Very Vanilla Cupcakes

by Amy Bradley

Welcome to part 2 of our sweet blog series – what you’ve been waiting for – cupcakes! Not just any cupcakes. The most fluffy and moist vanilla cupcakes.

There are a few things in this recipe that aid in achieving fluffy and moist texture. First, cake flour – it contains less protein than all-purpose flour, which creates a tender and light crumb for your cakes. Next, I used a little vegetable oil in place of butter. This adds more moisture to the cake than you get with all-butter. If you prefer a denser cake, you could use all butter instead.

Since we are using oil, we have to use a little extra sugar and vanilla to ensure they taste nice and sweet. If you do not add enough flavor, your cupcake will taste too oily. The sour cream and whole milk add richer flavor for the cake, as well as add moisture. It’s important to use full fat sour cream and milk to ensure the best flavor and texture for your batter. Low or no fat may make the batter too runny.

Last but not least, to create the light and airy texture (think Angel’s food cake), whip your egg whites. Once they are nice and foamy with soft peaks, simply fold them very gently into your batter. The whipped whites add air pockets in the batter so it is incredibly light and tender.

I think this recipe will translate perfectly for a whole cake and I cannot wait to try it out. In the meantime, I’ll just have to eat all these little clouds of vanilla goodness.

By the way, in case you are wondering how I decorated the cupcakes pictured… stay tuned for the final part of this sweet blog series!

Very Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Yield: 18 cupcakes



  • 1 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp cake flour, scooped and leveled
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (1/3 batch):

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 to 4 cups of confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp to 1 tbsp plus 1 1/4 tsp whole milk
  • Pinch of salt, to taste (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans (you will need about 18 cupcake liners).
  2. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  4. Add the vegetable oil, vanilla and sour cream in the stand mixer and combine until smooth.
  5. Pour in about half of the dry mixture. Stir on low speed. Add in about half of the milk while continuing to stir. Once just combined, repeat for the other half of the dry ingredients and remaining milk. Do not over mix.
  6. Place egg whites in a medium or small mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until white and fluffy. Soft peaks should start to form – it will look like foam almost.
  7. Scoop the whipped egg whites on top of the cupcake batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites. Again, try not to over mix and knock too much air out.
  8. Using tablespoons or a cookie scoop, fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Do not fill the whole way, else it will result in muffin-topped cupcakes and possibly a big mess.
  9. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick placed into the center comes out clean. 17 or 18 minutes was enough for me.
  10. Remove from oven and place cupcake tray on a wire rack for a few minutes, then remove the cupcakes directly onto the wire rack to cool completely.
  11. A third batch of my buttercream (math is done for you in the ingredients list above) should cover all 18 cupcakes. To make the buttercream, follow the instructions listed for my Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe.
  12. Serve cupcakes slightly chilled or at room temperature.

Did you try this recipe? Share your creations on social media by using the hashtag #sweetandsavorycouple!
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