Even Simpler, More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

How to Make a Perfect Vanilla Cupcake, From Scratch!  This Tutorial, with Pictures, is based upon my Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes.  The New Recipe is Even Simpler, and More Perfect!  You’ll love the Moist, Tender Texture and Rich Vanilla Flavor, and this Method is Easy as be, with just One Bowl!

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

This post has been a long time coming.

My Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe has been one of the most popular (and commented upon!) posts on Baking a Moment, since it was published back in July.  But there were a few issues, and a lot of questions I wish I had addressed within the post.

And I just keep getting pickier and pickier.  After a while, it started to bug me that the batter was a bit drippy.  I’m a tough one to please!  And for me to want to keep making a recipe, over and over, it has to meet all of the following prerequisites:

  1. The taste has to be amazing.
  2. The texture has to be spot on (for a cupcake, this means moist and tender, but sturdy enough to stand up to lots of yummy frosting).
  3. It has to be relatively easy to make.
  4. The process of making it should result in as little mess as is humanly possible.

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

This one hits on all cylinders.  The flavor is bangin’, rich and buttery with a big hit of aromatic vanilla.  It bakes up moist and soft, with a fine crumb and a slightly domed top.  The method for making the batter is simple as can be, and because it utilizes the reverse creaming method (more on that here), you’re looking at a one-bowl wonder.  One that will not leave messy drips all over your counter and cupcake pan ;)

This newer vanilla cupcake recipe is based upon the last one, with a little tweak here, a little tweak there.  The key difference between this one and the last is the addition of Greek yogurt.  The final result won’t taste like yogurt, but the acid in the yogurt reacts with the baking soda to help the cupcakes puff up and hold a nice dome.  And it makes the batter so nice and thick, with an airy texture almost like whipped cream.

I don’t often do in-process photos (because, quite frankly, they’re kind of a pain), but I really wanted to make this post more of a picture tutorial.  I know from the last time, that you guys are really on a quest for the ultimate cupcake, and so hopefully these step by step pics will help to answer your every little question and get you exactly the results you are after!

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

Start by combining all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  I like to use cake flour, because it’s got less gluten than all purpose flour, and so it results in a lighter, more tender cake.  I have no trouble finding it at the regular supermarket, but if you have any difficulty at all, don’t hesitate to order it online.

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

Add the soft butter, and mix until it resembles damp sand.  This should only take about a minute or so.

After the butter has been worked in, you can add the eggs.  One at a time, and make sure each one is completely incorporated before adding the next.  I love this kind of paddle attachment- it has a silicone edge that reaches all the way to the bottom of the bowl, so you know all the ingredients are well incorporated.  And you don’t have to keep stopping the mixer to scrape the bowl.

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

Finally, in goes the yogurt, milk, and vanilla.  When it comes to ingredients that add flavor, I recommend using the highest quality.  I often cut costs with generic sugar and baking soda, but when it comes to butter and vanilla, I invest/indulge.  It makes such a difference!  Lagrima vanilla extract is the best I’ve ever tasted, and you get whole vanilla beans in every bottle.  I also really like Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.  For this recipe, I’ve used a combo of both.  Vanilla vanilla!

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

You’ll see the leavening start to activate right away!  The batter is really thick and almost airy.  I love it!

Please, please, please, do not overfill your papers.  This cupcake recipe puffs up in the oven, a lot, and you don’t want mushroom tops.  Maybe that’s ok for a muffin, but not a cupcake!  No more than half full.  I’ve made and remade this recipe, and if you fill 18 cups equally, you should be good.  I use this cookie scoop, a little less than 2 scoops per cupcake.  So that’s just about 2 tablespoons of batter to a cupcake.

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

Now for a few words about baking.  I cannot stress enough that you must check your cupcakes.  Set the timer for a minute less that the recipe states (to avoid overbaking).  This is across the board, not just with this recipe, but with ALL recipes.  Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick or bamboo skewer into the thickest part of your cake.  If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, you are good to go.  If it’s gooey or there are lots of sticky crumbs clinging to it, add a minute to the timer and then check ‘em again.  Ovens are tricky.  No two are exactly the same.  Some run hot, some cold.  Some are hot in one area and cold in another.  (Try to position the rack in the middle of your oven, so the heat can circulate evenly, all around.)  I keep a little oven thermometer in mine so I can be sure it’s calibrated correctly, or if not, I can adjust accordingly.

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

These cupcakes taste wonderful with all sorts of frostings!  I personally love them with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but they are also just heavenly with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Or Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Can you tell I like Swiss Meringue Buttercream?

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

But for today’s post I wanted to keep it on the simpler side, so I’ve used this Whipped Cream Frosting, which contains a little bit of cream cheese to keep it stable.  It’s really fluffy and light, and has just a hint of tanginess to it.  I should caution you that it will probably never hold stiff peaks in the mixing bowl, but somehow, it miraculously does hold it’s shape (surprisingly well!) when piped.  I would make the frosting no more than a few hours before serving, and keep it refrigerated, since it contains dairy.

I use this kind of pastry bag for piping, and this kind of tip.  I pipe just like Amanda’s “Tall Ruffle.” 

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Even Simpler More Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with papers.
  2. Place the first 6 (dry) ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and mix on low speed to combine.
  3. Add the butter, stirring on low speed until the mixture resembles damp sand (about a minute).
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to be sure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  5. Add the yogurt, milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste. Stir until fully combined.
  6. Fill the papers half full and bake for 14 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
http://bakingamoment.com/even-simpler-more-perfect-vanilla-cupcakes/

Even Simpler More Perfect Cupcakes | Baking a Moment

If you want to make these cupcakes ahead, you totally can!  Just keep them unfrosted.  They’ll keep well in an airtight container, for up to 3 days at room temperature, in the fridge for a week and a half or so, and for months in the freezer!  I also find that they seem to get more moist the day after they’re baked.  Don’t know what that’s all about, but it works for me!

Hopefully I didn’t leave anything out, but if you have a question I didn’t answer, please feel free to leave me a comment below.  I hope you enjoy this recipe, and have lots of success with it!  There’s just nothing like a homemade cupcake, from scratch, especially if it’s this easy to make!

PS- If cupcakes are your thing, be sure to check out my Simply Perfect Chocolate Cupcake recipe!  It might just be my favorite recipe on this whole website!  :D :D :D

*This post contains affiliate links.  It is not a sponsored post.  All opinions expressed here are straight from my heart.*

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Comments

  1. Laura @ Raise Your Garden says

    I have never made cupcakes from scratch before but you’re getting me motivated…..

    Sometimes, the simpler recipes are just the best ones.

    Vanilla bean anything is just a party in my mouth. Looks scrumptious.

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Thanks Laura! I hope you give it a try, in my experience it’s sometimes even easier to just bake from scratch, because you have all the ingredients on hand anyway! And especially if it can all happen in one bowl. I wash way too many dishes as it is, lol! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the sweet comment :D

  2. Sarah@WholeandHeavenlyOven says

    I’ll be honest: My jaw hit the floor when I saw these cupcakes in my inbox. I almost can’t believe they’re real they look so perfect. The cupcake base looks like my dream soft and light texture. And your frosting! I love the way you piped it—These little guys totally look like they came from an uber fancy bakery. Love your in-process photos and oh, I know they’re such a pain to take, but they’re so helpful! I’ve been on the prowl for a perfect vanilla cupcake and I believe I just found it! I will definitely be trying these cupcakes soon! :D

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Yay! Thanks so much Sarah and I hope you enjoy them! When I started blogging, I did in-process photos for every post, and then it just got to be too much for me. But there were so many questions on that vanilla cupcake recipe, I just thought a tutorial might be in order. I’m so glad you liked it, thanks so much for all the great feedback. I can always count on you to be so sweet and supportive, and it means the world to me!

  3. marcie says

    These really do look super simple to make and they look divine! I’ve never used a combination of cake flour and a/p, and that sounds like a really great idea…plus Greek yogurt is always a bonus. :) I love using vanilla bean paste…it’s the best, and I need that paddle attachment with silicone edges. Pinning!

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Thanks for the pin, Marcie! I put off buying that paddle for years because I thought it was too pricey, but then I lucked out and found it at HomeGoods for like $14. It was worth every penny! Such a timesaver. I’ve found the vanilla bean paste there too. And the combo of flours works really well I think- cake flour for tenderness and ap for structure. I’m so happy you liked the post! Thanks so much for the nice comment and I hope you have a fun weekend!

  4. Sweet Margo says

    Pinned :) I have never tried the swiss meringue buttercream but I think you have convinced me!! Thanks a lot for sharing I will definitely they this recopy soon :)

  5. Gloria // Simply Gloria says

    Allie, I am putting this recipe as my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe! Vanilla happens to my favorite flavor for everything! (It even out weighs chocolate!) I love how you used the Greek yogurt to make them more puffy. High five!! I also love your tutorial pics. It truly is a pain to get the in-process photos. Love this all. :)

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Thank you so much Gloria! I knew after my last vanilla cupcake post that in-process photos were in order. There were just so many questions! Sometimes it just pays to take the extra time and do things right ;) I’m so glad you liked the post, and I hope you enjoy the recipe! Have a great weekend, friend!

  6. Graham @ Glazed & Confused says

    First of all, thank you! I have been searching for the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe for what seems like eternity. No joke, every time I think I have it right, something goes wrong. Too dry, too dense, too whatever.

    I’ll have to try these immediately! I’m going to be baking these this weekend.

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Oh Graham, I sure hope you like them! I’m sure you have very high standards. As do I! I was really happy with the end result here, and especially the LACK of dirty dishes ;) Ain’t nobody got time for that! Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

  7. Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! says

    Allie, I am loving everything about this post! It shows how much love and finesse goes into something so delicious and simple.
    Most people assume that I am a chocolate girl when it comes to cakes and cupcakes, but vanilla definitely has my heart. Cannot wait to give your recipe a try – it looks absolutely perfect!

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      I hope you like this recipe, Kathi! And you are so right, with something as simple as a vanilla cupcake, you really have to do it right so flavor shines. Thanks so much for the sweet and encouraging comment! Enjoy your weekend, sweetie xoxo

  8. Ashley says

    Now these do really look like perfect vanilla cupcakes! I love that you use vanilla bean paste … that stuff is just so so good!

    I love playing with different flavors but vanilla is still my very favorite cupcake … with a vanilla frosting to go along with it!

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Oh I know! I love that paste- so much vanilla flavor, and easier and more economical than whole beans. And that Lagrima extract is seriously the bomb. Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Ashley!

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Thank you so much Meriem! I experimented quite a bit with my previous recipe, and I was pretty pleased with the way these came out. I’m so happy you liked them too! Thanks for the great feedback, girl ;)

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Thank you so much, sweetie! I really liked the addition of Greek yogurt in this recipe- it just made the batter a lot easier to work with. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Thanks for reading, Margaret Anne, and for always being so sweet and supportive <3

  9. Mary Frances says

    Your step by step photos are incredible! I love all of these photos. And of course, these cupcakes. They really do look perfect! You did a great job incorporating so many different ingredients (yogurt, cake flour, vanilla bean paste) Double thumbs up! Pinning!

  10. Monet says

    These look so beautiful! Goodness, I wish I had one in front of me now. I’m sharing and saving these cupcakes for my next weekend baking adventure. Thank you for doing such a beautiful job with them. I think cake flour makes all the difference.

  11. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says

    Allie, this recipe is definitely getting pinned, shared, made, etc. etc. It’s obviously thoroughly tried, tested and loved and so I trust it intrinsically! Also, I really love your ‘process’ photos (especially that lovely blue mixer). Maybe you should do that more often!

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      I totally should Helen! It’s just laziness, pure and simple! I know they are helpful but they slow down my flow so bad, lol! I’m so happy you liked the post, dear, and I hope you enjoy the cupcakes! xoxo

  12. Kelly says

    Love love love these cupcakes Allie – they really do look perfect! That’s awesome that you made them even simpler in one bowl and added the greek yogurt. Vanilla cupcakes are my absolute very favorite and I can’t wait to try these. Love how you broke everything down with the amazing photo tutorial too – everything about this post is simply perfect! Pinning :)

  13. Jamie@Milk 'n' Cookies says

    Allie, these DO look simple and perfect. Not to mention gorgeous. I’ve never seen a whipped cream cheese frosting that pipes so beautifully. It’s incredible that just two tablespoons of batter creates such a light and airy cupcake! And I love one-bowl cupcake recipes. I will definitely have to try this recipe. BTW, I love all the in-process photos. I am always too scared to bring my camera into my kitchen (aka, disaster zone) for fear of getting flour or sugar on it. But these pictures are super helpful!

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Thanks so much Jamie! I actually bring my mixer and everything else into another room to take the pics. I have terrible light in my kitchen! So you can see why I grumble about taking in-process photos. It’s a pain but I knew from the last post that there’d be lots of questions if I didn’t do it! I hope you enjoy the recipe, and that whipped cream cheese frosting is really good. It looks super gloopy in the bowl, but somehow it pipes really well!

  14. Zainab says

    Cake flour is the best thing to happen to cakes and cupcakes!! I can’t survive without it. These cupcakes are just too PERFECT!! Thank you for the step-by-step photos. They are beautiful. That reverse creaming method is one of my favorites. I can’t wait to try these :)

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      I love reverse creaming too! I think it’s just so much easier when everything can be done in one bowl. And cake flour- love that light texture and finer crumb. Thanks so much for the sweet comment, dear. Hope everything is well with you <3

  15. Michelle Chan says

    Hi Allie!

    I’m so eager to try this recipe but Greek yogurt is very expensive here in Malaysia. Can i use buttermilk as a substitute for the yogurt and milk? What will the measurement be if i were to use buttermilk? Thanks!

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Hi Michelle! Sour cream or buttermilk would make a great substitute for the Greek yogurt. You could also use regular plain yogurt, as long as there is no sugar added. You can substitute in equal measure. Good luck and thanks for reading! :D

      • Michelle says

        But if I were to use buttermilk which is already very liduidy, do I omit the milk altogether? So, is that substitution measurement for buttermilk still 1/4 cup as per the Greek yogurt or 1/2 cup to replace the milk as well (1/4 greek yogurt +1/4 milk)? Hope you understand my question..lol!

  16. saleha says

    Hi Allie,

    These cupcakes definitely look amazing n tempting. I’m planning to make them soon however I dont have vanilla bean paste is it ok if I skip that ingredient n use more of vanilla extract or what do u suggest?
    btw I used ur choco cupcake recipe n they turned out to be amazing everybody simply loved the cupcakes thanks a ton hoping to try the vanilla soon:)

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Hey, thanks Saleha! You can absolutely leave out the vanilla bean paste, and up the extract. Or not! Either way they will come out just fine. I just like the paste for a flavor boost. So happy you like my chocolate cupcake recipe too! That is one of my absolute favorite things on this blog. Thanks for the great comment! Hope you enjoy!

      • saleha says

        Hey Allie,
        Thanks for your reply. I’ll definitely try em soon. Will let you know how they turn out hopefully as perfect as yours;) thanks once again

  17. Jessica McLaughlin says

    My new favorite cupcake recipe! Love it..they are perfect and delicious. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe :)

  18. Shannice says

    Hi Allie,
    would it be okay to add 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup butter instead of the whole 1/2 cup butter? I was reading a post about oil+butter base cakes taste better with better texture. whats your opinion on this?

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Hi Shannice! I’ve never tried it myself but it sounds like a pretty good idea. Oil does make for a really moist cupcake and light too. I’m anxious to hear how it works out for you! Will you stop back and let me know? Good luck!

  19. Madhu says

    I made these cupcakes and they by far were the best!! It was so good that I’m wondering if I could make this into a cake rather than cupcakes. Would it work? Could I use the same temperature? I am planning to bake this for a party very soon, so thanks in advance for your reply :)

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Hi Madhu! Thanks so much for reading my blog and trying one of my recipes! I’m so glad you were happy with it. I have baked it into a cake and it’s worked really well. You could do it at the same temperature and have a really nice result, but when I bake layer cakes I typically like to lower the oven temp by about 25 degrees F and increase the bake time as required. I find that the cake bakes more evenly that way and there’s usually less of a hump in the middle. I don’t mind a hump on a cupcake but I hate it on a layer cake because so much is wasted in levelling it off. Good luck and I hope you enjoy!

  20. Madhu says

    Oh and one more thing, will this quantity be enough for a single layer 8 inch round cake? Sorry for the trouble!

    • Allie {Baking A Moment} says

      Hi Sabrina! I’ve never tried it with whole wheat flour- I’d be curious how it’d work…? I’d probably recommend using whole wheat pastry flour rather than regular whole wheat flour, just because I’d imagine regular whole wheat flour may be a bit heavy. Let me know if you try it/have success, ok? And thanks so much for reading!

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  1. […] Perfect Simple Vanilla Cupcake from Baking A Moment – an essential recipe for a classic vanilla cupcake. I only recently discovered this recipe (it was only posted on Baking A Moment a few days ago) and I made it yesterday. This is my new go-to recipe. Wonderfully moist and a brilliantly easy on-bowl recipe. […]

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