These perfect vanilla cupcakes are topped with a creamy chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. They are as classic as they get when it comes to a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting combo and guaranteed to become your go-to easy vanilla cupcake recipe!
These easy vanilla cupcakes are so soft and fluffy. They are topped with the silkiest chocolate Swiss buttercream frosting, that’s actually also extremely easy to make. These are a classic combo, perfect for any birthday celebration or just to make your day a little sweeter.
How do you make vanilla cupcakes?
For the cupcake batter, no stand mixer is needed. All you need are a couple mixing bowls and a hand whisk. For the chocolate frosting, a stand mixer is recommended and is what I like to use when making a Swiss buttercream frosting.
- First, prepare all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda) and add them to a small bowl.
- Mix together with a whisk to distribute evenly.
- Then in a medium bowl, add the wet ingredients (eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla).
- Mix together with a whisk to combine.
- Now add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredient mixture.
- Mix with a whisk or a spatula to combine until smooth.
- I like to use a large ice cream scoop to divide the batter evenly into a 12 cup standard size muffin pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. For my oven, this was about 17 minutes. Use this time as a guide because oven temperature can vary. Check your cupcakes doneness a minute or two before to ensure you are not over-baking. And lengthen the baking time beyond this as needed.
- Make the chocolate Swiss buttercream and decorate as you wish.
How can I make my cupcakes moist?
- Vanilla cupcake recipe with oil tends to be more moist than one with all butter. Oil is 100% fat, and fat inhibits gluten formation. Whereas butter typically contains 15% water, and water strengthens gluten formation. Too much gluten can result in denser crumbs and dryer cupcakes.
- This vanilla cupcake recipe is also made with buttermilk. Buttermilk is acidic which can help tenderize gluten, giving your cupcakes a softer texture.
How do you bake the perfect cupcakes?
- Use quality ingredients, the best you can obtain within reason.
- One of the most important vanilla cupcake ingredients is obviously vanilla. Always use PURE vanilla extract, NEVER imitation vanilla. It might be more expensive but a little goes a long way and it will make everything taste so much better.
- Don’t over-mix the batter. Over-mixing can increase gluten formation, resulting in denser and dryer cupcakes.
- Divide the batter cleanly and evenly by using a scoop. This will help the cupcakes bake and rise uniformly.
- Frost the cupcakes as soon as they cool down. The frosting acts as a barrier to retain moisture to keep the cupcakes from drying out.
If you have been searching for the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe from scratch, look no further. This recipe is guaranteed to become your go-to homemade vanilla cupcake recipe! Pair it with chocolate frosting for the classic combo or change up the frosting flavor to your heart’s desire.
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Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour ((197 g))
- ¾ cup granulated sugar ((135 g))
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ((1g))
- 1 teaspoon baking powder ((4 g))
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda ((2 g))
- ¾ cup buttermilk ((170 g, room temperature))
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil ((67 g))
- 1 large egg ((room temperature))
- 1 large egg yolk ((room temperature))
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract ((13 g))
- 4 oz egg white ((115 g))
- ¾ cup granulated sugar ((135 g))
- ¾ teaspoon vinegar ((4 g))
- 10 oz unsalted butter ((283 g, room temperature, cubed))
- ½ teaspoon vanilla ((2 g))
- 4 oz dark chocolate ((115 g))
- 1 tablespoon dutch-processed cocoa powder ((7 g))
Make the cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix with a whisk to distribute evenly. Set aside.
- Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract to a medium bowl. Beat together with a whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredient mixture and fold until just combined.
- Use a large ice cream scoop to divide batter into the previously prepared muffin pan. One flat scoop of batter for each cupcake cavity, or about ¼ cup of batter each.
- Bake in the middle oven rack for 17 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to the touch, remove cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting
- Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water just until most is melted. Continue to stir as you take it off the heat until all the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Add egg white to the stand mixer bowl and beat with a wire whisk attachment on medium low speed until frothy.
- Increase speed to medium and slowly add sugar, one tablespoon at a time to allow it to incorporate into the egg white. Half way through adding the sugar, stream in the vinegar. Then continue to add the sugar until all gone.
- Increase speed to medium high speed and beat until stiff peak forms and the meringue is shiny and smooth.
- Reduce speed to medium low and slowly add the room temperature cubed butter, one cube at a time and allow it to incorporate into the meringue. When all the butter is added it will look chunky, like cottage cheese.
- Add vanilla and increase mixer to high speed and beat for 4-5 mins until buttercream is formed and smooth. Add the completely cooled melted chocolate and cocoa powder and beat until completely incorporated and fluffy.
Assemble the cupcakes
- Add a piping tip of your choice to a pastry bag, fill with the frosting and add frosting to the cooled cupcakes.
- Garnish with sprinkles if desired.
- If you are uncomfortable with making the frosting using raw egg whites, you could heat up the egg whites and sugar in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water until it reaches at least 160°F, make sure to keep stirring or whisking while heating the mixture. Then continue making the meringue for the frosting as directed.
Shop The Recipe Tools
- Stand Mixer
- Standard Size Muffin Pan
- Pastry Bags
- Open Star Piping Tip
- Kitchen Scale
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
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