These easy vanilla cupcakes look beautiful with a swirl of vanilla buttercream and coloured sprinkles. They are so simple to make and are perfect for any occasion.
I have lost count of the amount of vanilla cupcake recipes I’ve made over the years. This recipe is the easiest and most delicious of them all.
A good, reliable vanilla cupcake recipe is something that every home baker should have in their repertoire.
They are so versatile – you can top them with swirls of vanilla or chocolate buttercream and cute coloured sprinkles, fill the centres with jam or lemon curd like my lemon drizzle cupcakes. Anything goes!
If you’re looking for a light and fluffy vanilla cupcake recipe that is nice and simple to make, give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed!
How to make vanilla cupcakes from scratch
This is a really easy recipe – the mixture is made in one bowl and takes just a few minutes to mix together.
The cupcakes take just 20 minutes to bake – which makes them ideal for when you need to whip something sweet up in a hurry!
which Vanilla Extract to Use?
You can use either a good vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for the sponge and buttercream – both will give you great flavour.
I particularly love using bean paste in my vanilla buttercream because I love seeing the little black flecks of vanilla beans, but I don’t always have a jar in my cupboard.
Whether you use extract or paste, it’s definitely worth using the best quality you can afford – it will make all the difference to your cupcakes. I don’t recommend using anything labeled vanilla “essence” or “flavouring”.
It’s worth using the best quality extract you can find. I love Nielsen Massey
Baking tips and commonly asked questions
How long do these vanilla cupcakes keep?
The cupcakes will keep well in an airtight tin for up to three days, but they are best enjoyed within 24 hours of baking.
How do you get a flat top on cupcakes?
If you want cupcakes with a flat top that are perfect for decorating with sky high swirls of buttercream, bake them on a lower temperature – I find 170/180C is perfect, but all ovens are different.
If your cupcakes keep turning out with a little “hump” on top, it’s very likely your oven is running on the hot side. An oven thermometer is a really useful tool to invest in – it’s the only way to tell if your oven is running accurately.
Can I make these cupcakes with plain flour instead of self raising?
Yes! If you only have plain flour in the cupboard, simply sift together the same amount of plain flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder.
more cupcake recipes to try
did you make this recipe?
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- 250g self raising flour
- 250g caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of fine salt
- 250g soft butter
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 ½ teaspoons best quality vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons full fat milk
- FOR THE VANILLA BUTTERCREAM
- 300g soft unsalted butter
- 600g Icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons full fat milk
- TO DECORATE
- Sprinkles or sweets of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160Fan/350F/Gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole cupcake or muffin tin with paper liners.
- Sift the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and eggs and beat for 1 minute with an electric mixer.
- Stir the vanilla extract into the milk and pour over the mixture. Beat for a further 20 seconds or until the batter is smooth and well combined. Using a plastic or rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the batter one last mix for 10-20 seconds.
- Fill the paper liners with the cupcake batter, no more than two thirds full. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes or until risen, golden and spring back when pressed. Leave the cupcakes in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the vanilla buttercream, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Place the milk into a small jug and pour in the vanilla extract. Add half of the icing sugar and half the vanilla milk to the creamed butter and beat on high speed for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and light. Add the remaining icing sugar and vanilla milk and continue to beat for 2-3 minutes or until the buttercream is white and very fluffy. Using a plastic or rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the buttercream one final mix for a couple of minutes.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle, pipe swirls of buttercream onto the cold cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles or sweets of your choice.
Nutrition InformationYield 24 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 361Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 81mgSodium 223mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 0gSugar 36gProtein 2g
Calories and nutritional information are provided by a third party application and should be viewed as indicative figures only.