Fall in love with these pretty, one bowl vanilla cupcakes! A moist, fluffy and light sponge cake, topped with classic sweet buttercream. Fool-proof recipe, ideal for all sorts of celebrations, big or small, and the best part is that you only need one bowl to make them!
Why you should make these vanilla cupcakes
When I was testing this recipe, I tried 4 different versions. None of them came even close to this one. To be honest, it's one of these recipes that is almost impossible to get wrong, it's just so easy to make!
So what's so great about these vanilla cupcakes? Firstly, all what you need is a handful of ingredients and one bowl. Secondly, they come together in literally a couple of minutes. Last but not least, this easy recipe gives great results every time.
These one bowl vanilla cupcakes have wonderful texture and look so pretty! Plus, because we are using vanilla extract and vanilla beans, they are full of that delicious, intense vanilla flavour!
Tips for making perfect cupcakes
What makes a perfect cupcake? It's a combination of evenly risen, gently rounded tops and fluffy, light and moist texture. They should be soft and squidgy, with pale yellow interior and air bubbles evenly distributed inside. Here are some extra tips to ensure your cakes turn out perfect every time:
- Sift the flour and sugar into your mixing bowl- This will get rid of any lumps and prevent dry pockets from forming in your batter.
- Make sure your butter is at the right consistency- Room temperature butter is super important in this recipe. If you use the butter that is too hard, it will not mix properly with the rest of the ingredients, resulting in uneven, lumpy cupcakes. They will more likely to develop 'hump' and will have crusty top. Use the butter that is too soft, and your cupcakes will sink and become too dense. Test your butter by poking it with your finger. It should leave an indent without sinking or sliding down through the butter.
- Do not under/ over- mix your batter- This batter comes together very quickly, once you add your eggs and butter, you will only need to mix it for about a minute. Once the milk and vanilla is added, you will mix it for no more than 30 seconds. That's it! Under-mixed batter will result in hard crust and hump on top, the cupcakes will also become greasy and really yellow inside. Over-mixed batter will have too many air bubbles, resulting in cakes rising too much and shrinking rapidly as they cool down. It will 'pull' the cakes down, making them look as if they have sunk and shrunk.
See the photo below on the left? These are some of my failed attempts. Top cake is under-baked and very pale, with hard crust on top. I over-mixed the batter in that batch too. The bottom one is uneven, with 'hump' and dark crust on top. My butter was not at the right consistency and my oven temperature was too high.
Photo on the right shows the perfect cupcakes, with soft, golden-brown and gently risen tops. They are also very even in their appearance.
- Do not overfill your cases with batter- Unless you want muffins, make sure you do not overfill your cupcake cases with the batter. Aim for filling ¾ of each case, leaving just enough room for them to rise. Use a measuring spoon or scoop to add equal amount of batter into each case.
- Make sure the oven temperature is right- The ovens can often display inaccurate temperature, which will affect your bake. To be sure your oven temperature is exactly what it should be, use an oven thermometer. They are relatively cheap to buy and will ensure the success of your bakes. For traditional ovens, bake your cupcakes at 175 C. I use fan-assisted oven and baked these at 165 C exactly.
How to store cupcakes
If making these a day in advance, I would recommend leaving the cupcakes plain, without buttercream, until the day of serving. Unfrosted cakes will store well at room temperature for a few days. Cover them tightly with some cling film or place them into the air tight container, which will keep them moist, soft and fluffy, until you are ready to decorate them.
After cupcakes have been frosted, they will keep well for a day or two at room temperature. After that time, they will need to be stored in the fridge. Just be aware that storing them in the fridge will dry them out a bit. You will also need to bring them to room temperature before serving.
For more cupcake recipes check out my:
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One Bowl Vanilla Cupcakes
- electric mixer
- fine sieve
- 12-hole cupcake/ muffin tin
- cupcake cases
- 125 g self-rising flour see notes for the alternative
- 125 g caster sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 125 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ tablespoon milk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or seeds from ½ vanilla (optional)
For vanilla buttercream:
- 200 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 400 g icing/ powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoon milk (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 C (165 C fan) and line the 12-hole cupcake/ muffin tin with liners/ cupcake cases.
- Place a medium sieve over a bowl of your electric mixer and sift flour, sugar and baking soda into the bowl.
- Add eggs and butter and mix on low speed until it just comes together, then increase the speed to medium and mix until you have smooth batter, about 1 minute. Scrape the sides and the bottom of your bowl as needed. Add milk, vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste (if using) and mix again on medium-high for about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl again to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated together. You should have a smooth, slightly thick batter.
- Divide the batter equally between 12 cases. Do not overfill your cases, you want to fill up max of ¾ of each case. You may want to use a measuring scoop here to ensure equal amount of batter goes into each cupcake.
- Place the cupcakes into the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 22 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and they are golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes, before removing from the baking tin into a cooling rack.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer (or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment), beat together the butter and icing sugar on low until smooth, light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat again for 30 seconds. If the consistency is too stiff, add 1 tablespoon of milk to loosen it up.
- Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with the nozzle of your choice (I used Wilton 2D) and pipe it on top of your cupcakes.
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- To make your own self-rising flour, add 2 teaspoon of baking powder for each 150g / 1 cup of plain flour and mix well together.
- To achieve that smooth, even and gently risen cupcake top and to avoid 'humps', it's crucial your butter is at the room temperature. Test the butter by poking it with your finger. It should leave an indent without sinking or sliding down into the butter.
- Do not overmix your ingredients. Stop mixing as soon as they are combined.
- This recipe makes 12 cupcakes or 24 mini-cupcakes. If making mini-cupcakes, reduce the baking time to about 12 minutes (or as soon as the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean)
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This is so amazing! It didn't last long at my house!
We absolutely loved these simplistic vanilla cupcakes! Easy to make and rich in flavor! Absolutely delicious!
Yay, so happy to hear that Lexa, thanks very much for trying the recipe!
Simple vanilla cupcakes are always a hit. Sometimes the classic recipes are the best. Celebration perfect.
Thanks Gloria, whenever I make these, they disappear in minutes! They are definitely my go-to recipe for all celebrations!
I made these last night with my daughter and they turned out AMAZING! It's such an easy to follow recipe, like you said, almost impossible to get it wrong! The softest and fluffiest cupcakes I've ever had! We added drizzle of caramel on ours, after seeing your Instagram photo 😀
Hi Kelly, apologies, somehow I've completely missed this comment! So happy to hear that you enjoyed these cupcakes, and even more so, to hear that you made them with your daughter! Thank you so much for your positive feedback, it is much appreciated!