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Vanilla Cupcakes

If you love to bake from scratch just as much as I do, then I hope you have a good go-to recipe for a vanilla cupcake.  Whether or not you consider them trendy or perhaps feel they are no longer in vogue, a marvelous vanilla cupcake is here to stay.  I truly feel that cupcakes make our lives a little sweeter and a little nicer.  What better thing to bring to a bake sale or to have at a lemonade stand during the summer?  

Kids and adults alike enjoy the idea of having one entire little cake to themselves that is covered in a wonderful frosting.  I think it’s a great tradition to bake cupcakes with the kids, because it is so easy and it’s such a nice way to get them involved in the kitchen.  When I was growing up, baking cupcakes with mom for school holiday parties was always a fun thing for me.  Knowing that my classmates were about to enjoy something which came from our kitchen was an absolute joy to me.   

These days, we have such a large variety of cupcake liners to choose from that the possibilities are endless.  Personally, I think half of the presentation is in picking a colorful one.  I love using those liners which don’t fade during baking.  Having the design, color or pattern on the paper liner is part of the fun of cupcakes, so look for those which say ‘no-fade’.  Sure, white cupcake liners are marvelous {look at my Red Velvet Cupcakes} if you want the cupcake to show through and at times it is a good option.  Choose whatever is available to you, but most importantly, bake a great vanilla cupcake from scratch to make it special.

This is my go-to recipe that I’d like to share with you.  It’s one of my good things for a good life.  

Vanilla Cupcakes on Jadeite

The Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons or 1 stick {113 g.} unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup {220 g.} granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons {5 ml.} pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups {160 g.} cake flour, spooned & leveled
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon {6.25 ml} baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon {1.25 ml} fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup {120 ml.} milk, room temperature

Equipment: standard 12 cup muffin tin, paper cupcake liners
Yield: 12 cupcakes

These are the basics of good cupcake baking.  I prefer using light-colored aluminum tins so that the cupcakes don't darken too much.  Before I start making the batter, I line  each well with paper liners; the design on foil liners never fades.  Use a good nonstick cooking spray to cover the top of the muffin tin with it so that the cupcakes don't stick to the pan.  A #16 ice cream scoop gives you evenly-sized cupcakes.  Look for one at a kitchenwares store.

Center Oven Racks
Preheat to 350° F (177°C)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a handheld mixer), cream the unsalted butter on medium speed for 30 seconds, just until lightened.  

  2. Gradually add the granulated sugar in a steady stream and continue to beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes.  The mixture should be thick, fluffy & pale.  Stop and scrape down the bowl & paddle at least once during this process.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time on medium speed and beat until fully emulsified, about 30 seconds per egg.  Stop and scrape down the bowl & paddle at least once.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder & fine sea salt.  Lower the speed to low on your mixer and add 1/3 of the dry ingredients
  6. Add half of the milk.
  7. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients and then add the last of the milk.  Beat in the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
  8. Remove the bowl and paddle from the mixer and give the cake batter a few turns with a large spatula just to make sure everything is incorporated.  You don’t want any stray bits of butter on the bottom of the bowl or any flecks of flour.

Using a #16 ice cream scoop, evenly divide the batter among the prepared pan. 

Bake the cupcakes for 18-22 minutes.

A toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake should come out clean.  The tops should feel springy.

Let the cupcakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes.  Gently remove them onto racks and cool completely before frosting.

Ice with the Simple Vanilla Frosting as desired.  You can leave them plain or sprinkle each cupcake with jimmies, nonpareils or even a bit of colored sanding sugar.  These particular cupcakes were sprinkled with light green sanding sugar to pick up the color of my jadeite.

Double the recipe if you plan on having a crowd.



  1. Ah, David! You are singing my song! Vanilla cupcakes are the favorite at my house, lovingly referred to as "plain old" cupcakes. I can't wait to try your recipe! I've found it is hard to find a really good scratch recipe. I feel like this post was just for me, so thank you!

  2. Nancy, these cupcakes are very delicious. I'm not just saying that because I made them, but because they're very popular here at the cafe where people buy them up!

  3. I agree with Nancy, it is hard to find a good vanilla cake scratch recipe.
    Your reply to Nancy is encouraging me to try your recipe, that and the fact that the batter looks amazing.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Paula, I think you'll like them too!

    Sometimes nothing will do but a vanilla cupcake.


  5. David my Friend, another culinary triumph. These cupcakes were perfect. Hugs

  6. David, I operate a small cupcake business from home and having tried many vanilla cupcake recipes, I can attest to the fact that a good moist vanilla cake is hard to come by. I look forward to trying your recipe one day soon! And ohhh the gorgeous jadeite plates and cake stands - be still my heart!!!

    1. Absolutely, Florence! I agree. I know, one can never get enough of jadeite, right?

      Happy Baking!

    2. Yes never enough of jadeite David! Well, I whipped up a batch of your vanilla cupcakes on this lazy Sunday morning. They are very moist and very delicious, truly an excellent vanilla recipe. I used a jadeite dessert plate to test one out, which made the whole thing even better :)

    3. How wonderful!!!!! I'm glad you liked the recipe and how great that you used your jadeite.

      There's nothing like the green glass. :)


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