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Fast + Foolproof: 30-Minute Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

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You can never go wrong with a batch of homemade vanilla cupcakes. While “plain vanilla” sometimes gets dismissed as being boring, vanilla is actually one of the most complex – and most delicious – flavors in the world and there aren’t too many people who will turn one down. This easy-to-make vanilla cupcake recipe is a great one to add to your repertoire for the next time you need a quick (and delicious) batch of cupcakes!

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes

The easy vanilla cupcake recipe uses simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry: flour, butter, sugar and eggs.

The butter and sugar are creamed together until light and fluffy before any other ingredients are added, then eggs, flavorings and dry ingredients are carefully blended in using the same technique used to make most cakes.

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients

It is easy to over-bake cupcakes because they are so small.

One or two minutes too long in the oven and you have a cake that is dry and crumbly. To ensure that these cakes turn out to be nice and moist, I borrowed a secret from one of my favorite types of cake, chiffon cake, and added a little bit of vegetable oil to the cake batter.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil actually retains moisture better than butter in a cake and using a combination of the two fats means that your cupcakes will have the tender crumb and delicious flavor of a pure butter cake, but with extra moisture that will keep your cupcakes fresh longer. 

Three Different Vanillas

Vanilla is an important ingredient in these cupcakes because that is where they get their flavor.

I use good quality vanilla extract, which gives the cupcakes a nice vanilla flavor and is easy to use, but that isn’t the only option out there. For instance, you could opt for vanilla bean paste instead of extract. The paste has a suspension of vanilla bean specks that will give your cupcakes the look of real vanilla bean with the ease of vanilla extract.

Alternatively, you could actually use real vanilla bean in this recipe. To use a vanilla bean, split the bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds inside of the vanilla bean pod. Add the seeds in to the butter and sugar while you are creaming them, then proceed with the recipe. 

Once your cupcakes have cooled, you can top them with any frosting that you like.

I topped this batch off with a velvety cream cheese frosting, but anything from a classic vanilla  buttercream to a decadent brown sugar buttercream or nutella buttercream will work nicely with this recipe.

Classic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Easy vanilla cupcake recipe

Makes 12 cupcakes

Get a free printable version of this recipe here.


  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup milk

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Creamed Butter & Sugar for Vanilla Cupcakes

Step 2:

Blend in vegetable oil, egg, vanilla extract and almond extract. Add in one third of the flour mixture then stir in half of the milk. Add in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk. Stir in the remaining flour and mix only until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. 

Step 3:

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Divide batter evenly into the prepared pan. Each cavity should be filled at least 2/3 full. 

Cupcake Pan Filled with Vanilla Cake Batter

Step 4:

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. 

Step 5:

Turn the cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Get a free printable version of this recipe here.

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justina ndokwu

Easy method will try it

Julie Bridges

I needed a recipe for 12 cupcakes, but you “had me” at almond extract! Yum!

Michael Prudhomme

Thanks for sharing your technique.

abigail yeboah

this is the easiest cupcake made wid love.tnx soo much


I have tried this cupcake recipe.The texture and taste is good.The cupcakes rose nicely.However after removing it from the oven they fell flat.Any suggestion what might have gone wrong.Thank,I will like to try it later again.

Nicole Weston

Hi Carol,

Thanks for asking. These cupcakes should be somewhat flat on top. It typically makes cupcakes easier to decorate when they don’t have a large dome. That said, they shouldn’t sink when you take them out of the oven. It is possible that yours needed an extra minute to really “set.” Try testing them by gently poking the top of a cupcake with a fingertip before taking them out of the oven. If the cake springs back, then they are “set” and ready to come out. Sometimes, that is a more reliable test than using a toothpick.

I hope that helps.



Thank you very much Nicole.You hit the nail on the head .That’s exactly what I did. I tested the cup cakes with a tooth and it came out clean, so I thought they were done.I will try them again very soon. God bless.


The reply above should have read.I tested it with a tooth pick and not a tooth. Sorry I did not proof read before posting.


great recipe! used these to make a sheet cake for cake pops. The cake came out delicious – very moist. Worked well with the cake pops!

Alvina Carrothers

I look forward to using your recipes and decorating ideas


I just made these and they were a DISASTER! Overflowed everywhere and made a sticky mess all over my cupcake tins.


Mine too…and i made 18 of them and they still overflowed…︶︿︶

Nicole Weston

Hi Alicia,

I’m sorry to hear that. If the cupcakes overflowed and the batter spread out, I suspect that might mean that your muffin cups were overfilled. While muffin cups should be a “standard” size, the truth is that not all cavities are the same size and the pan you used might be a bit smaller. The muffin cups should not be filled more than 3/4 full, regardless of the exact size of the pan. It is also possible that your oven was not quite hot enough, as an a hot oven should help ensure the cupcakes get that initial rise and set well.

I hope this helps troubleshoot this issue for next time,


Please can you tell me the equivalent of cup to gram . Thanx


I’ve been baking for many years now and tried this out by chance … Unfortunately I found it to be a terrible recipe. Firstly filling the cases 2/3 full is not a good suggestion as they WILL overflow and become ruined. Fill them less than half way. Secondly they sink awfully, much beyond the extent to which they should sink. Aside from this the flavour of the sponge was nice. Don’t think I’ll be using this one again though! But thankyou for the recipe, God bless 🙂


Want to try this recipe but would first like to know if this makes a light fluffy cupcake or a dense moist cupcake? Thanks.

Reply Delhi

You have great write up, I always read your blog. and I must say you are doing good job, plz do write like this.


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