4 In Cupcakes/ Recipes

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

This is my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe perfect for celebrations, birthday parties or just because. They are soft, light and fluffy, and the perfect base for a swirl of creamy buttercream frosting. This recipe is completely dairy-free making this my go to cupcake recipe.

Vanilla Cupcakes with a swirl of vanilla buttercream frosting and sprinklesHaving a perfect, easy, works everytime vanilla cupcake recipe in your back pocket is one of those essential recipes for every home baker. This is my OG cupcake recipe that has served me for most of my adult life and I am so excited for it to be yours as well!

I first shared this recipe on my blog back in 2015 and for years before then and since then I have been making these cupcakes. Whenever I have an occasion that calls for some baking such as a birthday, work lunch, or just a general need for cake, I make these. They are so easy, but result in a perfect soft texture, and are full of vanilla flavour.

Vanilla cupcakeHow to make vanilla cupcakes

One of the reasons these cupcakes are my favourite is because of just how easy they are to make using pantry ingredients.

We start by creaming dairy-free butter and sugar together which I find results in a soft, flavourful cupcake. Next we add the eggs for stability and the vanilla for flavour.

Instead of using a separate leavening agent such as baking powder, I use a combination of plain flour and self-raising flour which provides just the right amount of lift to these cupcakes.

You will find self-raising flour in the pantries of most bakers from Australia and the UK, but if you can’t find it (or have run out) you can easily make your own by combining 1 cup of plain flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder and measuring out your required ¾ of a cup.

Finally for moisture we add in the milk. As I make these dairy-free I love to use a vanilla almond milk to sneak in a little extra vanilla flavour, but I have tried this recipe with many other milk alternatives, such as oat and soy, and they all work perfectly without lending any of their flavours to the end result.

vanilla cupcakes from above with sprinklesWhen baking these cupcakes it is important to not overfill the pan so that they have room to rise without spilling out and burning.

I always top these cupcakes with my favourite vanilla buttercream and a few sprinkles for fun. This is my favourite buttercream for a reason as it is vegan, dairy-free, really easy to make, and holds its shape perfectly for piping, but you would never realise it’s not made with real butter once you taste it.

Chances are you have everything you need to whip up a batch of these little cakes ready to go in your pantry which is one of the reasons I think this is such a staple recipe as it’s great for those last minute events.

vanilla cupcake not in patty caseHow to store vanilla cupcakes

These cupcakes will stay fresh at room temperature in an airtight container for about 2 days. If wanting to keep them longer, you can store in the fridge for 3-4 days, just let come to room temperature before serving.

You can also freeze these cupcakes for up to 3 months.

Vanilla cupcakes are so good because of their simplicity, which is why I love them with a simple vanilla frosting, but you could always try a classic chocolate buttercream instead. Or what about a peanut butter or lemon frosting. The flavour combinations are really up to you!

And lastly if you think these cupcakes look amazing but you are vegan, allergic to eggs, or have simply run out and don’t feel like making a trip to the grocery store, then you need to make these vegan vanilla cupcakes which are equally delish.

vanilla cupcake with bite takenIf you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

This is my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe perfect for celebrations, birthday parties or just because. They are soft, light and fluffy, and the perfect base for a swirl of creamy buttercream frosting.
Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Sally


For The Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) dairy-free butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

For The Vanilla Buttercream

  • ½ cup (125 grams) dairy-free butter
  • 3-4 cups icing mixture
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt to taste
  • pink food colouring optional
  • sprinkles optional


  • Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 12 cup muffin pan with patty cases.
  • In a medium bowl, sift flour and stir a few times to combine. Then in a large bowl, beat dairy-free butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and continue to beat until light and creamy. Slowly add in sifted flour about ¼ cup at a time, alternating with the almond milk until everything has been added and batter comes together.
  • Spoon mixture into the prepared pan ensuring they are ¾ full, and place in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until cakes are lightly golden on top and spring back when lightly touched. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Make the buttercream. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat dairy-free spread for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Add in 3 cups of icing sugar and beat on medium until combined. As mixture thickens, add in vanilla and dairy-free milk. If frosting is too thin, add in an extra ½-1 cup of icing sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Add pinch of salt to taste if frosting is too sweet.
  • Tint the buttercream with a few drops of food colouring if desired, and place buttercream into a piping bag with your favourite tip and pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes. Top with sprinkles and enjoy!


Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days, and up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
I used 2 drops of Americolour deep pink gel colouring to get the soft pink colour of my buttercream.
If you don’t have self-raising flour, you can make your own by combining 1 cup of plain flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder and measuring out your required ¾ of a cup.
I use Nuttelex to replace butter in most of my recipes as it is vegan and gives a 'buttery' flavour without being greasy. As this is an Australian product, the closest US alternative I believe is Earth Balance. Otherwise any dairy-free spread will work.
Dairy-free milk. While my go to for baking is usually almond milk, I have used oat milk, vanilla almond milk, soy milk and even lactose-free milk in this recipe and all produce a perfect cupcake.
Not from Australia? Check out my US Conversion Guide.

Original recipe was published March 16th 2015.

More Cupcake Recipes:

Lady Grey Cupcakes With Lavender Frosting
The Ultimate Chocolate & Coconut Cupcakes
Vegan ‘Snickers’ Cupcakes
Dairy-Free Little Lemon Cupcakes
Cookies and Cream Cupcakes (Vegan)
Vegan Chocolate Rose Cupcakes

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vanilla cupcakes pinterest image

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  • Reply
    November 1, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    These are the prettiest cupcakes I have ever seen! And such a handy staple recipe. Can’t wait to try them.

    • Reply
      November 5, 2019 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks so much Andrea!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2019 at 7:19 am

    I feel like this is the perfect basic vanilla cake recipe that can be used in many many different ways! Love that it is a dairy-free one too 🙂

    • Reply
      November 5, 2019 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks Sylvie!

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