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Moist and Delicious Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Updated: Apr 25

This is an absolute go-to cupcake recipe and I promise you will love them too! This melt-in-your-mouth, fluffy, and full of vanilla flavor cupcakes will sure to impress your friends and family!

mother's day vanilla cake slice

Other than my sugar cookies, these vanilla cupcakes are my most commonly requested treat to make, and with how delicious these are, I completely understand why! Similar to my Classic Vanilla Cake recipe with a few different touches, this recipe also makes a tender and fluffy vanilla cupcake with a few extra ingredients to add that layer of richness and moisture.

Tools You'll Need

Here are some kitchen tools I like to suggest for making my cakes. These are the exact products I use every time:

  • Electric Mixer or a Bowl and Silicone Spatula

  • Cupcake Tins

  • Cupcake Liners (if making cupcakes) I use these tall standard liners that look better than your average small standards.

Recipe Questions

Why Sour Cream?

It is the same reason for buttermilk! Sour cream similar to buttermilk adds a boost of moisture, without affecting the vanilla, but it also adds more richness. Sour cream has a higher fat content, giving that ultimate rich flavor, and adds a bit of acidity to your cake, giving it a nice and tender texture. Trust me, no one will know that there is sour cream in it...well unless you tell them. The secret is between us!

What If I Only have Unsalted Butter?

It won’t affect the recipe! Just add a 1/4 tsp of salt into your dry ingredients.

Can I Use All-Purpose Flour All Together Instead?

Absolutely! I would replace the 1 3/4 cup of cake flour with all-purpose in addition to the 1 cup. The reason I recommend using cake flour is due to it being extra-finely sifted, which results in a lighter crumb and fluffy texture. Cake flour is also a low-protein compared to all-purpose flour, so in my opinion it helps keep the cake taste and not like bread.

Can I alter this recipe for different flavors?

You can! To an extent. Feel free to add fruit (pureed or dehydrated/freeze-dried) or different extracts. Adding too much of a new ingredient can alter the recipe too much and cause the outcome to not be as great. It will be best to look at my other cupcake recipes for specific flavors.

Recipe Tips

  • Be sure to check your baking powder expiration date. If you end up having dense cupcakes that do not seem to rise or fluff up at all, expired baking powder or over-mixed batter is usually the culprit.

  • Use good vanilla! By this I mean, those more expensive quality vanilla brands. Vanilla quality makes a complete difference in baking. You may also use vanilla bean paste which not only gives a great deal of vanilla flavor but adds that vanilla bean specs within your batter.

  • Scrape the sides! During the batter mixing process, be sure to do these steps slowly and scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl 1-2 times to ensure there are no ingredients that do not get mixed in properly. Skipping this can result in chunks of butter, flour, etc ending up in the middle of your cupcakes.

  • Do not pack your flour! If you are not using a kitchen scale, fluff up your flour before placing it into your measuring cup and then level it off with a knife. Packed flour can result in not only more flour in the batter but also dense and dry cupcakes.

  • When your cupcakes are done baking, they should have a nice spring to their centers and a toothpick should come out completely clean. If you shake the pan slightly and the centers jiggle, that means they still need more time to bake.

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 12-15 cupcakes

Metric version coming soon!


  • 1/2 cup salted butter (melted)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)

  • 1 egg white (room temperature)

  • 1 cup cake flour

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup sour cream (room temperature)

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (room temperature)

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line your cupcake tins

2. Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a mixing bowl

3. In a smaller bowl, mix your buttermilk and sour cream until it is an even thicker consistency, and then add your eggs, egg white, melted butter and vanilla. Whisk until combined and set aside.

4. While your mixer is on low, slowly let your wet ingredients drizzle into the bowl. Scrape the sides and bottom halfway through. Mix until ingredients are just combined, we do not want to overmix here either! You may finish off by folding with a spatula to remove any bigger lumps.

5. Fill your cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for a starting time of 15 minutes check them, and add more time if needed. Remove from oven when a toothpick comes out from the center with some crumbs and there is no jiggle.

vanilla cake

Recipe Notes

Freezing Your Cupcakes

Once your cupcakes are out of the oven, let them cool and place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze for 1-2 months.

Buttermilk vs. Milk

Buttermilk is not needed, but it adds just that right amount of extra moisture and flavor that my customers enjoy! Buttermilk has a bit of a higher fat content than regular milk. You may use regular milk any % will work or try making your own buttermilk substitute from the options in my Buttermilk Substitutes blog!

Egg Whites

I call for 1 egg white to get rid of some of the yellow tone, however you may use 4 whole eggs for a yellow cake! If you want a true white cake, see my recipe here.

Butter Vs. Oil

I enjoy the taste of butter and find that vegetable oil can cause your liners to soak some of it up into the paper...which is why I have completely opted it out of the recipe. If you would like to freeze your cupcakes, I recommend adding 3-4 tbsp of vegetable oil to the batter to help keep them moist during the freezing.

Have you tried this recipe? Tag me on Social Media!

Use #sweeteatsbyrachel and mention @sweeteatsbyrachel on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

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May 23
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So delicious. I made these as mini cupcakes for a pull apart cake. And your buttercream. Both are game changers and amazing

Rachel Mann
Rachel Mann
May 24
Replying to

Happy you love it!

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