Everyone needs a staple cupcake recipe in their kitchen! These divine vanilla cupcakes are moist and fluffy without needing an electric mixer.
There's two tricks here: using oil instead of butter, and whisking boiling water through the batter for a magically fluffy and moist result.
I have included my favourite vanilla buttercream recipe (heads up: the frosting does need an electric mixer) but you can also use your favourite home-made or store-bought frosting too.
For the Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 ¼ cup plain flour / all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup caster sugar / superfine sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup whole dairy milk
- 1 tbsp vinegar (any kind) OR lemon juice
- ½ cup canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla essence OR 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup boiling water
For the Vanilla Buttercream (large quantity, see notes)
- 250 g (9 oz / 1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups icing sugar / powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp vanilla essence OR 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-4 tbsp milk, as needed
For the Vanilla Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan-forced/convection) or 180°C / 355°F (standard). Line a 12-hole standard muffin tin with paper cases.
- Sift flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in caster sugar and salt until well combined.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk and vinegar. Stand for 5-10 minutes or until thick and curdled. Whisk in canola oil, eggs and vanilla until well combined.
- Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk together until well combined. Whisk in hot coffee/water. The batter will thin out.
- Distribute the batter evenly among the paper cases. Do not fill more than half-full. Overfilling the cases will cause the batter to spill over when baking. Depending on how you measured your ingredients, you may have enough batter for an extra 1-2 cupcakes.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of milk at a time, beating well in between, until the frosting is smooth and of piping consistency.
- For swirls: ensure cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting. Fit a piping tip with a star-tip nozzle. Fill the piping bag ¾ full with frosting and twist the top to secure. Pipe a small mound of icing in the centre of a cupcake. In one fluid motion, pipe a ring around the mound then continue to pipe in a circular motion towards the centre of the cupcake to create a hi-top swirl.
- You can store the frosted cupcakes unrefrigerated for up to 3 days (they will stay moist). They will last 4 days without frosting.
Substitutions & Tips
- Half quantity of vanilla buttercream frosting: the frosting recipe makes enough for large swirls on each cupcake. If you just want to spread a bit of frosting on the top of each cupcake instead of swirls, halve the frosting recipe as follows: Beat together 125 g (4.5 oz / ½ cup) of softened butter, 1 ½ cups of sifted icing sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla essence together until fluffy. Beat in up to 2 tbsp of whole dairy milk until pale and smooth.
- Measuring the cupcake batter: I use a ¼ cup measurement to scoop the batter. This will fill a standard paper case half full (take care as sizes differ).
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 Cupcake with Frosting
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 500Total Fat: 27.6gSaturated Fat: 11.7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5.6gCholesterol: 75.6mgSodium: 330.3mgCarbohydrates: 60.5gFiber: 0.4gSugar: 50gProtein: 3.4g