Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Buttermilk adds a subtle, pleasant tang to these luscious vanilla cupcakes, and also keeps them moist. 

how to make cupcakes

These vanilla cupcakes are a tried n’ true recipe from my cake baking days. It’s my go-to when I need to whip up a quick batch of vanilla birthday cupcakes. The buttermilk adds a subtle, pleasant tang and also keeps the cupcakes very moist.

If you’d like to make the recipe as a layer cake, it works beautifully: just divide the batter into two 9-inch cake pans (buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper). The recipe also works in a 9×13-in cake pan. The bake time for both is about 30 minutes.

What you’ll need to make vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

How to make The cupcakes

Begin by whisking the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then set aside.

whisking dry ingredients for vanilla cupcakes

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

creaming butter and sugar

Beat in the vanilla.

adding vanillaBeat in the eggs one at a time.

adding the eggs

Mix in a third of the flour.

Then mix in half of the buttermilk.

adding the buttermilkContinue alternating the dry ingredients and buttermilk, finishing with the flour.

vanilla cupcake batter

Spoon the batter into paper-lined muffin tins. They will be almost full.


Bake for 20-25 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and back to front midway through.


Let cool in the pan until just warm, then transfer to rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting.

How To Make The Cream Cheese Frosting

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl if using a hand mixer), combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt. Mix on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until aerated and light, about 2 minutes.

mixing butter and cream cheese for frostingGradually add the confectioners’ sugar, mixing on low to combine.

adding sugar to cream cheese frostingOnce all of the sugar is mixed in, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

cream cheese frosting in mixing bowl

When the cupcakes are cool, use a butter knife or small offset spatula to swirl the frosting lavishly over top. The cupcakes are best enjoyed fresh on the day that they are baked.


Note: The cake portion of the recipe is adapted from Nick Malgieri’s Perfect Cakes. I’ve mentioned this book before — it’s wonderful and full of reliable, delicious recipes.  

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Buttermilk adds a subtle, pleasant tang to these luscious vanilla cupcakes, and also keeps them moist. 

Servings: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes, plus time to cool the cupcakes


For the Cupcakes

  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the Frosting

  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 cups (1 lb) confectioners' sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. Grease the top of the muffin pans with butter so the cupcake tops don't stick.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  4. Reduce the speed to low, then beat in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add another third of the flour, followed by the remaining buttermilk. Beat in the remaining flour, then scrape down the bowl and beat again until the batter is just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling almost to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and back to front midway through. Remove from the oven when the cupcakes are set, lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean (note that one pan may finish cooking before the other). Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl if using a hand mixer), combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt. Mix on low speed until combined, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until aerated and light, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 2 cups of the confectioners' sugar; mix on low to combine. Mix in the remaining sugar in two additions, keeping the speed on low. Once all of the sugar is mixed in, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  2. When the cupcakes are cool, use a butter knife or small offset spatula to swirl the frosting lavishly over top. The cupcakes are best enjoyed fresh on the day that they are baked. To keep them longer, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature before serving.
  3. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cupcakes can be frozen without the frosting for up to 3 months. Let them cool completely, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, and then in foil. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving. (Wait until the cupcakes are defrosted to ice them.)

Nutrition Information

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  • Serving size: 1 cupcake
  • Calories: 379
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49 g
  • Sugar: 37 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 155 mg
  • Cholesterol: 83 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made these and they were great fresh… But I put them in the fridge to store them, and they went rock hard.

    • — Katrina on October 14, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Katrina, Did you store them in an airtight container? If so, once you bring them back to room temperature, they should soften up.

      • — Jenn on October 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    I really enjoy your website and trying new recipes. I want to try your Vanilla Cupcake recipe but make a cake for my son’s birthday. I don’t have two 9″ baking pans and would like to make this in a Bundt pan. Would that work and what would the baking time and oven temp be?

    Thank you!

    • — Joanne on August 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Joanne, Glad you like the recipes! I wouldn’t recommend this recipe in a bundt pan as I’m concerned it would stick. While it’s a tiny bit different, I’d recommend this one instead (it’s delicious)!

      • — Jenn on August 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • Does it make 24 cupcakes in jumbo muffin tins or regular sized tins?

    • — Mia on August 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Regular-sized tins. 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 16, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi, I made this as a layer cake with nutella frosting for my birthday and it was amazing! Thank you! Is it possible to half the recipe to get half the amount of cupcakes?



        • — Linda on October 8, 2020
        • Reply
        • Glad you enjoyed it (and happy birthday)! Yes, it would be fine to halve the recipe/number of cupcakes. 🙂

          • — Jenn on October 9, 2020
          • Reply
  • Hi! These look amazing and I can’t wait to try them out. One question: Can I use vanilla bean instead of extract? I was hoping to make these a little extra fancier for a close friend, but I wasn’t sure if it would change or make the flavor of the cupcakes strange.

    • — Madelyn on August 8, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Madelyn, I haven’t made these with vanilla bean but I think it should work. Hope your friend enjoys!

      • — Jenn on August 8, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this in two 9 inch cake pans, as the recipe proposed. The cake was WONDERFUL (5 stars!) but the frosting was way too sweet (2 stars). I appreciated the alternative cake pan instructions will make the cake again, but look for a different vanilla frosting.

    • — Bridget on August 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • Thank you so much! These were a hit! Honestly, they taste so much like sugar cookies… and I love sugar cookies!
    I made 3 different frostings with them. Whipped cream, buttercream and cream cheese. I’ve made them and taken them to the hospital staff and they were gone within 30 min!
    I’ve tried other cupcake recipes and this is by far the best, got comments on how moist they are! Thanks again.

    • — Jess on May 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • I baked these cupcakes with my siblings and they turned out perfectly! Thank you so much for the recipe. I loved it!

    • — Mehma on May 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hello,
    If you have them, could you please give me the Nutrition facts on these cupcakes. My granddaughter is diabetic and i need the carb count.

    Thanks so much!

    • — jeannette haengel on May 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeannette, I just added the nutritional info. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can I add chocolate chips to the recipe, and if so how many? I was thinking that if they were mixed in the flour first they wouldn’t sink to the bottom. Would love to hear what you think.

    • — Li on May 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Li, yes, you can add 1/2 – 1 cup of chocolate chips to the recipe. I’d toss them in a tiny bit of flour and fold them into the batter at the end. And I’d suggest mini chips as due to their lighter weight, they are less likely to sink. Please LMK how they turn out if you make them!

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi there! Your recipes are fabulous. My son really wants a vanilla Costco sheet cake for his birthday next week and I am going to attempt to make this cake for him. Do you recommend I use this recipe with vanilla frosting or the vanilla birthday cake recipe? Just trying to mock a sheet cake with vanilla/vanilla flavor. Thanks so much!

    • — Mimi on April 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Mimi, So glad you like the recipes! I think I’d probably go with this recipe for a sheet cake. Happy early birthday to your son! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 20, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks so much Jenn! I will use this recipe. Question about the frosting- wanted to make it less of a cream cheese flavor and more vanilla. Would you suggest I use less cream cheese and add an extra tsp of vanilla or more powdered sugar? I can play around with it for flavor, but a good base point will help!

        • — Mimi on April 20, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Mimi, Based on what you’re describing, you may want to use the frosting from the Vanilla Birthday Cake. Hope that helps!

          • — Jenn on April 20, 2020
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn👋
    Can i use milk instead of buttermilk?
    because we don’t have buttermilk where i’m from.

    • — Hasti on April 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Hasti, You really need buttermilk for this, but if you don’t have access to it, you can easily make your own. See how here. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 16, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thank you

        • — Hasti on April 17, 2020
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Recently made your banana nut muffins but substituted nuts for choc chip and they were amazing.
    Now, I’d like to try these cupcakes but need some help;
    1) is confectioners sugar the same as icing sugar?
    2) as we don’t have buttermilk where I’m from, I’ve read some suggestions to use sour cream and thin it out; how much milk would need to be added to the sour cream? I have no idea what buttermilk consistency should be. Would it alter the taste/texture?

    • — Ash on April 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Ash, Glad you liked the muffins! In answer to your questions:
      1. Yes, confectioners’ sugar and icing sugar are the same thing.
      2. To substitute sour cream for buttermilk, combine 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk plus enough sour cream to equal 1 cup and whisk to combine. You can also make your own buttermilk. See how here.
      Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • Jenn can I make a cake from this recipe instead of cupcakes? My mom’s 83 birthday is tomorrow and I think she would love this.

    • — Cathy Busick on March 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • Definitely. Just divide the batter into two 9-inch cake pans (buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper). Bake time will be about 30 minutes. Happy birthday to your mom!

      • — Jenn on March 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made these cupcakes once before and they were divine, so I decided to use the recipe to make my son’s first birthday cake. I had never made a cake from scratch before. It was easy and turned out so well. He loved it, especially the frosting!

    • — Ann on March 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • When I combined my ingredients it looked as if it was curdled. I did add some more flour and it tasted like really great cornbread

    • — Mo on March 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Mo, would you say the flavor or texture was more like cornbread? If it was the texture, these cupcakes are a little more on the dense side and if you added more flour, that would’ve made them more dense.

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2020
      • Reply
      • So should it look curled??
        It wasn’t thick like your pictures,
        Do you weigh your ingredients??
        but I will try again

        • — Mo on March 17, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Mo, Some batters do look a bit curdled as your mixing them, but I haven’t found that to be the case with this one. While I do provide weights/metric conversions for my recipes, I generally prepare my recipes using measuring cups (but I definitely recommend weighing ingredients if that’s what you typically do – it’s definitely more precise). I hope you have better luck next time around!

          • — Jenn on March 18, 2020
          • Reply
          • This was my first time making this recipe and I also noted the curdling effect. I always weigh my ingredients (flour, sugar), and did not overbeat at any step. I did make my own “buttermilk” using lemon juice and whole milk. Making a cake of this and it is in the oven as I type..I expect it will be fabulous, as are all the recipes on this site. Am not expecting a little curdling to make a difference.

            • — Dawn on May 31, 2020
  • hi there. this looks amazing. what if we only want to make 12? just cut it in half?

    thank you!!!

    • — annie bernstein on February 7, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yup!

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2020
      • Reply
      • what would you use on the flour amount? thank you so much!!! cant wait to try

        • — annie bernstein on February 7, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Annie, I just did a little math and it sounds like you’ll need 1 and 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp.

          • — Jenn on February 7, 2020
          • Reply
          • thank you!!!

            • — annie bernstein on February 7, 2020
  • I do not like the texture of the cupcakes- very heavy/dense.

    • — CocoTX on January 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I made this cake recipe and it was delicious! The only difficulty I am having is with the frosting. I’m in Tanzania and I cannot find cream cheese. Is there another name for cream cheese (I googled to see if there was but was still unsure). Is paneer similar, or the same? I have seen this available but am not sure if it is indeed cream cheese and/or if this would be a good substitute. Cheese is really expensive here so I wanted check. Any advice would be appreciated!

    • — Jama on January 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jama, I don’t know of another name but mascarpone cheese would also work. If you can’t find that, just replace the cream cheese with more butter. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I love all your recipes and I would like to try this one for a friend’s birthday, can you advise if I could add sprinkles to make them funfetti cupcakes and if I could replace the butter milk with sour cream instead? Thanks so much and looking forward to hearing back from you!

    • — Trish on January 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Trish, so glad you like the recipes! Yes, I think you can add sprinkles to the batter and replace the buttermilk with sour cream. You’ll just need to thin the buttermilk out with a little bit of milk to get it to the right texture. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thanks for your quick response! How much sprinkles would you recommend I add to the batter? I am looking forward to trying this recipe!

        • — Trish on January 14, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Trish, I suggested about 1/2 cup. 🙂

          • — Jenn on January 15, 2020
          • Reply
          • Hi Jenn, just wanted to let you know, I replaced the buttermilk with sour cream and added sprinkles to the recipe, it turned out super delicious so much so, I made it twice! Thanks so much again for your recipes, they are the BEST! (this will be my go to birthday funfetti cupcakes!!)

            • — Trish on January 23, 2020
          • Hi Jenn! I would like to bake these for a friend who is allergic to eggs but is it possible to remove the eggs or an egg replacement suggestion? I have heard you can sub eggs out for baking soda/vinegar or yogurt or bananas, would any of these work in the recipe? Thanks so much!!

            • — Trish on March 3, 2020
          • Hi Trish, A number of readers that avoid eggs have mentioned that they use flax eggs when baking. I would assume many baking recipes would also work with some kind of egg substitute. Hope that helps and that your friend enjoys!

            • — Jenn on March 3, 2020
  • Jenn – You are my idol! I don’t think that there is ONE recipe of yours that I have tried that has been nothing less than stellar! I made these gluten free and they’re amazing. Love Love Love!!!! Thank you for all the hard work you do to make this blog as amazing as it is!

    • — Lilli S. on January 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • You’re so welcome!! 💗

      • — Jenn on January 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Love your recipes. Everything I’ve made from this site has been delicious. I want to make these but don’t have any buttermilk. I’ve read that you can make your own by adding a tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks so much 🙂

    • — Denise on January 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yes, Denise, it’s perfectly fine to make your own buttermilk. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • Delicious cupcakes, especially the frosting!

    One comment: I will try using foil liners next time – I bought really cute printed paper liners (the cupcakes were for my friend’s birthday), but the amount of butter in the batter soaked through the paper and just about obliterated the nice printed design!!

    • — Nancy Monroe Clifford on September 17, 2019
    • Reply
  • I made this as a single layer cake, and it turned out so fluffy and light! The flavor was also very light and the cream cheese icing went perfect with it. Highly recommend.

    • — Anna on August 25, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi – do you use granulated white sugar, or caster sugar? thanks

    • — Alex on July 23, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Alex, the cupcakes call for granulated white sugar and the frosting confectioners’ sugar. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 23, 2019
      • Reply
  • As expected these cupcakes are another winner from Chef Jen. The cupcakes and frosting are delicious. I made the cupcakes gluten free by substituting an all purpose gluten free flour mix for the flour and they turned out perfectly.

    • — Kathy M on July 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I’m torn between this receipe and your “vanilla bday” cake. I need to make a vanilla bday cake for my niece… and I was going to use the later receipe however after tasting these cupcakes…I really like the taste of these. What effect does buttermilk have and using full eggs instead of egg whites… these seem to be the main diff btw the two? Which receipe do you think i should I use to make the cake?

    • — Priya on May 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Priya, You can really go either way depending on your preference. This one with whole eggs makes a richer, moister cake that keeps a bit longer, if that helps. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this as a layer cake and used the frosting from your “Chocolate Lover’s Birthday Cake” recipe in your cookbook. Wow! The perfect combination of yellow cake and chocolate frosting if there ever was one. Divine. The cake was perfectly moist with a nice crumb and slight tang which balanced out the rich, creamy fudge-like frosting. Upon seeing a picture of the finished product, I was asked to make the same for an upcoming birthday party. I can’t wait. Thanks so much, Jenn for another outstanding addition to my collection. I’ve tried a lot of yellow cake recipes and finally this one really delivers the moistness I was always looking for. Thanks Again!

    • — Diane on April 13, 2019
    • Reply
  • I have a quick question! If i wanted to make these into mini cupcakes for my nephews birthday party would anything change? For example baking time or anything like that?

    • — Jodi on April 8, 2019
    • Reply
    • The only thing that would change is the baking time; I’d start checking them at about 10 minutes. Hope your nephew enjoys!

      • — Jenn on April 8, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi jenn
    Can i add color to the cream cheese frosting?

    • — Fanny on April 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Fanny, I think using a bit of food coloring would work here. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 3, 2019
      • Reply
  • How long does buttermilk cup cake keep for

    • — Lou on March 21, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lou, if stored in an airtight container in the fridge, they should keep nicely for 2 to 3 days.

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2019
      • Reply
  • A different review….
    This is a quick and easy recipe to put together with good results and it makes plenty of cupcakes. Five of us ate them for dessert the day they were baked, and we thought they were fine, but we were not as enthusiastic as many of the other reviewers. I made a similar frosting which we all liked. We divided up the remaining ones and truthfully, we forgot about them. So 2 days later, I was ready to throw them out, but decided to taste another one. Oh my goodness! The flavor went through and they were really good. So I called my daughter and told her to taste hers, and she agreed wholeheartedly, even though they were now an extra day older. Plus, both of us left them on the counter rather than refrigerate them (which I certainly wouldn’t do in warm weather). So my review is really to share my experience with holding them for more than 2 days. While I know many people wouldn’t want to keep them, I know that I could make them a few days in advance and be happy to serve them (probably wouldn’t frost till day of serving, but maybe the frosting kept them fresh and moist). Thanks, Jenn, for sharing your recipes. I really enjoy your site and the recipes I have made.

    • — Bea on March 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, my son wants cookies and cream cupcakes for his birthday so I was thinking of adding chopped Oreos to this recipe and/or maybe placing an Oreo at the bottom of the cupcake. Would this change the baking time? Thanks!

    • — Renee on February 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Renee, I think it would work with no adjustments necessary to the baking time. Please LMK how they turn out this way!

      • — Jenn on February 20, 2019
      • Reply
  • Amazingly light and moist. Got rave reviews! I was even told I had to make someone’s wedding cake after eating these!

    • — Wendy on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • I love these! Definitely a keeper. Thanks.

    • — Marnie on December 10, 2018
    • Reply
  • I was thrilled to find this recipe is easy, fast and so delicious. I made one batch as indicated and added shredded coconut to the icing in the second batch. Excellent!

    • — Nikki on November 29, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made these cupcakes last night and they are my new go to recipe for cupcakes! I love to bake, so I have a question for you. Is it worth it to buy really expensive vanilla? I have just been using Durkee from the grocery store. I bake so often that I go though vanilla quickly, which is why it is hard for me to justify the expensive stuff.

    If you do think it is worth it, maybe for special recipes, what kind of hi end vanilla do you recommend?


    • — Liza on November 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Liza, Vanilla extract has gotten so expensive. I don’t think it’s worth it to buy a pricey brand – just be sure to buy pure vanilla rather than imitation. McCormick Pure Vanilla is a good choice.

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2018
      • Reply
      • Great! Thanks so much for the advice! Will switch to McCormick 🙂

        • — Liza on November 12, 2018
        • Reply
  • I wanted to do a 9X13 double layer cake. Do you think that would still be okay? Has anyone tried this? If so, what do you recommend for cooking time?

    I haven’t found another recipe with such great reviews and would love to make this!

    • — Margaret on November 2, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Margaret, Sure you could bake this in two 9 x 13-inch baking dishes, but you’d need to double the recipe. The baking time may be a little longer- I’d start checking for doneness at about 35 minutes. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on November 2, 2018
      • Reply
  • It was my second time making cupcakes, but my first time making vanilla ones. I was doing it for a trial run for my daughter’s birthday party. My husband loves them. I reduced the recipes in half and it turned out fantastic regardless. So I am definitely using this recipe for the birthday and other future events. My husband found the icing perfect. But I found it a bit sweet as I can’t handle too much sweet. Is it possible to reduce the icing sugar to four cups instead of six? Or would that affect the texture of the icing?

    • Sure, you could reduce the sugar – it will change the texture of the frosting a bit, but it should still work. I’d try it with 4 coups like you suggested and if the frosting is too thin, you can add a little more sugar, bit by bit, until it reaches a spreadable texture. Hope that helps!

  • Very simple but delicious. Tried with whipped cream frosting and topped with berries. They were amazing! Thank you so much for this recipe.

  • I love this recipe! Do you think it would work for a large birthday cake (a number
    One cake tin)? Thank you!

    • Great Question, Louise! I’ve never baked anything in a tin like that – I suspect it should work, but just make sure to thoroughly grease the baking pan before putting the batter in. I’d hate for it to stick. I’d love to hear how it turns out! 🙂

      • The cake was absolutely divine. I googled another recipe for cream cheese frosting that could be piped
        And the results were just amazing. I can’t seem to post a photo though. I have never really found that there are many cupcakes that taste as good as they look but this cake had been perfect as cupcakes, a layer cake and for a huge cake tin. It’s my new go-to recipe. Thank you!

        • So glad they turned out well!

  • I’m eager to try your recipe after seeing all the positive reviews. Will the cake turn out well with less sugar? Will 300gm sugar be too little? I’m not allowed too much sugar for health reasons, but I just can’t resist a good buttery cupcake.

    • Hi Mei, I think you’d be fine reducing the sugar to 300 g, but I wouldn’t reduce it any more than that. Please lmk how they turn out!

      • Hi Jenn, the reduced sugar cupcakes turned out well – still buttery and moist, and rose nicely. Thank you!

  • Made these a bunch of times and they are to die for .. best cupcakes EVER .. every time I’ve made them everyone was asking for the recipe ..thank you so much for sharing !!

    • Just made these cupcakes for my daughter and nephew’s birthday and they were a hit. So delicious and easy to make!

      Jenn, thanks for another great recipe! 😀

      • — Danice on August 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • How do you think the buttermilk cupcakes would turn out with the chocolate frosting from your chocolate cupcake/frosting recipe?

    • I think they’d be delish! 🙂

  • How long would you recommend baking these as mini cupcakes?

    • Hi Amanda, I’d recommend checking them starting at 10 minutes. Enjoy!

  • Hi, is it ok to just cut the ingredients in half to make 12 cupcakes or will it alter the outcome of the cupcakes? Thanks!

    • Sure, Kristy – that’ll be fine.

  • Hello, Im planing to make 3 dozen of cupcakes for my kids party. My younger one asked for pink frosting. Instead of adding food coloring can i add strawberries to this frosting? Thank you.

    • Hi Dorota, In order to achieve a pink hue, you’d need to puree the strawberries and add them to the rest of the icing ingredients. Because you’re adding that, you may need to play with the amounts of the other ingredients in order to achieve the right texture. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • Do these cupcakes freeze well?

    • Hi Louise, yes, these freeze nicely, but wait until you’ve thawed them to frost. Hope you enjoy!

  • The cupcakes taste wonderful. I am surprised that they are dense and heavy because the batter was so very light

  • Can I add a color to the frosting and is the frosting good to use with decorating tips

    • Hi Robin, Yes on the color but, unfortunately, this is not a great frosting to use with tips — it’s a bit too soft.

  • I’ve tried so many of your recipes. It’s like you can’t fail! This was so easy to make. I made it for my neighbors as a thank you a few days ago. Everyone is asking for the recipe. Thanks for making me a neighborhood sensation. 🙂

  • Your recipe sounds delicious! I need to make some chocolate cupcakes too. Do you have a chocolate buttermilk cupcake recipe?

  • Hi! Love your site! I want to try this but where I live they don’t sell vanilla extract at all, only vanilla essence (I’ve looked everywhere, believe me when I say they just don’t sell it). So I was wondering if I have to change the amount to get the right flavor but I worry it will affect the texture?? HELP! lol

    • Hi Laura, so glad you like the site! You could use vanilla essence in place of extract, but because it’s less potent, you’ll need double the amount. Some other options are maple syrup (and the ratios are the same as vanilla extract) or vanilla beans (the ratio for beans is 1 vanilla bean = 1 teaspoon extract). Hope that helps!

  • Hi Jenn
    Can I add corn syrup light to keep bright white) For cream cheese?if yes how much?
    Thanks again for help!

    • Hi Fanny, It’s the butter and vanilla that make the frosting off-white in color — unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid that with this recipe.

  • Fabulous- just finished making these for my twin 17 year olds’ birthdays.

    A gigantic hit…I tasted just the **tiniest** bit of frosting ( following a ketogenic diet, very low carb ) and it was creamy and delish! The boys loved the springy texture and flavor of the cakes. It was quite an easy recipe as well, so extra thanks to you!

  • Would love to make for a group but don’t have fridge space to store them overnight, etc. If I use a buttercream frosting instead, might they still taste good/optimal if made a day or two ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temp? No worries if so, just appreciate your honesty, as always, Jenn.

    • Hi Diane, One day ahead would be best (and fine to store at room temp), but these keep pretty well and will still taste good after two.

      • Great news! THANKS! Question: Does Cream Cheese Frosting always need to be refrigerated? Or does it depend on the ratio used in the recipe? Your recipe sounds fantastic but my fridge space is small.

        • Technically these should be refrigerated because of the icing, but I have left mine on the calendar and they’re fine.

          • So helpful! Thanks Again!

            • — Diane
  • I made this recipe for my son’s 1st birthday and they were delicious. I don’t even like cake, but I do have a weakness for cream cheese icing. I made a very small alteration by using 1/2 the amount of vanilla extract and then substituting an extract called Fiori di Sicilia I get from King Arthur Flour for the other half. That extract kind of smells like a creamsicle…sort of a mix of citrus and vanilla. I use it in my pizzelles and it turned out wonderful in this recipe as well. Kind of my way of making it my own. 🙂

  • I have 4 kids
    My eldest just started school and we live in Countey Australia!

    He gets cranky if I forget to put baked goodies in his lunch box!!

    I have been searching and manipulating recipes for the best part of 10 years and the one that has always got away from me is the simple vanilla cupcake!

    Thank you! I have finally found it! FINALLY!!!
    this is the most delicious thing I have ever eaten and I will probably still get in trouble for having no goodies for him!! 🙂

    I made it with home made butter and buttermilk as we live on a dairy farm… so why not!!!

    Thank you again so much!!!

    • So glad you feel you’ve finally hit the mark with this one! Hope you (and your kids!) enjoy. 🙂

  • If I just want to make 12 cupcakes, do I divide the ingredient measurements in half?

  • Excellent recipe! I made cupcakes with this recipe for my son’s class party and will be using this recipe again and again. The cupcakes baked up perfectly (although I think I over cooked them slightly). Darn, I have to bake a few more batches to get them just right! 😉

    Thank you for another fabulous recipe, Jenn!

  • Would this recipe work with two 13x9in pans? I want to make a double layer sheet cake for a party

    • Hi Gretchen, It will work but you might want to increase the recipe by 1.5. I’d love to know how it turns out!

  • First of all, this recipe is incredible as both layer cake and cupcakes. Someone asked about piping–I successfully piped the frosting for cupcakes and it looked great. The key was to make the frosting and fill the piping bags, then chill, bring back to cool room temp, and pipe before it got too warm. I frosted them generously but still only used about 60% of it. Extra cream cheese frosting in a piping bag is a dangerous thing to have around…

    I’m planning a birthday party and need to serve about 36 people. I would like to 1.5x the recipe and bake it in two 9×13 pans to make a double layer sheet cake. Do you think this would work and, if so, how long would you recommend baking it?

    • Hi Erika, I do think it’d work but it’s hard to say on the cook time as I’ve never tried it. My guess is 35-40 minutes. Hope that helps, and please lmk how it turns out.

      • Thanks, I will!

  • I made the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for my husband to take to work as a thank you for all the help he received on a project and they turned out great. Thank you for the recipes!

  • Hi- love your recipes. I am making a 4 layer cake using 9 inch pans. Can i double this recipe or should I make 2 batches? Thanks. About how high will a layer be using 9 inch pan?

    • Hi Chithra,

      I think you could safely double it. A 9-inch pan will make a 1.5-inch high cake. Would love to see a photo when it’s done!

  • Just made these they are amazing. Thank You for sharing….

  • Hi, does 2-3/4 cups mean 2 cups and 3/4 of a cup? As in almost 3 cups? Thanks 🙂

    • Correct– hope you enjoy!

  • Do you have a chocolate cream cheese recipe?
    The cupcake reviews are FABULOUS. I will be baking the cupcakes next Sat for my son-in-law’s 43rd birthday party.
    #goddessbuzz Tampa Bay

    • — Richardene #goddessbuzz
    • Reply
    • Hi, Are you referring to chocolate frosting?

      • Yes, do you have a recipe for chocolate creme cheese frosting? Thank you

        • Hi Richardene, I don’t have one that contains cream cheese. Feel free to take a peek at this one though to see if it appeals to you.

  • I made these cupcakes (as 48 mini cupcakes) and they were a perfectly light and tasty birthday treat for a 7yr old’s party. I followed the directions almost exactly and found it was so easy to make – and also there wasn’t too much to wash in terms of utensils/bowls which was a nice plus.
    I used whole wheat flour (to try and convince myself it was healthier that way) and it turned out fine.
    The icing was a good workout as I mixed it by hand and the cream cheese was a little hard to manipulate….but perseverance paid off and it became light and fluffy….and delicious! I found I could have easily halved the ingredients to ice all 48 mini cupcakes.
    Thank you for another great recipe!

  • HI i have another question.
    Can i use 4 medium eggs instead of 4 large or do i use more medium eggs.
    Thanks once again

    • Medium eggs should be fine– no need to use an additional egg.

  • Hi, God, I’m such a fan of your recipes. By far all have been fabulous.I had a few a questions, it would be great if you would help.
    1. Can I substitute the butter with oil?
    2. Can I enjoy these darlings without the icing?
    3. I have fresh pineapple at home can i add it into the cake mix and bake it, do you think i need to alter anything?
    4. Can I reduce the sugar, as i don’t like very sweet cakes?
    Thanks a ton.

    • Hi DV, I’m glad you like the recipes and am happy to help! I’ve answered your questions in the order you asked: 1. No- you won’t achieve the right texture with oil. 2. Yes! 3. Yes- just make sure to drain any juice from it and, because it will add some liquid to the mix, reduce the buttermilk by 1/4 cup. 4. Yes, you could reduce the sugar by up to 1/2 cup. (Keep in mind that sugar does help keep the cake moist.) Hope that helps!

      • Thank you for your reply

  • Can cake flour be used instead of all purpose flour?

    • Hi Krystal, I would stick with the all-purpose flour here– sorry!

  • This is an awesome recipe, thank you!!

  • About high altitude baking. I live at 7000 feet in Park City, UT. As a former Californian I had to re-learn baking at this altitude. 🙂 I did make slight changes to the recipe: I didn’t change the baking soda amount, but did reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup (you won’t notice) plenty sweet. I also changed the temperature to 375 degrees, it helps set the batter faster, but I reduced the baking time by 5 minutes. Check your oven, they often differ. Mine came out great. Hope this helps.

  • These cupcakes were delicious and the instructions were super easy and straightforward. no one could believe i made them from scratch! i cant wait to make them again

  • Hi,
    Is the cream cheese frosting sturdy enough to pipe out and hold its shape?

    • Hi Reva, I don’t recommend this recipe for piping. Sorry!

  • My daughter is requesting yellow cake with chocolate frosting for her birthday. I’ve been searching and reviewing recipes online but know I can rely on your recipes. Loved your vanilla birthday cake. Is your buttermilk cake a “yellow” cake? And have you ever made it with chocolate frosting?

    • Hi Molly, the cake is a pale yellow. Does that count? 🙂 And you can definitely use chocolate frosting here if you prefer. Happy birthday to your daughter!

  • What are your suggestions for high altitude adjustments?

    • Hi Jenny, I don’t have any experience baking at high altitudes, but these tips should be helpful. Hope you enjoy the cupcakes!

  • Hi – My daughter and I made these cupcakes and loved them. Can we use these same buttermilk cupcake ingredients and make a cake?

    • Definitely– this works beautifully as a layer cake– just divide the batter into two 9-inch cake pans (buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper) and bake for 30-35 minutes.

  • This recipe is the perfect example of why you should learn to bake using a scale instead of measuring by cups. So you want to half this recipe? Quick, whats half of 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour? But it’s simple to half 340 grams. Life would be so much simpler if more sites presented recipes like Jenn does!

  • I baked these cupcakes for the very first time last night and they were delicious!
    The only thing I did different was combine all the dry ingredients together, then I added the butter until it was a sand like texture, then I added my wet ingredients. Either way it’s a great recipe and a great base for any cupcake?
    “Happy Baking”!

  • Have just made these cupcakes will they keep uniced in an airtight tin for 2 days? They seem alright but contain a lot of sugar was 400grammes correct?

    • — Christine Shawcroft
    • Reply
    • Hi Christine, Yes, they should keep fine and 400 g is correct. Hope you enjoy them!

  • This looks amazing and am going to make them this weekend for a baby shower! Would it work to substitute lemon juice instead of vanilla for the icing? And filling the cupcakes with a bit of lemon curd? Or would these flavors not work well together? I’m a novice 🙂

    • Yes Mollie, both the lemon juice and the lemon curd should work– hope you enjoy!

  • Hello Jenn,
    I will be making my daughter’s first birthday cake this week-end and have decided to use your vanilla buttermilk cupcake recipe which sounds great. I will be making it x1.5 and using three 9″ pans and adding food coloring for a pink and orange cake 🙂 I noticed there is no baking powder in your ingredients and I am used to always seeing that ingredient in cake recipes so I wanted to check with you before I make a cake fail…! Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Arianna, Sounds like it will be a pretty cake! This recipe doesn’t require baking powder because it contains buttermilk which helps with the leavening. Happy 1st birthday to your daughter!

  • Jenn,

    Do you think I could halve this recipe? All of the ingredients would seem to divide well except the flour — any thoughts on that? Thank you!!

    • Sure, this could be halved. For the flour you would need 1 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Hope that helps!

  • Can a 2 layer cake be made with this recipe?

    • Definitely– Just divide the batter into two 9-inch cake pans (buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper) and bake for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!

  • Hi,

    Will be making these cupcakes for a friend’s birthday tomorrow. However i will be using a 6 muffin pan and baking in batches. Do we need to refrigerate the batter between the batches?
    Please let me know


    • Hi Sri, If you’re making the batches back-to-back without much lag time in between, you don’t need to refrigerate the batter.

      • Thanks for the awesome recipe.Made a princess pullapart cupcake cake with these cupcakes and they were a hit!
        This recipe sure is a keeper. Thanks once again!

  • What is the substitute for liquid buttermilk? The only available ingredient in my place is powdered buttermilk. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Sunshine, you can make your own buttermilk: Just add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice or white vinegar to regular milk and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • These cupcakes are amazing! I baked 3 batches for my elementary club kids for our party tomorrow. Can’t wait to surprise them with these yummy treats. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  • These cupcakes are excellent! Moist, flavorful and light. I diced up some strawberries and added to the batter before baking for some strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They were out of this world amazing.

  • I made this but used lemon instead of vanilla flavoring and was very pleased with the results. Very moist cupcake and lovely frosting. Pinning it as my main cupcake base recipe to change it up and get creative.

  • These cupcakes were amazing!!

  • Absolutely hit it outta the park!! These were a huge hit in my house.
    I served this w/ chocolate cream cheese frosting. Thanks again for another AMAZING recipe 🙂

  • Can I use milk instead of buttermilk? Will it affect the outcome?

    • Hi Diana, Unfortunately, the cake won’t rise without the buttermilk. If you don’t have any, you could always make your own by adding lemon juice or vinegar to the milk. Here’s how.

      • Thanks Jen!

        I made the recipe exactly as you wrote it for my son’s first birthday. Everyone loved them!

        A few notes. I ended up with 20 cupcakes instead of 24. I also halved the amount of frosting and still had enough frosting for another batch of cupcakes. I also sprinkled coconut flakes on top of each cupcake.

        • Thanks for the feedback, Diana. So glad everyone enjoyed them!

  • Hi!
    can I use cake flour instead?
    Great site thanks! ,

    • I wouldn’t use cake flour with this recipe. Sorry!

  • These were absolutely delicious, made exactly as Jenn wrote.

    • Glad you enjoyed them, Sara!

  • Hello – I made your Lemon Buttermilk Pound cake all summer (at least 4-5 times!) and it was spectacular.

    I need a yellow/vanilla/butter cake recipe for my son’s 2nd birthday party so I came to your site since the lemon buttermilk pound cake worked so well for me. I notice an earlier commenter mentioned a vanilla birthday cake. I don’t think I saw that on your website. Please advise. Thanks!

  • Hi Jenn! Do you think these would work well as “mini cupcakes”? If so, how long do you think I should bake them for? Thanks so much!

    • Yes Natalia, I think you could make mini versions of these. I’d start checking them for doneness after about 10 minutes.

  • I have used this recipe twice as the yellow cake for a traditional Doberge Cake. It was absolutely delicious both times! The vanilla birthday cake is great too. I’ve always had trouble keeping my cakes moist, but I haven’t had problems with these recipes.

  • These cupcakes are good, and easy to make! One thing, is that they are a bit heavy with the butter. Not really a fan of the taste of butter, and I could taste it in the cupcake a little bit.

  • Hello, What is the best way to freeze these cupcakes? I need to bake ahead for a large party. Thanks.

    • Hi Lynne, I would let the cupcakes cool completely, then wrap them (individually) in plastic wrap, then in foil. The frosting doesn’t freeze well, so definitely wait until they are defrosted to ice them.

  • I made this for my son’s 3rd birthday last week. Added a few sprinkles on top of the icing for color. I made them the night before so I had to refrigerate them overnight. Took them out to get to room temp about 2 hours before serving.
    Everyone loved them. Very yummy and moist. Thanks for another great recipe Jenn!

  • Hello, I’m wanting to make this cake for my son’s second birthday but we live in a very hot country so I tend to make my icing with crisco so it doesn’t melt. Am I able to substitute crisco for butter?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Samantha, Yes, that’s fine — or you might try substituting just part of the butter with Crisco so you get a little butter flavor.

  • I don’t bake and usually buy cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday…but this year she wanted to bake them from scratch. We made these and they were so delicious and easy! You might just make a baker out of me 🙂

  • Charming and delicious, just a note; my mom taught me to ‘make’ buttermilk out of whole milk and lemon juice. It works fine with this recipe.

  • I don’t have mixer, can I make this with wooden spoon and Ballon whisk?

    • Hi Mala, Your arm might get sore but yes 🙂

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