The BEST Vanilla Cupcakes + the BEST Vanilla Frosting

April 2, 2015
In all of my years of cooking and recipe testing, these are truly the BEST Vanilla Cupcakes + the BEST Vanilla Frosting I have ever had.  When it comes to cupcakes, these will be your new best friend!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with the Best Vanilla Frosting image

I just love it when I find an absolutely fabulous recipe I know I can trust to come out great every  time, and that I know will be loved every  time.  And the recipe for these vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting is one of those recipes, my friends.

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of vanilla-with-vanilla ~ these cupcakes are out-of-this-world good.  They're my tried-and-true. My go-to.  My best friend of cupcakes, one could say.

And speaking of best friends ...
... today is my best friend Jacquelyn's birthday!

She and I have been friends since the 7th grade ... and trust me, 7th grade was a very long time ago.  Mmmm hmmmm, we've been friends for over 30 years ... and have seen each other through a lot of life crud {to put it nicely}.

I am so glad to have been able to get together with her for a couple of days in Savannah, GA the week before last to early-celebrate her birthday with her!  With Jacquelyn now living in Portland, OR and me living in Lexington, NC, we don't get to see each other nearly often enough.  But we sure have fun when we do!

Check us out gettin' the birthday fun started with a couple of delicious dinners ...

Always, always good times when we get together.

So in celebration of Jacquelyn's birthday, I decided to share these scrumptious always-a-favorite, best-ever vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting.

The cupcake is tender and light.  The frosting is fluffy and not heavy ... just the way I love it.  On it's own, each component is fantastic.  Put them together? ~ and it's completely divine.

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with the Best Vanilla Frosting photo

Oh, believe me when I say these are truly the BEST Vanilla Cupcakes + the BEST Vanilla Frosting I've ever had.  My cupcake best friend.  My go-to.  Always there for me when I need a tried-and-true sweet treat.  

And just like time with a best friend, I always always  wish there were more.

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with the Best Vanilla Frosting picture
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The BEST Vanilla Cupcakes + the BEST Vanilla Frosting
Vanilla Cupcakes
Source:  Cupcakes adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 T. butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in mixing bowl. Beat on slow speed until everything is combined and you have a crumb mixture with a sandy consistency. Gradually pour in half of the milk; beat until the milk is just incorporated.
  2. Whisk together the remaining milk (1/4 cup), egg, and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and beat until all ingredients are just incorporated.
  3. Beat for about another 30 seconds to one minute until the batter is smooth. Do not over mix.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin pan cups lined with paper cupcake liners, filling cups 1/2 full.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, or until light golden and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool slightly in the pan before removing cupcakes to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

NOTE:  This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.  And it really does make 12!  Fill your cups only 1/2 full, as this batter rises quite a bit.  When I divided the batter between only 10 muffin cups, I had several that rose over the sides of the cups way too much.  If you're like me, you'll feel like there's not enough batter to stretch to 12 cupcakes ... but there really is.

Vanilla Frosting
Frosting adapted from The Best Recipe by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine

  • 1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 c. confectioners sugar
  • 1 T. + 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 T. milk
  • Pinch salt
  1. Beat butter in bowl of electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. 
  2. Reduce speed to low and add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating for about 15 seconds between each addition.  Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. 
  3.  Add salt, vanilla and milk, beating on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides once or twice.

Enjoy these other delicious cupcake creations from The Kitchen is My Playground ...


  1. It is always delightful to drop over here and see what great things you have been "cooking up." You never dissapoint. I usually wind up Pinterest crazed before I can get away! Looks like you had a good time with your friend on her birthday. I am originally from a tiny town a little under an hour from Savannah(via I-16). Aiken, S.C. has been my home pretty much since I was just under 16. I met my husband my second year at boarding school here and married him a year later. I visit down home (Pembroke, Ga.) when I can and I love Savannah!

    1. Oh, thank you so much for your kind words, Lynn! I'm so glad you enjoy The Kitchen is My Playground. And of course, Pin away!!! ... Love it and am honored when people share my stuff. The area you live in and grew up in is beautiful ... I always enjoy my visits to the area.

  2. What a lovely post! I'm not real fond of cake, but these cupcakes look sooo inviting! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Weekend Potluck. Hope you enjoy a wonderful Easter weekend. Come back soon to party with us, please.

  3. I love, love, love vanilla cupcakes! I can't wait to try your recipe! They look so great! I'd love if you would drop by and share this at Celebrate It! blog party!

  4. HI there! Visiting from Making Memories Monday. This looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Your photos are great. Your smores cupcakes look great as well. Pinned both!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, and for the PINS! And thank for the kind words about the photos ... it's always so nice to hear positive feedback. :-)

  5. Just found you on Dwellings......LOVE your cupcake recipe! jut made them for the grandkids......this is a keeper....visiting from PineRidge Hills.....


    1. Welcome! So glad to have you here ... and so glad you and your grandkids enjoyed the cupcakes!!

  6. These look amazing! I'm still on the hunt for the perfect vanilla cupcake, so I'm pinning these to try later!

  7. Thanks for linking at Best of the Weekend - I'm featuring these on Friday - they look so good!

  8. These look like the perfect cupcakes! Beautifully frosted, and they sound delicious! I love those big sprinkles, too!

  9. Your Cupcakes look fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  10. These look amazing! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

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  12. Good recipe, but I ended up with double the amount of frosting than I needed. Can easily halve it and save on your ingredients!

    1. All depends on how high you like to pile your frosting!

  13. This recipe looked incredible, so I tried it! The batter smelled awesome. I keep having the same problem with all of my cupcakes.. they rise up and over the edge and then sink in the middle. I have bought new baking powder even though my old tested fine, I have used room temp ingredients, I have a thermometer in my oven to ensure the temp is correct. And these did the same thing. So disappointed. The only thing I can figure is to not use all of the batter, as the cups were just slightly more than half full when I used all of the batter. Any other ideas on fixes? Use less batter? Ugh, frustrating, as I want perfect little cupcakes like yours!! :)

    1. I realize your question is from back in January, and I hope you've got it all figured out by now. I went through something similar with my cakes when we moved to a new house - and suddenly none of my recipes would work. Funny enough, even though it's the same city, I think the change in elevation (even though it's slight) was the culprit. I have to readjust my recipes to high altitude baking. So I'm guessing, since the problem you're having is/was ongoing ... is the BP. Try reducing the amount your adding (for this recipe for ex...try 1 tsp instead of 1 1/2) and see if that helps. Could be that simple. I discovered that I can't use self rising flour on its own at all. I have to do a 50/50 mix with all purpose.

  14. Hi! I hope you are doing fine. I just wanted to tell you that i just made the recipe, and I have to say it is really good, i love it!

  15. I made these many time and this is really the best vanilla cupcakes! May I used this recipe for lemon cupcakes? Thank you!

  16. these really are the perfect cupcakes came out just beautiful and fluffy and with the perfect amount of vanilla

  17. Can this frosting sit out overnight on the cake

    1. It's got milk in it, so it should be refrigerated. That being said, I have let it sit out overnight just fine ... but that's totally YOUR call if you want to do that!!

  18. In this recipe I am assuming the butter is unsalted as it is not specified. Is that correct?


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