These original American Vanilla Cupcakes are the best! So many readers have baked these cupcakes and it’s one of the most popular recipes on Living on Cookies.
Everyone needs that “go-to” recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes. It has to be straightforward and the cupcakes need to come out perfect. Every. Time. This is my tried and true recipe. The cupcakes are light, moist and fluffy with a delicate vanilla sweetness that is just right.
Did you know that’s it’s easy make vanilla extract and paste yourself? Here is a post on how to make vanilla extract.
As an alternative to vanilla extract, you could use vanilla sugar (if you live in Austria, for example), vanilla paste or real vanilla beans. To use vanilla beans, slice the vanilla bean open lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds out. Using real vanilla seeds has the added benefit that you see the tiny, black seeds in the cupcakes.
You can enjoy these unpretentious Vanilla Cupcakes as they are – simply delicious – or you can fancy them up, whether they’re for an elegant dessert or for a kids’ birthday party.
Here are some optional add-ins for the cupcakes:
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- lemon extract or grated zest and juice of half of an organic lemon
- fresh or frozen berries
- colored sprinkles (for confetti cupcakes): right before baking, stir ½ teaspoon of colored sprinkles, jimmies or nonpareils (or Rainbow Mix with stars, sprinkles and colored pearls) into each cupcake
I topped the cupcakes in the photos with swirls of Cream Cheese Frosting, which is truly my favorite frosting. Chocolate glaze or buttercream would also be amazing, along with coconut, caramel, peanut butter, vanilla buttercream or strawberry cream.
These cupcakes are made from scratch with old-fashioned ingredients like butter, milk and eggs. With this simple recipe, there’s no need for boxed mixes that contain chemical additives anymore.
Some last tips on making Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes:
- always use fresh, good-quality ingredients
- make sure your baking powder hasn’t expired
- these cupcakes are baked at a low temperature (325°F) to keep them soft and moist
Perfect American Vanilla Cupcakes
- 2 ½ cups (350 g) flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (112 g) butter at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups (300 ml) milk at room temperature
Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated.
Add the vanilla to the milk. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter-egg mixture and beat on low until well combined. Add one third of the vanilla milk and beat on low until well combined. Repeat procedure with the remaining flour and milk mixtures, scraping the bowl between additions.
Fill cupcake liners two thirds full with batter. Bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely in tins on a wire rack.
Adapted from Get Sweet Smart.