These are the BEST vanilla bean cupcakes with classic fluffy vanilla buttercream and rainbow sprinkles. This is my go to vanilla cupcake recipe that’s been tried and tested on thousands of wedding guests and birthday party goers since back in my custom cake days!
What makes these the BEST vanilla cupcakes?
This vanilla cupcake recipe is easy to make, and the cupcakes are moist, fluffy, and are packed with real vanilla flavor thanks to the vanilla bean paste. I’ve tested this recipe more times than I can count and they’ve been served at dozens of weddings, birthday parties, and bridal showers. They’re always a hit and people are always begging for the recipe. I thought it was finally time I shared it. Ultimately, the best vanilla cupcakes are a result of using the right combination of the highest quality ingredients.
- Salted, High Quality Butter. I highly recommend using Kerry Gold Salted Butter in this recipe. A lot of people shy away from salted butter in baked goods, but you shouldn’t! The salt enhances the flavor of everything else and balances the sweetness. Kerry Gold has a higher fat content than others and uses a high quality milk which gives it that deep gold color and intense buttery flavor.
- Vanilla Bean Paste. The specks of vanilla bean throughout these cupcakes aren’t JUST pretty. It’s also what gives the cupcakes REAL vanilla flavor that just can’t be beat.
- Buttermilk. I love the slight tang and richness buttermilk gives to cakes and cupcakes. It’s not too intense, but just enough to give these vanilla cupcakes that extra something special.
How to Make the BEST Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Preheat your oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake tins with 18 total cupcake liners. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl half way through to ensure everything gets evenly mixed. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix an additional 2 minutes, or until the eggs are fully incorporated. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as the egg whites tend to try to settle at the bottom. Then, add in the dry ingredients until just combined.
Use a standard ice cream scoop with a trigger to fill the cupcake liners almost to the top. You should get exactly 18 cupcakes. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then rotate the cupcakes in the oven and bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the cupcake tins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. You want to let the cupcakes cool completely before adding buttercream so that it doesn’t melt!
Classic Vanilla Buttercream
Speaking of buttercream, you can’t have the perfect vanilla cupcake without silky smooth and pillowy buttercream. Mine comes together with just a few simple ingredients – butter, powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, heavy cream, and a pinch of salt.
Buttercream is one of the VERY FEW recipes where I like to use unsalted butter. Different butters have different amounts of salt, so using unsalted butter gives you full control and ensures you won’t have salty buttercream. I recommend Kerrygold Unsalted Butter here. Butter makes up a large part of buttercream, so using high quality butter makes a big difference.
To make the buttercream, start by creaming the butter by itself for 10 minutes. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl occasionally. This whips air into the butter and is essential in creating buttercream that super fluffy and almost white in color. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined.
Then, add the powdered sugar in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 3 minutes after each addition. So add 2 cups, mix 3 minutes, and repeat. Mixing the powdered sugar on low speed will help avoid air bubbles and will create an incredibly smooth texture. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, add heavy cream 1-2 TBSP at a time until you reach your desired consistency. I like mine to be super soft, but still hold it’s shape when piped so I tend to add about 4-5 TBSP of heavy cream total.
Tips for frosting bakery quality swirls
You can absolutely decorate beautiful cupcakes without using piping tips and bags. Check out this post, to find out how I decorate cupcakes with just a spoon or offset spatula. But, if you want dreamy swirls as you see pictured here, keep reading.
For these vanilla bean cupcakes, I piped on the buttercream with a Wilton 8B tip and a large piping bag. The Wilton 8B is my absolute favorite for cupcakes!
- Start in the very center of the cupcake and pipe about 1 tsp of buttercream to create a base.
- Then, slowly lift the bag upwards as you pipe a circle around the cupcake, keeping away from the edges slightly.
- Then, do another 3/4 circle of buttercream on the top while working towards the center. Quickly twist your wrist pulling the bag up and away from the cupcake to create that perfect point.
- Optional, top with rainbow sprinkles.
Vanilla Bean Cupcake FAQs
- Can I make them Gluten Free? You should have no problem making this recipe gluten free by using a 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour like this one from Bob’s Red Mill.
- How to store vanilla bean cupcakes? Your cupcakes will stay fresh on the counter for 24 hours. I like to keep them on a serving tray with a lid. After 24 hours I’d recommend covering them and popping them into the fridge for up to a week.
- Why didn’t my cupcakes rise? These cupcakes should rise slightly and have that perfect cupcake dome. If yours are flat, it could be your baking powder. Did you know baking powder loses some of its effectiveness after just 6 months? Another problem could be your oven temperature. A lot of ovens aren’t properly calibrated so you could be baking too cool or too hot without even realizing it. The easiest way to fix this is with an oven thermometer. And finally, you might have under filled your cupcake liners. You want to fill them just over 3/4 of the way full, as pictured above.
- Can I freeze cupcakes? Yes, you can. Bake the cupcakes and let cool completely, then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. The day before you want to serve them, let them thaw in the fridge overnight, then frost with buttercream just before serving.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 18 Cupcakes 1x
Soft, fluffy, and moist vanilla bean cupcakes topped with a swirl of silky vanilla buttercream and rainbow sprinkles.
For the Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
- 1/2 C (113g) Salted Butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 C (375g) Granulated Sugar
- 2 Lg Eggs, at room temperature
- 1 TBSP Vanilla Bean Paste
- 1 1/4 C Buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 C (310g) All Purpose Flour
- 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
For the Vanilla Buttercream
- 1 C (226g) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- 4 C Powdered Sugar
- 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 4–6 TBSP Heavy Cream, at room temperature
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans with 18 total cupcake liners.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs and mix for an additional 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Pour the vanilla bean paste into the buttermilk and whisk to combine.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk starting and ending with the dry ingredients. So, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, then 1/3 of the flour, etc.
- Mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
- Portion the batter into the cupcake liners filling just over 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, then rotate the cupcakes and bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached.
- Let cool completely before frosting.
For the Buttercream
- Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for 10 minutes, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Add the vanilla and salt and mix to combine.
- Add 1/2 of the powdered sugar, mix on low for 3 minutes, then repeat with the remaining powdered sugar.
- Add the heavy cream 1-2 TBSP at a time until you reach your desired consistency. I usually add 5 TBSP which makes the buttercream super soft, but still holds its shape when piped.
Keywords: vanilla bean cupcakes, vanilla birthday cupcakes, perfect vanilla cupcakes, moist vanilla cupcakes
If you loved this recipe for Vanilla Bean Cupcakes, be sure to leave a star rating and review below and tag @buuckfarmsbakery on Instagram. To save this recipe for later, click on the pinterest icon on the recipe card or on any of the photos throughout this post.
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