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The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

March 8, 2021

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Make the best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting for a light and fluffy Spring, Easter, or birthday treat with rainbow sprinkles. These cupcakes are extra moist, thanks to almond milk, and way better than anything you make from a boxed mix! Vegan option available.

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Le Creuset but the content and opinions expressed are all based on my genuine love for this brand and are my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands I love.

Who doesn’t love a good cupcake, right? From rowdy kids at a birthday party to a beautiful Easter gathering to subdued adults at their desks. It’s hard to turn down the adorable and appealing offering of a freshly baked cupcake. 

That’s why I created this all-purpose vanilla cupcake recipe with whipped buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles. These are the light, fluffy, and most treats that are just as appropriate for an elementary school birthday party as they are for an adults-only dinner party or fun, Spring family gathering.

Be sure to check out my latest Instagram Reel to see how these cupcakes are made!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

They’re colorful, sweet, and full of real vanilla flavor. It’s always good to have an excellent fool-proof cupcake recipe in your back pocket, and this easy vanilla cupcake recipe is all you need. 

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

How to Make the Best Vanilla Cupcakes

Before we get to the recipe, I have to mention the kitchen tools you’ll need to make these cupcakes. You’ll need a good high-quality cupcake tin, as well as a piping bag and offset spatula for frosting. My go-to brand for all cooking and baking appliances is Le Creuset. And their NEW Spring Applique collection has the best, most attractive floral tools (including these featured bowls and cake stand) you can find, which are sold online and in their signature and outlet stores. 

Ingredients

Ready to start making these vanilla cupcakes? First, assemble the following ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour. You can also substitute with fine cake flour for extra fluffiness if desired. 
  • Baking powder. This will leaven the cupcake batter. Make sure you’re using fresh baking powder to get the most rise. 
  • Cane sugar. Again, I recommend organic sugar. 
  • Unsalted butter. The butter should be soft and at room temperature for the best texture.
  • Eggs. Likewise, use room-temperature eggs to keep your cupcake batter from separating.
  • Vanilla extract. Choose pure vanilla for the most robust flavor in your vanilla cupcakes.
  • Almond milk. I use dairy-free milk to cut back on dairy, but you can easily substitute it with regular milk if you prefer.

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Instructions

Here’s how to make a quick and easy classic vanilla cupcake batter:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and prep a cupcake pan with liners + spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and sea salt. 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (using a paddle handle attachment), beat together the softened butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed using a rubber spatula.
    Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla, reducing the speed a little at this point.
  • Next, reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. NO OVER-MIXING!
  • Fill each cupcake well 3/4 full and bake for 5 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
  • Once cooked, turn off the oven and leave the cupcakes inside with the oven door slightly open for about 2 minutes before taking them out.
  • Remove from oven and let the vanilla cupcakes cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

How to Make Buttercream Frosting

While the cupcakes cool, get to work on this fast and simple buttercream frosting recipe. 

You’ll need:

  • Powdered sugar. Choose organic and sift the sugar through a fine-mesh strainer to keep your frosting light and airy.
  • Unsalted butter. Make sure it’s softened to room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract.
  • Almond milk. You can also use regular full-fat milk or heavy cream if you prefer.

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

To make the light and creamy buttercream frosting:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add half the powered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla followed by 2 Tbsps of milk or heavy cream, continuing to beat until it begins to look crumbly and somewhat smooth.
  • Next, add the remaining half of the powdered sugar and continue to mix until fully incorporated and the frosting is smooth.

Troubleshooting Buttercream

If your buttercream is too runny, add more powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time). If it’s too thick, add additional milk or heavy cream (1 Tbsp at a time) until you reach your desired consistency. It should be smooth and spreadable. 

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Decorating Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream & Rainbow Sprinkles

You’re ready to frost and decorate these cupcakes when they’re fully cooled and your frosting is fluffy and creamy. 

To do so, place the buttercream in a piping bag or large Ziplock bag with a corner removed.  Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake in a swirl. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can also frost with an offset spatula or even a butter knife in a pinch. 

Finally, top each cupcake with a generous amount of rainbow sprinkles. 

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

More Sweet Treats with Rainbow Sprinkles

I love rainbow sprinkles! If you’re with me, try these other colorful sweet treats next:

  • No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream + Rainbow Sprinkles is a childhood favorite that never gets old. Like any highly coveted Mr. Softy treat, this ice cream is creamy, smooth, filled with vanilla flavor, and is made with just THREE ingredients and in less than 10 minutes, before letting the freezer do the rest! Topped with tasty rainbow sprinkles, this recipe is perfect for your family.
  • Light + Fluffy Funfetti Vegan Waffles are so thick and soft, you might not believe they’re entirely vegan. Yes, that’s right—these waffles have no eggs and completely dairy-free. Made with just a handful of ingredients, this waffle recipe is not only easy, but it is a fun, new way to eat first thing in the morning.
  • Vegan Vanilla Donuts with Sprinkles are IT! Super fluffy, soft, moist, and completely dairy-free, these donuts truly are like the perfect sweet treat for adults and kids alike, especially during Easter.

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Tips To Making Perfect Cupcakes!

  • TYPE OF FLOUR MATTERS!

To make soft, moist cupcakes, I’ve noticed that mixing All-Purpose Flour + Cake Flour, really does the trick! If you have cake flour at home, I highly recommend using it. 

  • DON’T OVER-FILL!

This has been my trial and error moment when it comes to baking! I tend to fill my batter with most recipes to the brim. However, I’ve recently gotten into the habit of pacing myself! Over-filling makes a huge mess later and doesn’t allow your baked goods to come put perfectly, especially with cupcakes. So, filling it 3/4 of the way is key!

  • START HIGH, THEN END LOW!

One other pet peeve of mine when baking is when you are ultra confident at the amazingness of your batter (the taste and aroma is there), yet after it bakes it becomes flat or sunk in once it touches air. The solution? Start by baking the cupcakes at a higher temp for the first 5 mins (400°F). Then lower the heat to 350°F for the rest of the time. Then once they are done, turn off your oven, and leave the baked goods inside for about 5 minutes with the oven door slightly open so that they don’t sink right away (this is especially a good rule of thumb for cheesecake bites!).

  • ALWAYS KEEP THINGS FRESH!

I know that this is a common mistake, especially for those of us who aren’t daily bakers. Ensure that your ingredients (flours, etc.) are fresh and haven’t been sitting there for months improperly sealed, etc. Also, ensure that your leaveners (baking power + baking soda) are fresh. This is super important and often is the culprit in flatter baked goods.

  • DOUBLE PROTECTION IS BETTER THAN ONE!

While using cupcake liners are a huge lifesaver when making it easier to remove your cupcakes after they are ready, ensuring that you not only use high quality liners, but that you also lightly spray the inside of your liners with a cooking spray HELPS A TON! Don’t you just hate when your cupcakes inevitably gets stuck on one of those cupcake liners?

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you choose to make this Vanilla Cupcakes with Sprinkles recipe or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love!

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Sprinkles

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 17 mins
Total Time: 27 mins
Serves: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, partially melted (See Notes!)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp.
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk (You can also use regular full-fat milk!)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • 4-5 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsps Almond milk (You can also use regular full-fat milk or heavy cream!)

Topping:

  • Rainbow sprinkles

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prep your cupcake pan with liners + spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (using a paddle handle attachment), beat together the partially melted butter and sugar on medium-high speed for about 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides as needed using a rubber spatula.
  • Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla, reducing the speed a little at this point.
  • Now, reduce the speed to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. NO OVER-MIXING!
  • Scoop the batter into each cupcake liner (3/4 full) and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for the FIRST 5 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking for another 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
  • Once done, turn off oven and keep cupcakes inside with the oven door slightly open for about 2 minutes before taking them out.
  • Remove from oven and Let them cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

For Vanilla Buttercream:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale. 
  • Reduce the speed to low and add half the amount of powered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla followed by 2 Tbsps of milk or heavy cream, continuing to beat until it begins to look crumbly and somewhat smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Now, add in the remaining half of the powdered sugar and continue to mix until fully incorporated and frosting is smooth, another 1-2 minutes. **NOTE: If buttercream is too ‘runny’, add additional powdered sugar (1 Tbsps at a time); if too thick, add additional milk or heavy cream (1 Tbsp at a time).**
  • Add buttercream to a piping bag and pie onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles generously.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Best kept if stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days (unfrosted) and 3-4 days when frosted. Also, can be frozen for up to 6 months when unfrosted and thawed.
  • MAKE AHEAD: You can always bake these cupcakes the night or day before and let them cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. The buttercream frosting can also be made prior and tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge as well. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, frost, and enjoy!
  • VEGAN CUPCAKES: To make these vanilla cupcakes vegan, simply omit eggs and use 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar along with the milk to create a “buttermilk’.  Also, substitute unsalted butter with vegan butter (partially melted).
  • VEGAN BUTTERCREAM: To make this buttercream vegan, simply use 1/2 cup vegan butter (softened at room temp.) instead of unsalted butter. Reduce powdered sugar to just 4 cups. Follow remaining steps.
  • ROOM TEMP. INGREDIENTS: Ensuring that all ingredients are at room temperature prevents lumps and makes sure that batter/buttercream mixes together evenly and well.
 

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The Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Sprinkles.

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  1. I so love how light and fluffy these cupcakes are – and Im wishing I had one for dessert after breakfast – cos Monday – right?! 🙂

  2. Sour cream wasn’t listed on the front page for ingredients!!! So thankful my money lives close by and could drop by when I was in the middle of my baking!! ?

    • Hi Kim! I actually have it listed in the ingredients as 1/2 cup at room temp! So sorry you missed it! Thankfully, you were able to get it in time! I do hope that you enjoy them as much as I did! 🙂