pack the flour into the measuring cup, you’ll end up with more flour, which will result in dense and dry cupcakes. Check out my post where I get into more detail about how to measure flour properly and why it’s so important.

How do you make perfect cupcakes every time?

To get consistent results every single time, I highly suggest you use a digital scale. A digital scale also saves me a lot of time because I don’t need to wash any measuring cups or spoons. I just weigh all my ingredients before I start. 

Can you bake cupcakes without liners?

Of course! As long as you grease the pan really well and then flour it before adding the batter.

How do I make cupcakes moist?

In my opinion, 2 things make cupcakes moist: buttermilk and vegetable oil! I think cupcakes made with a combination of buttermilk and vegetable oil also stay moist longer as opposed to ones made with just butter. You could also use brown sugar for moistness, but I usually don’t because it’s sweeter than granulated sugar.

How to make your own buttermilk

I  make my own buttermilk by adding 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar to a measuring cup and then adding enough milk to make 1/2 cup (125 ml). I just stir it well and let it sit for about 5-8 minutes. It’ll curdle and become thick, just like buttermilk! 

How do I fill cupcake liners without making a mess?

I usually use a cookie scoop to fill the liners a little over halfway full, about 2/3 or 3/4 full. You could also use an ice cream scoop. 

How do I frost cupcakes?

I just use a knife to frost them when I’m not making them for a special occasion. If you want to get creative, you can use a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip. For the cupcakes you see in these pictures, I used a Wilton 1M tip.

vanilla cupcakes

How do I store frosted cupcakes?

You can keep them at room temperature for 1-2 days, but if it’s hot where you live, I would refrigerate them, instead. Frosted cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. Just make sure they’re in an airtight container so they don’t dry out.  

How do I freeze cupcakes?

I always freeze cupcakes plain, without frosting. After they’ve completely cooled, I put them in 2 freezer bags so that they don’t absorb any smells from the freezer. Before sealing the bag, I make sure the cupcakes are sitting flat. I always put them in an area in the freezer where I know they won’t get squashed (obviously)! They can be stored in the freezer for up to about 2 months.

Can I freeze cupcakes in the liners?

Yes, but let them cool COMPLETELY. If you freeze them in the liners while they’re still warm, condensation will form which could make the cupcakes soggy!

How do I thaw cupcakes?

The best way to thaw cupcakes is to put them in the refrigerator overnight. But if you’re impatient like me, you could thaw them on your countertop. Cupcakes don’t really take that long to thaw, although it does depend on where you live and the climate. After taking them out of the freezer and out of the bags, I place them on a cooling rack and cover them with a clean kitchen towel. It usually takes a couple of hours for them to thaw completely at room temperature.

Other ways to top vanilla cupcakes besides frosting

Like I said, these cupcakes are great on their own, but I often add different toppings as buttercream isn’t really popular in my family!

If you’re not crazy about buttercream frosting or want to try something different on vanilla cupcakes, here are a few suggestions:

Powdered sugar or Cocoa powder: Just dust them with some powdered sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder. You could also use stencils and create beautiful designs on top!

Glaze: Make a simple glaze with powdered sugar and water or milk and drizzle over the cupcakes. An oldie, but goodie!

Nutella: Generously spread some Nutella on top. Nutella is great with just about anything, isn’t it?? I don’t think you could ever go wrong with Nutella!

Chocolate: You could melt some of your favorite chocolate and spoon it over the cupcakes. Or, better yet,  you could pour some of this delicious homemade chocolate syrup  on them – yummy!!!

Fresh fruit & Jam: You could also go with something light, like fresh fruit. Sometimes I spread some jam  or marmalade on top of the cupcakes first so the fruit doesn’t fall off.   

VARIATIONS

REAL Vanilla Cupcakes

Using ground vanilla bean powder instead of vanilla extract makes AMAZING cupcakes, especially with all those gorgeous flecks of vanilla inside! I love using ground vanilla bean powder! It made such a difference when I used it in my easy no-churn vanilla ice cream! You should give it a try!

Funfetti Cupcakes

For colorful funfetti cupcakes, add ½ cup sprinkles to the batter.

Filled Cupcakes

You can fill the cupcakes with lots of different sweet treats, like peanut butter, Nutella, jam, fruit, or candy!

Want healthier cupcakes? Check out these Sugar Free Whole Wheat Chocolate Cupcakes!

Let me know how these classic vanilla cupcakes turn out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

~Voula

vanilla cupcakes

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

These classic vanilla cupcakes are heavenly! They’re light and fluffy and perfect for any occasion! If you’re looking for an easy vanilla cupcake recipe, look no further! These are the best classic vanilla cupcakes from scratch!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: classic, vanilla, cupcakes, easy,
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 1 ¼ cup (190 g / 6.7 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature (or see the NOTES below on how to make your own)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the buttercream frosting

  • ¾ cup (6 oz / 170 g) unsalted butter, soft, at room temperature, but not melted
  • 3½ - 4 cups (400 g / 14 oz) SIFTED powdered sugar, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ - 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • gel-based red food coloring (optional)

Instructions

For the cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  • Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  • If you're making your own buttermilk, see the NOTE below and make it now. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until it's creamy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix well. Then add the buttermilk and oil and mix until everything is fully incorporated.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until JUST combined. Don't overmix.
  • Fill the cupcake liners with the batter, a little over halfway full. I like using a cookie scoop.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • When done, take the cupcakes out of the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completley.
  • Make sure they are completely cool before frosting them.

For the buttercream frosting

  • Beat the butter until it's soft and creamy, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the powdered sugar and the remaining ingredients and beat for at least 5 minutes, until it gets really light. Scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
  • If the buttercream is too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add a little milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches the consistency you like. If you wish, use a toothpick to add a tiny drop of food coloring and mix well.
  • Frost the cooled cupcakes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

How to make your own buttermilk for this recipe:
Add 1/2 tablespoon vinegar to half a cup of milk and stir well. Let it sit for 5-8 minutes before using. 
The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
© Pastry Wishes

 

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Easy No-churn Vanilla Ice Cream (+Secret Ingredient)

A foolproof recipe for easy, no-churn vanilla ice cream with lots of flavor options! Plus, a secret ingredient that will take your homemade ice cream to a whole new level!

no churn vanilla ice cream

I love old-fashioned vanilla ice cream because of its creaminess and rich flavor, especially when it’s made in an ice cream maker. It’s traditionally made with an egg custard base, and then it’s slowly churned in an ice cream machine. The flavor, of course, is phenomenal! 

But…

I always had 2 problems with this. 

First, making traditional ice cream is time-consuming. 

Second, I don’t have an ice cream maker.

The solution?

This foolproof recipe!  Although the texture is softer, it tastes just as good, if not better than churned ice cream.

And it’s A LOT quicker and easier as there’s no need for any special equipment other than a hand mixer.

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS NO-CHURN VANILLA ICE CREAM

  • It’s cheaper than store-bought.
  • It requires ONLY 3 ingredients. 
  • You don’t need an ice cream maker.
  • There is NO cooking involved.
  • It tastes SOOO good!

THE SECRET INGREDIENT

My secret ingredient is ground vanilla bean powder. It’s a fine powder made by grinding dried vanilla bean pods. It has an AMAZING aroma and a wonderful, distinctive flavor. On the market, you may find ground vanilla bean powder that’s sweetened or has additives, but I suggest you get pure vanilla bean powder without any sweeteners or additives. Compared to vanilla extract, ground vanilla bean powder offers a unique flavor. It’s absolutely incredible!

HOW TO MAKE NO-CHURN VANILLA ICE CREAM

no churn vanilla ice cream steps

After that, cover with plastic wrap and then some aluminum foil and freeze.

no churn vanilla ice creamTo be honest, I never thought that ground vanilla bean powder would make much of a difference! It really blew my mind! Ground vanilla bean powder has become such a game changer for me! It’s a real treasure for home bakers! And I just love those beautiful, tiny black specks, too!

FLAVOR OPTIONS

Cookies and Cream

cookies and cream ice creamJust coarsely crush about 10 Oreo cookies and fold them into the mixture before freezing.

Peanut Butter

Add ½ cup peanut butter to the whipped cream and then follow steps 3-6 in the picture tutorial.

Cinnamon Roll

Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cinnamon sugar to the whipped cream and then follow steps 3-6 in the picture tutorial.

Caramel

After the ice cream has half frozen, drizzle about ½ – 1 cup caramel on top and use a knife to swirl it around. Then freeze completely.

Coffee Ice Cream

Add 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 2 tablespoons of  Kahlua (or your favorite coffee liquor) into the mixture and then follow steps 3-6 in the picture tutorial.

Chocolate

Add melted bittersweet chocolate (about 8 oz / 225 g) to the whipped cream and follow steps 3-6 in the picture tutorial.

Double Chocolate

Melt about 4.4 oz / 125 g bittersweet chocolate and mix it with ½ cup sifted, unsweetened cocoa powder. Then swirl it into the mixture before freezing or use a mixer to mix it in the base before freezing.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Make sure you use sweetened condensed milk, NOT evaporated milk.
  • Put the can of sweetened condensed milk in the fridge a day ahead.
  • Before whipping the cream, put a metal bowl in the freezer. This will help the cream whip faster.
  • The higher the fat content in the cream, the bigger the volume of the whipped cream.
  • If you’re going to mix in any candy like M&M’s, make sure you chop them first because they get really hard when frozen.
  • Keep in mind that some add-ins may affect the overall freezing time.
  • To make sure your ice cream doesn’t absorb any odors, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing. This will also prevent any ice crystals from forming on the top.
  • Before storing in the freezer, label it with the date you made it.
  • Store it in the back of the freezer where the temperature stays the same. Don’t put it in the freezer door.

Let me know how this no-churn vanilla ice cream turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

no churn vanilla ice cream

Easy No-churn Vanilla Ice Cream (+Secret Ingredient)

A foolproof recipe for easy, no-churn vanilla ice cream with lots of flavor options! Plus, a secret ingredient that will take your homemade ice cream to a whole new level!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy,, no churn, vanilla ice cream, no ice cream maker
Servings: 1 1/2 quarts / kilos (approximately)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (500 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 14-ounce (397g) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground vanilla bean powder (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)

Instructions

  • Whip the heavy cream until it thickens and forms stiff peaks.
  • Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix until just combined.
  • Add the vanilla and mix.
  • Pour into a freezer safe container. Cover with plastic wrap and then some aluminum foil.
  • Freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

You can substitue the ground vanilla bean powder with 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
Put the can of sweetened condensed milk in the fridge a day ahead.
Before whipping the cream, put a metal bowl in the freezer. This will help the cream whip faster.
The ice cream can be stored in the freezer for about  1 ½ months. Make sure to keep it in the back of the freezer where the temperature stays the same. Don't put it in the freezer door.
©Pastry Wishes
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