Vanilla Cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcakes
5 from 49 votes
This classic vanilla cupcake recipe is going to become your new go-to baking recipe. This is a simple, easy, and quick recipe that even the kids will be able to help with.
Vanilla Cupcake

Vanilla Cupcakes! The quintessential crowd-pleaser that transcends age, nationality, and, dare I say, diets! Originating from the American kitchens of the early 19th century, the simplicity and unadulterated joy that come with each bite have made them a staple in every bakery, cookbook, and Pinterest board.

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room—or should I say, the difficulty level in the kitchen. Fear not, my culinary explorers!

Vanilla cupcakes are like a friendly neighbour who always waves back: pleasant, inviting, and, most importantly, simple to make. If you’ve ever whipped up scrambled eggs without burning them, you’re already ahead of the game.

But don’t let the simplicity fool you. There’s an entire universe of variations awaiting your taste buds. From the ever-popular red velvet to the unique matcha green tea, cupcakes offer a wide array of personalities to suit every craving.

And don’t even get me started on frosting—the options are endless! But today, we are sticking to the classic vanilla with a dash of fun, both in the process and in your palate.

While the basic recipe calls for self-raising flour, sugar, softened butter, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and baking soda, each ingredient can be substituted to suit dietary restrictions or personal preferences. Gluten-free? No problem! Lactose intolerant? Got you covered!

The journey begins by preheating your oven and sifting flour and sugar into a large bowl.

The butter, soft as a cosy blanket, is then added and whisked to perfection, creating a crumb-like texture that forms the base of our cupcake cloud. The eggs are the heralds of fluffiness, whisked in one at a time to form a consistent batter smoother than a Shakespearean sonnet.

Then comes the pièce de résistance, the vanilla extract. Ah, its fragrant essence is what makes a vanilla cupcake truly, well, vanilla. Add a pinch of baking soda and a dash of milk, and you’re ready to scoop that beautiful batter into cupcake cases.

Once you’ve divided the batter, it’s time for these bad boys to get their tan on. Bake them in the centre of the oven until they’re golden and radiant, much like your beaming face will be once you take that first bite. Decorate to your heart’s content, and voila, you’ve just created a batch of pure bliss.

Now, before you dash off to preheat that oven, remember, that a cupcake is a canvas, and you, my friend, are the artist. The joy is not just in the eating but in the creating. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get baking!

What Ingredients to Use & Why

The stars of the show—or dare I say, the culinary orchestra—are the ingredients that make up this mouth-watering symphony called Vanilla Cupcakes.

Just like you wouldn’t start a rock band without a guitar or a painting without a brush, each ingredient in this recipe plays its part, crucial in its own unique way, to create the final masterpiece.

So, let’s embark on a culinary journey as I walk you through the who’s who of our ingredients line-up.

Self-Raising Flour: The backbone of our cupcakes, self-raising flour gives structure and body, allowing them to rise and hold their shape.

It comes pre-mixed with a leavening agent, meaning you don’t have to fret about proportions. Now, if you’re on a gluten-free diet, opt for a gluten-free version of self-raising flour, and you’re good to go. The flour enhances the texture, making it fluffy yet firm.

Sugar Caster: The sweet symphony of sugar, specifically caster sugar. It’s finely granulated to dissolve quickly, ensuring a smooth, lump-free batter.

Sugar isn’t just about the sweetness; it also plays a role in retaining moisture, making your cupcakes soft and tender. If you’re seeking a healthier alternative, coconut sugar or stevia can come to the rescue.

Softened Butter: Think of softened butter as the velvet touch to your cupcakes. It provides richness, flavour, and moisture, making the texture soft and crumbly.

The butterfat also traps air, contributing to the leavening process. If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, a vegan butter substitute can work wonders here.

Eggs: These little guys are the unsung heroes of your batter. They help emulsify the mixture, ensuring all ingredients are uniformly distributed. They also give a lift to your cupcakes, making them airy and light. For the vegans out there, a flaxseed egg or aquafaba can serve as a great alternative.

Milk: Milk is the unifying element that brings all the ingredients together. It makes the batter smooth and balances out the sweetness with its slight tang. If dairy’s not your thing, almond or oat milk works splendidly.

Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds that aromatic essence that turns a basic cupcake into a Vanilla cupcake. It enhances the flavours of all the other ingredients. If you can’t find vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste can work as a replacement.

Baking Soda: This is your leavening agent that ensures your cupcakes rise to the occasion—literally! Baking soda reacts with the acidity of the other ingredients to give you a fluffy outcome. No baking soda? No problem. Baking powder can be used as a substitute, though it may slightly alter the texture.

And there you have it, the magnificent seven that make Vanilla Cupcakes the irresistible treat they are!

Remember, your choice of ingredients will define your cupcakes, so choose wisely and don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s the uniqueness of your choices that make your cupcakes a hit, a reflection of your culinary prowess. So, go ahead and let your creativity run wild!

The Secret Life of Self-Raising Flour

Self-raising flour, my friends, is the unsung hero of the culinary world. Let’s talk about why it’s such a staple in recipes, especially the iconic Vanilla Cupcakes.

First, what makes self-raising flour, well, self-raising? It’s basically all-purpose flour that’s been pre-mixed with a leavening agent—typically baking powder. This pre-mixed magic ensures your cupcakes rise like they’re supposed to, every single time.

So, in essence, self-raising flour is a bit like that overachieving friend who also brings snacks to the study session; it does more than you’d expect.

Now, what if you’re one of those gluten-free warriors? Fret not, you can opt for gluten-free self-raising flour, and the difference will be negligible.

But if you’re in a pinch and don’t have self-raising flour, you can use a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder. The ratio generally is 1 cup of all-purpose flour to 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder.

You may wonder, does the kind of flour really impact the taste of the Vanilla Cupcakes? Oh, you bet it does! The texture and crumb of the cupcake depend heavily on the flour used. The self-raising flour makes your cupcake light, fluffy, and soft—everything a cupcake should be.

Self-raising flour is the saviour for novice bakers and a convenience for seasoned ones. It’s like the Swiss Army knife in your baking toolbox; versatile, reliable, and absolutely essential.

Decoding the Importance of Vanilla Extract

The crown jewel of our Vanilla Cupcakes has to be the vanilla extract. It’s like the main actor in a blockbuster movie; you simply can’t imagine the show going on without them. But why is vanilla extract such a pivotal part of this classic recipe?

Ah, vanilla. Its name alone brings forth images of aromatic allure. Originating from the orchids of the Vanilla genus, this spice was first cultivated by the Totonac people of Mexico.

It made its way across the world and became the go-to flavour for anything wanting to boast a rich, creamy, and, well, “vanilla” taste.

So what exactly does vanilla extract bring to your cupcakes? First and foremost, it provides that classic vanilla flavour that’s subtle yet distinct. Its aroma permeates the cupcake, giving it a richness that’s hard to replace.

In addition, vanilla also enhances the flavours of other ingredients, making them come alive. It’s like the perfect wingman; it knows when to step back and let others shine, but also when to steal the spotlight.

But what if you find yourself in a pickle with no vanilla extract in sight? While it’s hard to replicate the exact essence, you can substitute it with vanilla bean paste or even vanilla-flavoured sugar. Trust me, it’s better than leaving it out altogether!

Vanilla extract is not just an ingredient; it’s an experience. It transforms your humble cupcake into a Vanilla Cupcake, elevating it from mere baked goods to a culinary masterpiece.

Always ensure you have a little bottle in your pantry; you never know when you’ll need to whip up something fabulous!

Eggs: The Unsung Heroes of Baking

Let’s give it up for eggs! Yep, those smooth, oval miracles of nature that make your Vanilla Cupcakes rise and shine. While flour and sugar often take the limelight, eggs do the behind-the-scenes work. It’s high time we rolled out the red carpet for these unsung heroes of baking.

Firstly, eggs serve as the glue holding all the ingredients together, ensuring a uniform, cohesive batter. No one likes a crumbly cupcake, right? When I whisk the eggs into the batter, I give the mixture an emulsifying agent, binding the fats and liquids to create a smooth, creamy texture.

Eggs also contribute to the rising action of the cupcake. They create steam as they cook, puffing up your cupcakes, and making them light and airy. But they don’t just stop at texture; eggs infuse moisture into your cupcakes, preventing them from becoming dry and crumbly.

But hey, what if you’re vegan or allergic to eggs? No worries, my friend. You can substitute with flaxseed eggs, aquafaba, or even commercial egg replacers. The results are just as heavenly.

All in all, eggs are like the utility players on a baseball team. They might not hit home runs, but they keep the game moving smoothly. They’re an indispensable part of your baking line-up, and your Vanilla Cupcakes wouldn’t be the same without them.

The Milk Paradox: Dairy vs. Non-Dairy in Baking

As we plunge deeper into the intricate web of baking, the next topic on the docket is milk.

Ah, good ol’ milk; it has always been the go-to liquid for most recipes, but times are changing, my friend. With dietary preferences evolving and more people leaning towards plant-based diets, the range of “milks” available on the market is staggering.

Now, when I make my Vanilla Cupcakes, milk serves a couple of functions. It loosens up the batter to the right consistency, ensuring it’s not too thick or too thin. Plus, it contributes to the flavour. The natural fats in milk enhance the richness of the cupcake, offering a slightly creamy, deliciously moist texture.

But if dairy isn’t your thing, the options are endless. Almond milk, oat milk, soy milk—you name it! I’ve tried using almond milk and oat milk, and honestly, the difference is so subtle, you’d hardly notice.

However, it’s crucial to note that the fat content in these non-dairy options might vary, which can lead to a minor change in the cupcake’s texture. But taste-wise, it’s pretty much on point.

So, the question isn’t really ‘to milk or not to milk’. The question is ‘What kind of milk?’ And the answer, my dear reader, depends on your palate and dietary choices.

With a plethora of options available, your Vanilla Cupcakes can be as traditional or as avant-garde as you like. Whatever your choice, the result will still be a delicious, fluffy, mouth-watering cupcake that you can proudly claim as your own.

The Magic of Sugar Caster in Baking

Alright, sugar, let’s talk. Oh, not just any sugar—specifically caster sugar. When I bake my delectable Vanilla Cupcakes, caster sugar is my go-to for a reason. This fine, granulated beauty is a superstar in the cupcake world, and let me tell you why.

First, let’s talk about texture. Caster sugar’s finer granules mean it dissolves more easily than regular granulated sugar.

When I’m beating the sugar and butter, I don’t have to worry about those dreaded sugar crystals refusing to break down. The result? A smoother, almost satin-like batter. Oh yes, texture matters, darlings!

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of flavour. I’m often asked, does the type of sugar affect the flavour of the Vanilla Cupcakes?

Absolutely! Caster sugar gives you that classic, neutral sweetness that lets the vanilla extract shine. It’s like the backup singer who knows when to pipe down and let the lead vocalist take centre stage.

But suppose you can’t find caster sugar at your local grocery store. In that case, you can substitute it with granulated sugar or even make your own caster sugar by pulsing granulated sugar in a food processor. Just remember, the finer, the better.

Caster sugar is the darling of the baking world. Its fine texture and neutral sweetness make it the ideal choice for my Vanilla Cupcakes. It’s reliable, consistent, and an essential part of my baking arsenal.

The Chemistry of Baking Soda: Rising to the Occasion

Ah, baking soda, the mysterious white powder that makes things go “poof” in the oven. Why do I use baking soda in my Vanilla Cupcakes? Let me enlighten you.

When baking soda interacts with acidic components (like buttermilk or lemon juice), it creates carbon dioxide gas. This results in small bubbles that make your cupcake rise and give it that fluffy texture we all know and love. It’s all chemistry, baby!

But what if you don’t have baking soda on hand? Can you still make cupcakes? Fear not! Baking powder can be used as an alternative, albeit with a slight change in the texture. Baking powder contains both an acid and a base, so it doesn’t require another acidic element for activation.

Now, some might think that baking soda doesn’t affect the flavour. They couldn’t be more wrong. A dash of baking soda can neutralize excess acidity in the batter, creating a balanced, harmonious flavour. This allows the vanilla to really come forward and gives that wonderful Vanilla Cupcake its classic taste.

Baking soda is more than just an ancillary ingredient; it’s a vital component that contributes to both the texture and flavour of my Vanilla Cupcakes. So, next time you find yourself questioning the importance of baking soda, remember, that it’s what stands between you and cupcake perfection.

The Origins of the Vanilla Cupcake: A Culinary Journey

Vanilla cupcakes may seem as American as apple pie, but would you believe that their roots trace back to Europe? That’s right, the basic concept of a “cupcake” can be found in a 19th-century British cookbook. Now, I’m not saying Queen Victoria was chowing down on cupcakes, but let’s just say she might have been familiar with the concept.

The term “cupcake” comes from the original recipe measurements, which were done by the cupful: a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, you get the gist.

Nowadays, of course, recipes like my Vanilla Cupcakes have become far more nuanced, including ingredients like caster sugar and baking soda to achieve that perfect taste and texture.

The vanilla in the Vanilla Cupcake isn’t just there to sound fancy; it has its roots in orchid plants from Mexico. Its exotic origin is possibly why it’s such a hit in cupcakes; it’s a taste that was once so foreign and exclusive but is now accessible to everyone.

Today, vanilla cupcakes have taken on a life of their own, with every baker adding their twist to this classic recipe. They’ve crossed oceans, moved across continents, and in the process, become a beloved treat for many different cultures.

Variations on a Theme: The Evolution of the Vanilla Cupcake

Ah, the classic Vanilla Cupcake—so simple, yet so versatile. If you think vanilla means plain or boring, you’re not playing your food game right. The Vanilla Cupcake is like a blank canvas, eagerly awaiting the brush strokes of culinary creativity. So, let’s dive into the fascinating world of Vanilla Cupcake variations.

There’s the citrusy twist where lemon or orange zest is added to the batter. Just a little zest and you get this beautiful aroma that completely changes the flavour profile of the cupcake. This version is perfect for summer or as a palate cleanser in a multi-course meal.

Then there’s the chocolate chip version. Just fold some chocolate chips into the batter before baking, and voila! You get these lovely pockets of melted chocolate in each bite, elevating the humble Vanilla Cupcake into something extraordinary.

Ever thought of incorporating fruits? Blueberries, strawberries, and even diced apples make excellent additions. When you bite into the cupcake, you get these delightful bursts of fruitiness that are absolutely divine.

What about taking it up a notch with frosting? Buttercream is the standard, but have you ever tried cream cheese frosting on a Vanilla Cupcake? It’s the perfect balance of tangy and sweet, and it’s completely addictive.

The Vanilla Cupcake is like the little black dress of the baking world. You can dress it up or dress it down; either way, it’s always in style. So don’t underestimate the power of the vanilla cupcake, because the possibilities for innovation are as limitless as your imagination.

The Science Behind Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Let’s delve into the fascinating science that goes into making those absolutely mouth-watering Vanilla Cupcakes. Trust me, it’s not as simple as throwing some sugar and flour together.

Oh no, there’s a reason I stick to specific ingredients and measures. You see, baking is basically chemistry that you can eat.

Firstly, the butter. Ah, the luscious creaminess that sets the base for your cupcakes. Ever wondered why softened butter is used?

The soft butter allows for little pockets of fat to be evenly distributed, leading to a crumbly and fluffy texture. Trust me, if you don’t get the butter right, your cupcakes will taste more like bread.

Now, let’s talk about the eggs. Those little orbs are essentially the binding agent in the recipe. They keep everything together, and their proteins set during cooking, giving the cake structure. Plus, the fats in the yolk make the cupcakes extra moist.

Then there’s the baking soda. A teaspoon may seem insignificant, but it’s the secret weapon for the perfect rise and texture. The baking soda reacts with the acid in the other ingredients, releasing carbon dioxide gas that causes the batter to rise when it hits the heat of the oven.

And let’s not forget the vanilla extract. It’s not just to give the cupcakes their name; it adds that aromatic quality that takes your senses on a trip to vanilla heaven. The point is, that every ingredient has a role to play, a scientific part in the grand production that is your Vanilla Cupcakes.

Cupcake Decor: The Frosting on the Cake

Once your Vanilla Cupcakes are baked to perfection, and their intoxicating aroma has filled your kitchen, it’s time for the fun part—decorating! Oh, I can’t tell you how much I adore this stage. You could say that decorating cupcakes is almost like adding the finishing touch to a masterpiece painting.

Sure, you could go the traditional route with some classic vanilla buttercream frosting piped into elegant rosettes. But why stop there? Think of the cupcake as your canvas and the frosting as your paint.

What picture do you want to paint today? There are so many types of frostings to choose from, like cream cheese, ganache, or even marshmallow.

Then there are the toppings. Sprinkles, chocolate chips, fruit slices—the sky’s the limit. Heck, I’ve even seen cupcakes adorned with tiny macarons and cookies. Whatever floats your boat, my dear!

If you’re in the holiday spirit, why not go thematic? Christmas cupcakes adorned with little fondant snowflakes or Halloween cupcakes with creepy-crawly spiders. Let your creativity flow.

Decorating cupcakes can be therapeutic, artistic, and just plain fun. So, go ahead and put on your artist’s beret, prepare your palette of frosting and toppings, and let the artistry begin. Just remember, like any great artwork, it’s not complete until you’ve admired it—and then devoured it.

Check Out These Other Recipes

If you’re as smitten with my vanilla cupcakes as I am, let me just say, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Trust me, your kitchen is about to transform into an irresistible bakery of dreams. And yes, you’re the star baker.

Ever been so enchanted by a cupcake that you wondered what its siblings would taste like? Well, say hello to the Basic Cupcake, the vanilla cupcake’s simpler but equally charming cousin. It’s like that minimalist friend who still knows how to steal the show.

Now, if you’re ready to step into the ring of culinary delight, brace yourself for the Oreo Cupcakes. Imagine the fluffy vanilla base getting a dramatic makeover with crushed Oreos. It’s like the edgy teen of the cupcake family, and you won’t be able to resist its allure.

But what’s a cupcake without a shake, right? The Snickers Milkshake is basically heaven in a glass. It’s as if the vanilla cupcake decided to take a dip in a pool of caramel, peanuts, and chocolate. Can you say divine?

Ever dreamt of a cake that just fills the room with its aroma? Darling, my Banana Chocolate Chip Cake is just that. It’s as if the vanilla cupcake went on a tropical vacation and came back bursting with fruity chocolatey goodness.

And for those of you who want to go all out and treat yourself like the royalty you are, there’s the Red Velvet Cake. Imagine the vanilla cupcake, but dressed up in sumptuous red velvet and crowned with luxurious cream cheese frosting. It’s like meeting the queen and realizing she’s your kind of gal.

So what are you waiting for? Your taste buds deserve this carnival of flavours. Give these recipes a whirl, and do let me know how you get on in the comments below.

Vanilla Cupcake

Vanilla Cupcake

by Nabeela Kauser
This classic vanilla cupcake recipe is going to become your new go-to baking recipe. A simple, easy, and quick recipe that even the kids will be able to help with.
5 from 49 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Baking
Cuisine American, British, Western
Servings 12 Cupcakes
Calories 166 kcal


  • 125 g Self Raising Flour
  • 125 g Sugar Caster
  • 125 g Butter Softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas mark 4
  • In a large bowl sift the self raising flour and sugar
  • Ensure that the butter is soft and cut into small cubes before adding into the mixture then whisk until a crumb-like texture is formed
  • Crack the eggs in a separate bowl then add the bowl one a time, whisking as you add until a smooth consistency is formed
  • Add the milk, vanilla extract and baking soda then whisk until just combined
  • Using a tablespoon or an ice-cream scoop add the mixture into the cupcake cakes – this will make 12 cupcakes
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown
  • Allow to cool then decorate and enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 2gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 261mgPotassium: 28mgFibre: 0.3gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 304IUVitamin D: 0.2µgCalcium: 11mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword Cakes, Cupcakes, Food, Recipe, Vanilla
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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2 years ago

Very easy and it seemed to be nice thanks

2 years ago

Is it bread soda or baking powder please

Katumba susan
Katumba susan
1 year ago

5 stars
Thanx for the recipe

Guramandeep Singh
Guramandeep Singh
1 year ago

5 stars
Can i get recipe for eggless vanilla cake

1 year ago

5 stars
Hi, any tips how to prevent the paper liners from shrinking away from the cake?

1 year ago

5 stars
I have not tried it yet but it looks nice

1 year ago

5 stars
They were gorgeous and super soft.


Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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