Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Perfect Fluffy & Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

I hate the word "moist." But I had to use it here, because no other word would convey the correct description of these tasty little cakes. I guess I could have called it "Perfect Fluffy & Not Dry Vanilla Cupcakes," but that just doesn't quite capture the texture of these beauties.

I love cakes and cupcakes that have a tender and moist crumb, while still being light and fluffy. That's a hard standard to live up to. But here they are: perfectly moist from-scratch basic vanilla cupcakes. It's the best, Jerry, the best! They have a great vanilla-y sweet flavor. And look how beautifully these babies rise and dome ever so slightly, just like a good cupcake should behave.
Small crumb that is light, while still being moist and tender

I won't tell you how many cupcakes I made and ate (and my family ate) in the attempt to create this recipe, mostly because I lost count. But I will tell you that I have eaten a lot of vanilla cupcakes. A lot, people.

The process of finding the perfect combination took a lot of tweaking of ingredients: amounts of sugar, amounts of liquid, whether or not to use butter, how to mix the ingredients, etc. Little variations changed the texture: from too moist, to rubbery, to too sweet,  to too large of a crumb, to a fine crumb, to finally: a moist and tender crumb with the right amount of sweetness, counterbalanced with the perfect amount of saltiness. I am finally satisfied.

Even though these little cakes don't have butter in them, they taste nice and buttery. Mmmm.

Today is my Grandma and Grandpa's 69th wedding anniversary. Sixty-nine years! Can you believe that? To help celebrate I made some of these vanilla cupcakes to share with them, family, and the staff and residents of their retirement home. Happy Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa!

Perfect Fluffy & Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

(makes 24 cupcakes)

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup whole milk
1 Tb. pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in lower third of oven. Prepare 2, 12-each cupcake baking trays by lining them with cupcake liners (24).

2. In bowl of stand mixer (or regular medium bowl if you don't have a stand mixer), place the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together. Mix together on low speed for a minute or two until all the ingredients are well combined and the flour mixture is well aerated. 

3. Mix the milk and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup or bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and oil together for a minute or two until the mixture is light yellow and thick. Gently whisk the sour cream into the eggs/oil. Gently pour in the vanilla/milk into the egg and sour cream mixture. Mix gently with whisk.

5. With the mixer on low speed, pour the liquid ingredients (they should all be combined now) slowly into the dry ingredients until well combined and smooth (about a minute or two).

6. Pour batter into cupcake liners in the baking trays until the liners are about 2/3 of the way full. Place baking trays in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (or almost clean-maybe a moist crumb or two). Don't overbake.

7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on rack for a minute before removing cupcakes (in their liners) to fully cool on a cooling rack. Frost as desired when they are fully cool. Enjoy!!

UPDATE: If you want a cupcake with an even finer crumb and even more velvet texture....try this post here!


  1. I am making your oh so fluffy and moist cupcakes but have a few questions. For those of us that are baking challenged, what is the best way to pour 2/3 full cupcake batter into holder? What recipe did you use for frosting? We all know a cupcake without frosting is just a muffin:-) I will let you know later today how they turned out.

  2. I hope they turn out!! I have continued to try to tweak the recipe because I wanted them with an even finer crumb. So I'll post that one later. But I use an ice cream scoop (the kind with the lever on the side that you push and it scrapes the batter out for you), or I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup in a pinch.

  3. Buttercream Frosting (makes about 6 cups):

    2 sticks butter at room temperature, 6-7 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup whole milk, 2 tsp. vanilla extract

    Cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes), Add 4 cups of the sugar, the milk, and vanilla and mix on low speed until smooth and creamy (2-3 minutes). Gradually add up to 3 cups more sugar, mixing on low speed until the frosting reaches the desired light and fluffy consistency (3-5 minutes). Good luck!

  4. Thank you! I ended up going with a frosting recipe my husband found using granulated sugar (I know)! It was okay but the cupcakes were very moist and delicious! My daughter called them Yum Yum Vanilla Cupcakes.