vanilla cupcakes with chocolate and white frosting on metal cooling rack on marble background

This vanilla cupcake recipe is amazing! These white cupcakes are our go to birthday cupcakes because they are moist, flavorful and easy to make. Pair these cupcakes with vanilla or chocolate frosting. Easy vanilla cupcakes are perfect for a wedding, baby shower, or any party! 

White cake is a birthday party staple (okay and chocolate too!) and while a box mix is pretty good (no shame!) these homemade moist white cupcakes are SO GOOD!

They are light, fluffy, & extra white since you only use egg whites and clear vanilla extract. They are incredibly moist and have great flavor. Make and serve these white wedding cupcakes for a wedding, baby shower, bridal shower or birthday party.

vanilla cupcakes with white frosting on marble background with sprinkles on the marble

What’s the Difference Between White Cupcakes and Vanilla Cupcakes?

White cupcakes are technically made with egg whites only, to keep the cupcakes as white as possible. Bakers may also use clear vanilla extract to keep the cupcakes white.

Vanilla cupcakes are typically made with whole eggs (the white and the yolk) and contain regular vanilla extract. However, the flavor of white cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes are nearly identical. 

How To Make Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

Our recipe calls for a lot of moist ingredients. We use egg whites instead of whole eggs, sour cream and milk. Using egg whites only gives the batter a nice white look. The sour cream and milk are where the fat, flavor, and moistness come into play.

Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients

  • unsalted butter: makes the cake tender and helps with leavening 
  • granulated sugar: adds sweetness and flavor
  • egg whites: binds the cake together by providing structure while keeping the cake extra white
  • sour cream: adds moisture and creaminess
  • milk: adds moisture 
  • vanilla extract: adds flavor
  • all purpose flour: flour is necessary to build structure
  • baking soda: helps to leaven and lift the batter, reacts with the sour cream
  • salt: just a pinch to balance the sweetness and enhances the other flavors of the cake

How to Make Our Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer, 1-2 minutes until fluffy. 
  2. Add in the egg whites, one at a time, lightly mixing with a spatula after each one. 
  3. Add in the sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat lightly with the electric mixer. 
  4. In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients a few spoonfuls at a time. Mix until just incorporated. 
  5. Fill the muffin liners 1/2-3/4 full. Bake for 5 minutes at 400º F. Keeping the cupcakes in the oven, turn the heat down to 350ºF and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until a few moist crumbs remain on a toothpick when inserted into the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding the frosting.
white unfrosted cupcakes on metal cooling rack with sprinkles and chocolate frosting near by

Frosting to Pair with Vanilla Cupcakes

I personally like to pair my moist vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream, but we’re sharing recipes for both chocolate and vanilla frosting in the recipe card because why not have options!

You can easily make the vanilla buttercream into any color you want with food coloring – I like wilton’s gel food colors because they are vibrant and a little goes a long way!

Here are more frosting options:

How Long Does it Take to Make Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes?

  • 10 minutes to prep the batter
  • 15 minutes to bake the cupcakes
  • 1 hour, at least, to cool the cupcakes
  • 15 minutes to make the frosting and frost the cupcakes
vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting on marble background

Frosting Piping Supplies

How to Pipe Frosting onto Cupcakes

I used a wilton 2D piping tip to pipe the frosting on these white wedding cupcakes. A wilton 1M and an Ateco 844 are both very similar to the 2D.

Start in the center of the cupcake, applying pressure to the frosting bag, going in a swirling motion until you reach the edge of the cupcake then lift the tip up and tip more frosting onto that base layer you just made, stacking the frosting and continuing in a swirling motion until you reach the center of the cupcake.

How to Freeze Unfrosted Cupcakes

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap, then place inside a freezer ziplock bag or freezer storage container.

To thaw: place the bag or container of cupcakes on the counter overnight. Frost once fully thawed. 

How to Make Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

This recipe turned out great using gluten free flour! We love King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour. Follow the directions as stated, but substitute gluten free flour for all purpose flour. 

9 vanilla cupcakes with chocolate and white frosting on marble background

Tips for Making Cupcakes

  • Properly measure the all purpose flour using the spoon and sweep method.
  • Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until they are combined. Over mixing could lead to dry, dense cake.
  • You’ll bake the cupcakes at 400º F for the first 5 minutes. This will help the cupcakes dome and rise. After 5 minutes, turn the heat down to 350º F while keeping the cupcakes in the oven.
  • Each buttercream recipe will make enough frosting to frost 12 cupcakes, so if you are wanting to have a mix of chocolate and vanilla frosting, half each buttercream recipe.
  • Store these cupcakes covered on the counter.

More Delicious Desserts

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For a step-by-step of how to make this white cupcake recipe, watch this short video:
This CLASSIC WHITE CUPCAKE recipe is AMAZING! This is our go-to white cupcake recipe because it’s so moist and flavorful. Pair these cupcakes with vanilla or chocolate buttercream.

Classic White Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

This vanilla cupcake recipe is amazing! These white cupcakes are our go to birthday cupcakes because they are moist, flavorful and easy to make. Pair these cupcakes with vanilla or chocolate frosting. Easy vanilla cupcakes are perfect for a wedding, baby shower, or any party! 

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup & 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup & 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Vanilla Frosting (makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes)

  • 2 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1 & 1/4 cups butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • dash of milk or heavy cream if frosting becomes too thick

Chocolate Frosting (makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes)

  • 2 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1 & 1/4 cups butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • dash of milk or heavy cream if frosting becomes too thick

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer, 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Add in the egg whites, one at a time, lightly mixing with a spatula after each one. Add in the sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat lightly with the electric mixer. In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients a few spoonfuls at a time. Mix until just incorporated. Fill the muffin liners 1/2-3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes at 400º F. Keeping the cupcakes in the oven, turn the heat down to 350ºF and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until a few moist crumbs remain on a toothpick when inserted into the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding the frosting.

Vanilla Frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and vanilla extract, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, mixing by hand. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting no longer looks wet and tastes good to you. Then I use my electric mixer one last time to make sure the powdered sugar is really incorporated and ready to go. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a dash of milk or heavy cream.

Chocolate Frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and cocoa powder, gently mix by hand with a spatula. Begin to add the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, mixing by hand. Continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting no longer looks wet and tastes good to you. Then I use my electric mixer one last time to make sure the powdered sugar is really incorporated and ready to go. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a dash of milk or heavy cream.

TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Place the buttercream in a piping bag fit with your desired tip. Be sure to push the buttercream down into the bag, and twist the top a few times to secure the bag. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

Each frosting recipe makes enough frosting to frost 12 cupcakes. If you want 6 white and 6 chocolate frosted cupcakes, be sure to cut each frosting recipe in half.

This recipe turned out great using gluten free flour! We love King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour.

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