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Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream recipe

So, my oldest turned 10 recently. I was surprisingly and uncharacteristically mushy about the whole thing. He is a joy, and I cannot believe that I have been his mom for 10 years. Birthdays are about celebration and celebrations would be not a party without cupcakes. Or cinnamon rolls, or red velvet cake. My son has high baking demands when it comes to his week-long birthday extravaganza. He requested cinnamon rolls for his class treat, red velvet cake for his actual birthday dinner, and cupcakes for his friend party. The rest of my family is completely unaffected by my baking abilities, but William really appreciates a homemade baked good. He has learned to capitalize on it (flattery and his big blue puppy dog eyes work like a charm) and uses his birthday to see what I am really made of. He tests my baking chops.

This year he wanted to have a few of the boys from his class over to make homemade pizza. They were pros. They didn’t even make a mess of the kitchen, it was great. They played Madden until their thumbs were weak, we didn’t hear a peep other than the occasional touchdown noise, and it was one of the most enjoyable parties we have ever had. When it came to his kid party cake, he told me to surprise him. I know what you might be wondering, why did you pick a boring vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream? Well, because I heard that these were the best. Alison from The Alison Show talked about them on Instagram, and I figured that if she said that this was the best vanilla cupcake recipe, it was worth a go. Guess what? She was right. These cupcakes are divine. The thing about the batter and the buttercream is that both recipes  have some specific steps – and that is what sets them apart from all others. The batter needs to rest. Makes perfect sense, so does pancake batter, why didn’t I think to rest my cupcake batter? The buttercream is the best I have ever had. Light, not too sweet, and the perfect texture. These cupcakes are from the Trophy Cupcakes & Parties book. I buy a lot of cookbooks, it is sort of my thing. A lot of books I skim through once or twice and shelve. This book I go to all the time. I love this book and it is a great one to add to your collection.

P.S. Alison has no idea who I am, but I love her. Any girl that appreciates a fountain soda and loves to dance in the kitchen as much as I do is okay in my book.

P.P.S My recipe below for buttercream is the full size original recipe. For the pictures, I made a half batch. I had just enough frosting for 24 cupcakes. Nobody wants a chintzy amount of frosting on their cupcake.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream recipe

Vanilla Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons half-and-half
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs

vanilla cupcake recipe

In a large bowl sift together flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

vanilla cupcake recipe

In a pitcher, whisk together milk, half-and-half, and vanilla. Set aside.

vanilla cupcake recipe

Cream together butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

vanilla cupcake recipe

Add eggs one at time, mixing well and scraping the bowl after you add each egg.

vanilla cupcake recipe

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture.

vanilla cupcake recipe

Add 1/2 of the milk. You add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, and the liquid in 2.

vanilla cupcake recipe

When everything has been added scrape the bowl one more time. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins with paper liners.

vanilla cupcake recipe

Fill the paper liners three quarters of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

vanilla cupcake recipe

The cupcakes will be pale in color. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

vanilla buttercream recipe

Vanilla Buttercream (FULL SIZE RECIPE)

3 cups (6 sticks) butter, room temperature
6 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

best vanilla buttercream recipe

Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until the butter is pale, very smooth, and makes a slapping sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. This takes about 30 seconds if you butter is really soft, a bit longer if the butter is cooler.

best vanilla buttercream recipe

Add the sugar one cup at a time. Mix until it is incorporated before you add the next cup.

best vanilla buttercream recipe

When all of the sugar has been added, scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and salt, beat on low speed for 15 seconds.

best vanilla buttercream recipe

Increase the speed to high (or just high enough so that it doesn’t make a mess). Beat until whipped, light, and perfectly smooth, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl once or twice. The frosting will look like it is getting really soft, but it will stiffen and increase in volume.

best vanilla cupcakes recipe

Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

best vanilla cupcake recipe

Add sprinkles. It’s a birthday after all.


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  1. Lynda @Me and My Pink Mixer

    January 30th, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Hi fountain Diet Coke drinking friend! Your cupcakes look fabulous and I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have been looking for a go-to vanilla cupcake. Pinned and printed the recipe – now I’ve got to run to Sheetz for a Diet Coke 🙂 Happy Thursday!

  2. bakedbree

    January 30th, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    A girl after my own heart, but I am a Wawa girl! I LOVED these cupcakes. I hope you do too.

  3. Jeena

    January 31st, 2014 at 12:01 am


    Cupcakes looks so yummy. Can you pelase tell me whats this half and half?

  4. bakedbree

    February 4th, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Half cream and half milk. You buy it in the dairy aisle.

  5. Omotayo

    January 31st, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Love this! Which baking cup did you use and what size is it? I only have one 12 hole muffin tin. Can I bake it in 2 batches or they all have to go in the oven at the same time?

  6. bakedbree

    February 4th, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    You can do it in two batches. Just refrigerate the batter in between.

  7. Carrie

    January 31st, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Just made this vanilla buttercream. It is amazing! Great flavor and texture! I had plenty to frost a 2 layer 9in round cake with this plus many “taste test bites”. Thanks for sharing, Bree!

  8. bakedbree

    February 4th, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Isn’t it? I love this frosting, it is my new favorite. The book is great and has lots of great frostings. 🙂

  9. Kadee

    February 1st, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    I’m excited to try this recipe! I have my all-time favorite chocolate cake recipe but I have tried DOZENS of vanilla and just can’t find one that takes the cake! 😉 Perhaps this resting trick will do the job! Thanks for posting!

  10. bakedbree

    February 4th, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    You are welcome! Hope you like this one as much as I do.

  11. What Jessica Baked Next...

    February 2nd, 2014 at 11:18 am

    A good vanilla cupcake recipe never goes out of date! Your photos are beautiful 🙂

  12. bakedbree

    February 4th, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Thank you Jessica!

  13. Memoria

    February 3rd, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Happy birthday to your son! The cupcakes look delightful and yummy!

  14. bakedbree

    February 4th, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Thank you stranger! It is nice to “see” you! Hope that you are doing well.

  15. Tina Johnson

    February 5th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Is the cake flour necessary? Will it drastically affect the outcome of the cake? If you say it will then I will definitely get some cake flour 😉

  16. bakedbree

    February 5th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Yes, but you can make a DIY version. https://joythebaker.com/2009/09/how-to-make-cake-flour/

  17. Susan

    April 22nd, 2014 at 10:26 am

    You and Alison are right – these are the best vanilla cupcakes I have ever made. I made half a batch, just to try them out, and they are moist, light, and delicious. I also made the buttercream and used it on my favorite chocolate cake – also the best I have ever made. So hard to find “the” recipes for such staples but, for me, these are IT.

  18. bakedbree

    April 25th, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Yeah! I am so glad. And I so agree with you. Once you find it, stick to it. And then play with that one. This is a great base recipe to play with flavors.

  19. yola

    May 9th, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    I tried your recipe twice, and it was magic.. my son loves it, everybody loves it too…
    Your vanilla is my saviour for my son’s snack time..

  20. bakedbree

    May 12th, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    I am so glad! I love this recipe too. Such a good cookbook, you should pick it up.

  21. Catrina

    June 16th, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    The flour listed 2.5 cups is it Self rising or all purpose flour?

  22. bakedbree

    June 17th, 2014 at 12:29 am

    all-purpose. It is always all-purpose unless otherwise stated.

  23. Ann

    August 13th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I made these yesterday but used my own cream cheese frosting (I prefer the buttercream but I was making them for my son who likes the other). He declared them better than Georgetown Cupcake (which to him is the highest of compliments!) Great job.

  24. bakedbree

    August 13th, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you! That is a compliment!

  25. Clementine

    August 23rd, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Awww this is soooo amazing!! I’ve been thinking about getting this book for so long and today I’m gonna give these vanilla ones a try and then I can decide if I’m finally buying it!! 🙂 I simply love the “Trophy” cupcake stores and I hope that the cupcakes will turn out just the way I remember them!! I’m thinking about making a coconut frosting on top tho, since those are my total faves 🙂

  26. bakedbree

    August 31st, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Buy it, it is such a good book. I use it a lot.

  27. Alejandra Azua

    November 21st, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    About how many cupcakes is this buttercream enough for?

  28. bakedbree

    November 27th, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I would say 12-18 with lots of frosting. If you pipe like I did, you will not get as many cupcakes out of it.

  29. ashy

    March 7th, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I need to make 3 dozen of cupcake tomoro, and need to make grass like icing…
    how much of icings do I need to make to cover all 3 dozens.

  30. bakedbree

    March 9th, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I’d triple it at the very least. And I would make it in batches.

  31. Jess

    March 8th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I hadn’t ever made cupcakes or frosting in my life until I tried these recipes this morning. Everything came out perfect. Thanks so much!!!!

  32. bakedbree

    March 9th, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    That’s great Jess!

  33. Marie

    May 7th, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I need enough frosting for 5 cupcakes.

    What would the measurements be?

  34. bakedbree

    May 7th, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    You will have to do the math, I’m not really sure.

  35. Laura

    August 18th, 2015 at 6:02 am

    I’m making my son’s birthday cake on Friday. Will the cupcake recipe work well as layered rounds? If so, any idea on amounts or cooking times? I’m thinking of doubling the cupcake recipe as shown and at LEAST doubling the frosting recipe as I LOVE frosting and could end up eating some before the cake is ready 😉


  36. bakedbree

    August 26th, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    I’ve never made it into rounds. Cake times are usually 18-22 minutes. And I would double the frosting, but the batter should make a 2 layer cake.

  37. Cassie

    May 1st, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    By vanilla, you mean vanilla extract? Just to clarify because I don’t want to add actual vanilla bean just in case.

  38. bakedbree

    May 2nd, 2016 at 9:38 pm


  39. ST

    December 21st, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Do you use clear vanilla to get the frosting so white? Whenever I use pure vanilla extract my frosting is not that white

  40. bakedbree

    December 23rd, 2016 at 11:05 am

    No, you probably did not beat your butter enough.

  41. Laylah

    June 2nd, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I wanna make half a dozen cupcakes and frosting enough for that, what do I do?

  42. Laylah

    June 2nd, 2016 at 11:30 am

    What’s the original yield for the cupcakes ? Also, what do you mean when you say “You add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, and the liquid in 2”. Thanks for this recipe, it looks delicious!!!

  43. Laylah

    June 6th, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    What do you mean when you say “You add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, and the liquid in 2”, I’d really appreciate it if you answered!!! Thankyou.

  44. Sarah

    June 6th, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Hello Bree , What do you mean by “You add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, and the liquid in 2.”? Thank you for your time.

  45. bakedbree

    June 6th, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    It means you add a third of the dry, half of the wet, then another third of the dry, the rest of the wet, and end with the last third of the dry.

  46. Shelley

    December 14th, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    I tried making the buttercream icing and found it to be hugely over buttered. I talked to friend who has made it before but makes it with 1 stick of butter and 3-4 cups of sugar. Is this one suppose to have a heavy butter flavor? Next time I think I’ll go with less butter. However, next time I make cupcakes I will definitely be making the Christmas lights decoration. It’s so cute. Too bad I couldn’t do it this time around.

  47. bakedbree

    December 18th, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Buttercream has a heavy butter flavor. It’s supposed to. Add more sugar if you want less.

  48. Vicky

    December 24th, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Hi, I am really excited to make these but I have a quick question, I don’t have a stand mixer, will I be able to use an electric hand mixer?

  49. bakedbree

    January 3rd, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Yes, it just take longer.

  50. Scotty

    January 12th, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Do you think this recipe would work well as funfetti cupcakes if i just mix in some jimmies at the end?

  51. bakedbree

    January 24th, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Sure. They might bleed a little in the batter, but it should work just fine.

  52. Laurie Quackenbush

    March 2nd, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    My favorite cake everyone who has tried this loves it. One question though it seems to make a lot more than 24 cupcakes .I’ve made two cakes and ten cupcakes with this recipe.I want to halve this would that work?

  53. bakedbree

    April 1st, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    I’ve never halved it. I would bake it all off and freeze cupcakes or an extra layer for another day.

  54. Laurie Quackenbush

    March 2nd, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Love this recipe though it makes a lot more than 24 cupcakes. I have made this 3 times and want to halve this recipe to make a pokeball cake in a pyrex bowl I really hope it works.

  55. bakedbree

    April 1st, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Let me know if it does!

  56. Karen

    April 8th, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Looking at the recipe for Butter Cream Frosting. The first list of ingredients says 3 sticks of butter, but in the second list (for printing & shopping) only 2 sticks are listed. Both call for 3 cups xxx sugar. Which is correct?

  57. bakedbree

    May 11th, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    3. I’l change it. Thanks for the heads up.

  58. Courtney

    July 7th, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    So would have the cutting the buttercream recipe in half be enough for 24 cupcakes?

  59. Courtney

    July 7th, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    ***would cutting*** didn’t mean to put have.

  60. bakedbree

    July 23rd, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I don’t think so. I always err on the side of too much frosting instead of not enough.

  61. Swiss Meringue Buttercream - Baked Bree

    September 19th, 2018 at 11:34 am

    […] is a little more fussy to make than the typical American buttercream (powdered sugar and butter), but I guarantee you – it is worth the effort. This is the most […]

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