These classic vanilla cupcakes with butter cream frosting are moist, fluffy and very easy to bake. These are your new go-to small cakes.
Cupcakes are LOVE
Cupcakes are love and little pieces of heaven. These single serving desserts are packed with decadent and moist crumb, and way easier to handle as compared to the big pieces of cakes. Also, you do not need any spoon or fork to eat a cupcake. Just peel the cupcake liner and dive right into the little pieces of yummm.
I am a cupcake lover and I will go to lengths (numerous testing of a recipe) to create a good cupcake recipe. Recently, I shared my Cinnamon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, which as the name suggests is packed with one of my favorite flavors - cinnamon.
Here in Virginia, Spring is literally two days away. We are all set to welcome (what feels like the long-awaited) the season of flowers and blossoms and green leaves and lots of fresh produce (kiwis, cherries, pine apples, apricot, strawberries, herbs, vegetables etc.) For me, Spring always calls for classic bakes and old recipes that are always 'in' and bring joy to the table. One such recipe is Vanilla Cupcakes. I am sure all of us have that one authentic and handy vanilla cupcake recipe, which is close to our heart. Today, I am sharing my Classic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe made with vegetable oil instead of butter.
Table of Contents
Oil vs Butter
The basic difference between these cupcakes and traditional cupcakes recipe is that I am using vegetable oil instead of using butter. Oil makes the cupcakes moist and tender keeping them fresh way longer than the butter cupcakes. Another reason being oil captures the gases that are released by the leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda) and it also prevents the formation of gluten in the cupcakes, which then results in moist and tender crumb that we love.
But why do we use butter for cupcakes then? Well, the reason is simple, butter is more delicious and will taste better than the oil cupcakes. But not in this case. You must give these easy vanilla cupcakes a try to understand what I mean.
One Bowl Recipe & Handheld Electric Beater
Another reason to like this recipe is that all you need to have on hand is few basic ingredients and one large mixing bowl and a spatula and that’s it. Because we are not using butter in the recipe and the batch is small, you do not need to use the stand mixer. Just combine the ingredients as described in the step-by-step instructions and voila – you are all set.
Base Recipe & Endless Variations
The beauty of Vanilla is that it can be paired with so many fruits, berries and chocolate and you cannot go wrong with any of the pairing. I would say you keep this vanilla cupcake recipe as a foundation recipe and feel free to build around it with any flavor of your choice. Following are few possible variations with these cupcakes.
Chocolate Ganache & Chocolate Chips: What can go wrong when you pair these cupcakes with chocolate? The chocolate will perfectly compliment the cupcakes. Use my chocolate ganache recipe to decorate the cupcakes and sprinkle chocolate chips over it.
Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries & Blackberries: Want to pair it with the choice of your berries. Sure, simply alter the buttercream with the choice of your berries and frost the cupcakes accordingly.
Lemon: If you like tangy lemon-ish flavor, add lemon zest (1 teaspoon) in the batter.
Orange: Add 1 teaspoon orange zest to give these cupcakes orange flavor.
Cardamom: This one is my personal favorite as I love cardamom in almost any and every desert. Add 1 teaspoon cardamom powder to the batter to give it a cardamom flavor.
Sprinkles: Decorate the cupcakes with colorful sprinkles as I did in this recipe.
See, with only one simple base easy and fluffy vanilla cupcake recipe you can create so many variations.
Thin Batter: As you can see in the step-by-step instructions pictures below, the batter of these cupcakes is very thin. Do not panic about it. That’s how the batter should be. It will rise properly in the oven.
Oven Temperature: Make sure that the oven temperature is 350 F. It is important because every oven is different and the internal temperature of the oven can vary largely. To ensure the temperature is 350 F, use an oven thermometer. If the temperature is not set properly, the cupcakes will sink and you will not get the little dome in the center that is desired for the cupcakes.
Do Not Open the Oven Door While Baking: I know it can be tempting to open the oven door while the cupcakes are baking. But stop, do not do it. It may result in sinking cupcakes as the oven temperature will go down because of the door opening.
Do Not Overfill the Cupcake Liners: You want to make sure that you do no overfill the cupcake liners. I always use an ice-cream scoop to fill the cupcake liners ⅔ to ¾ of the cupcake liners and leave the space on the top. You want to leave the space on the top so that the cupcakes can rise properly.
Fresh Baking Powder: Make sure the baking powder is not expired, is fresh and working properly. If the baking powder is not fresh, the cupcakes might sink in the middle and not rise properly.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this recipe.
Butter Cream Frosting:
Heavy cream or whipping cream
Ingredients at Room Temperature: Use the ingredients at room temperature for this recipe to have the best cupcakes. Otherwise, the ingredients will not mix in the best way and you will not get the desired results.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 F and line the muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
Step 2 & 3: Take a bowl and add all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk together and set aside.
Step 4: Cream the vegetable oil and sugar together.
Step 5: Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat again until well incorporated.
Step 6: Mix until all ingredients are combined well.
Step 7: Using an ice-cream scoop, fill in the cake liners ⅔ and leave some space form the top to the batter in the liner.
Step 8: Bake for 18 – 22 minutes. Check at 18 minutes and see if a wooden stick inserted comes out clean without any liquid.
Step 9: Let the cupcakes cool completely before applying butter cream frosting on it.
Frequently Asked Questions
I would not recommend so and I would keep the recipe as is to get the best results. But if you do not have oil on hand, replace it with equal amount of butter.
Do not use olive oil for this recipe because olive oil has a distinctive taste and will give these cupcakes a nuttier and fruity taste and it can overpower other flavors in the recipe. You may also use any other flavorless oil such as canola, corn, sunflower or grape-seed oil.
Yes, please see the instructions below in the How to Store section.
Yes, you may use this recipe as a foundation recipe and add different flavors. See the section of variations above.
Yes – absolutely. You can enjoy them without frosting on it.
The oven temperature might be slightly different than 350 F that is required for these cupcakes. Ensure the temperature by using an oven thermometer.
How to Store
On the Counter: These cupcakes will stay good for up to 4 days in an airtight container. It is best to store the cupcake on the counter than putting them in the fridge because they get dry very quickly in the fridge.
In the Freezer: To freeze the cupcakes (without frosting), wrap each cupcake with plastic wrap and add a layer of foil. You can stash it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Oil
- 1 Muffin Tin (12 muffins)
- 1 Handheld Electric Mixer
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (150 grams)
- 1 cup castor sugar (200 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (4 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda (1.25 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt (2.9 grams)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (13 grams/ml) room temperature
- ½ cup milk (full fat) (100 grams/ml) room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (54 grams/ml)
- 2 eggs (50 - 55 grams each) room temperature
Butter Cream Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 grams) room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (7.4 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (1.42 grams)
- 2 cups powdered/icing sugar (260 grams)
- Preheat the oven at 350 F. Set the 12-muffin tin with cup cake liners and set aside.
- Take a large bowl and cream oil and sugar together. Add in the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and mix for 2 minutes until well-incorporated.
- Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the wet ingredients.
- Using an ice-cream scoop, fill in the cupcake liners about ⅔ to ¾ leaving the space on the top.
- Place the muffin tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 18 - 22 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Butter Cream Frosting
- Take a large bowl and beat the butter until creamy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and salt. Beat again.
- Add the icing sugar and heavy cream and beat until combined well.