Classic White Cupcakes

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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41 comments

  1. These are making me so hungry!

  2. Wonderful cupcake! That swirl is so perfect!

  3. Beth a basic question.. What size scoop do you use for the batter? It seems o be a perfect size for cupcakes!

    • Hey there! I use a small cookie scoop and usually fill the cups about 1 & 1/2 times with the scoop. So not an exact measurement, sorry!

  4. Can you use this recipe for a cake? If so, what would the cooking time and temperature be for 9 x 13, or 8″ round?

    • Hi Sue! I haven’t converted this recipe yet, but I’ll add it to my recipe list to see what I can do!

  5. Everything looks so yummy..will be trying some of your recipes always looking for salads and desserts that aren’t just chocolate … work in a group home

  6. My 5 yr old granddaughter & I used 1/2 cup per paper liners & 1 & 1/2 T for the mini cup liners
    Very good moist cupcakes yet my oven took 1/2 hr after turning temp down to 358*

  7. Thank you! I made these for my sewing students this week to celebrate the end of our semester and they were amazing! So moist and full of flavor. Mine took a few minutes longer but I’m pretty sure my oven runs cool so I took that into consideration. This recipe is a keeper and I’m making it again and again. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Made these with a few alterations to get some little lemon cakes! I didn’t have sour cream so I used vanilla greek yogurt, just half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and added about a tablespoon of lemon juice, and the zest of one lemon. The result was slightly denser cakes, that had to bake for about an extra ten minutes. I then glazed them with a mixture of lemon juice and powdered sugar. Delicious!

  9. 2 to 3 cups powered sugar. What is it? I tend to notice its usely 3 to 4. we want exactly right measurements . No guessing!

    • It depends on how you like your buttercream! Taste it and see if it needs more powdered sugar!

  10. Hi I use the metric system and would like to know how many grams is a stick of butter? 
    Super excited to try this recipe!!!! 

  11. How do I adapt the baking time for this recipe if I want to make mini cupcakes?

  12. I’ve made these a couple times now and they are delicious! Thank you for this great recipe.  ???? Looks like I may not be alone on the timing. After 5 minutes at 400 and 9 at 350 mine are not even close to being done.  I did 5 at 400 then I had to do a total of 16 at 350 before mine were baked.  

  13. The sticks of butter you use in cupcakes an frosting is that real salted butter, or like an imperial stick butter or does it matter ?

  14. I’d love to know the conversion for 2- 8 inch cakes. These were delicious!

  15. I’m very pleased with how these turned out! Thank you! This will be my go-to cupcake recipe :)
    Do you think these would work out the same in regular size cupcakes?

    • Hi January! I’m so glad! We love this recipe too! This recipe is for regular sized cupcakes.

  16. Oops, I can see that now – Thanks for pointing that out! They were great as mini cupcakes too ;)

  17. I would like to make these, but I am not sure if I can because you said to put them in the oven at 400 for 5 minutes then down to 350. With my oven, I can put it at 400 but then I will have to shut it off and put it at 350 and wait until it reaches 350.  Does that make sense? I am not sure what words to use to explain what I am trying to say. I hope you understand and if you do, please advise me. Thank you.

    • Hi Jeannette! You can bake the cupcakes at 350ºF for the entire baking time.

  18. Hi! I want to make mini cupcakes. How long should I bake them for 

    • Hi Alex! I haven’t made these into mini cupcakes, but I am guessing between 8-12 minutes.

  19. I’m making mini white cupcakes for my niece’s wedding. This is the 4th recipe that I tried, the first two were very dense, the 3rd much too oily, this recipe was perfect. I have an electric oven and I timed it at 12minutes, 15 seconds, turning the pan half way. I used a small cookie scoop on the first batch, they didn’t come out as high as I would have liked. On the second batch I used the same cookie scoop,  topping each one off with the small end of a melon baller, perfect size!  This will definitely be my go-to recipe. Thank you

  20. These were delicious and very moist. Not too sweet so they’re perfect for super sweet frosting! Only issue with the recipe was that I had to leave them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes longer. They just started to turn golden on the edges of the muffin tops and they were cooked to perfection. Thanks for the great recipe! I have been looking for a good white cake for a long time and this is a keeper.

  21. Pingback: Orange Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Biscuits & Burlap

  22. love this recipe. Can I use this recipe to make lemon cupcakes?

  23. These cupcakes look amazing! How many cupcakes does this recipe make?

  24. How would you change this for 2 layer 8 inch cake? double recipe?

    • I would definitely double the recipe! I’m not sure about the baking time without trying it myself.

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