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Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Yield: Makes 24


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream for Cupcakes
  • Gumdrops, for decorating


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated; scrape down sides of bowl, and beat in vanilla.

  2. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.

  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about three-quarters full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.

Reviews (43)

  • hotpeppermom 24 Mar, 2015

    After reading so many reviews from people that had issues I was skeptical about trying this recipe. I followed the directions and ended up with 24 delicious, moist cupcakes. While I think I'd add a touch more vanilla the next time, this recipe is definitely a keeper. I baked them for 20 minutes, the tops weren't golden brown but I was frosting them, as you would with most cupcakes, I wonder if those that found them to be dry had over baked them, thinking that they needed to be browned. A+

  • Nicole Peluso 5 Mar, 2015

    This is a HORRIBLE recipe. I usually do not write reviews on anything and I signed up for this site particularly to leave a review for this. These are not cupcakes- they're more like muffins. They are soft at first and dense but then turn HARD and dense. Too sweet also but that's the least of the issues. They're holey and mine also were bubbling when baking. Not tastey at all. Ew I will never make them again what a waste.

  • customersupport 6 Mar, 2015

    Sorry this recipe isn't to the liking of some reviewers. To confirm, expected yield is a dense, heavy crumb. Texture of old-fashioned cake recipes is similar to pound cake - not light and fluffy.

  • suzanne evans94 23 Jan, 2015

    I'm not sure what I did wrong with this recipe--perhaps add high altitude instructions for baking above 5000 feet? The curse of Colorado.

    The batter, even before it went into the oven, tasted heavy and floury, despite adding more vanilla than the recipe stated and a lot of Saigon cinnamon. They came out heavy with a biscuit-y texture and the bottom of each cupcake had shrunk upward leaving a big gap in the bottom of the cake. They were also incredibly flavorless. Would not bake again.

  • cheesehasaproblem 23 Jan, 2015

    These were disgusting. My kids used them for science fair, and almost ruined their whole project. They were like playdough and when people bit into them, they looked like they just drank a cup of sour milk. Never use this recipe... tastes horrible.

  • carmen8490 17 Jan, 2015

    I made this recipe today. First time I did them and all I have to say is thank you Martha they came out perfect and delicious. No more spending money buying cupcakes for my granddaughter I can bake them.

  • lisa ntouch 22 Dec, 2014

    My 10-year old daughter made these cupcakes without any assistance from me. To sum up these tasty morsels in one word...Sublime! They are moist, tender and flavorful; with just the right amount of crispness to the top and edges. We live near the coast in California. Perhaps the humidity and sea level altitude were factors in the result. With buttercream frosting, these cupcakes are a simple to prepare treat!

  • megan giddens 29 Oct, 2014

    Made this recipe - measured everything and used every ingredient. At first they were soft but after 1/2 hour they were very hard.

    They tasted fine but were super hard to bite in to. Not a recipe I would make again.

  • monica_miranda_echartea 15 Sep, 2014

    This was excellent! I just made them and everything went perfect!
    I was reading the comments about this recipe and almost didn't find the courage to make them, but I regret nothing.
    This will become my new basic recipe from now on.

  • deedle2038 10 Aug, 2014

    I'm not sure what went wrong for other bakers -- I just made these tonight, and they came out as close to perfect as cupcakes can. I made them exactly as directed and while I find them a touch sweet for my taste, they're exactly what I wanted to bake for a child's birthday party tomorrow. Very happy!

  • kimie howard 25 Jul, 2014

    This was HORRIBLE, we baked it in the oven for 20 minutes like the directions said, and 10 minutes in, the sides of the pan started boiling, and the middle formed a crisp topping. It looked like sugar water boiling. We went back to the recipe and thought we did something incorrect, but everything was followed exactly! Never making this again!

  • spookydeadgirl 3 Jul, 2014

    I was afraid to try this recipe because of the very negative reviews, but I am glad I went ahead anyway. I don't know what the other people did, but they must have done something wrong. Now, I was afraid of bland cupcakes, so I added vanilla bean. These are fantastic cupcakes! I can't wait to go ahead and frost them, but they are great without it.

  • suhee hope kim 27 Jun, 2014

    This recipe was terrible. Simply terrible. I followed every step exactly, and the result turned out to be disgusting. It took too much effort just to peel the wrapper from the cupcake—I mean rock. The outside was like a hard crust and the inside was as dry as paper. Even an excellent tasting vanilla buttercream—NOT FROM THIS WEBSITE!!—couldn't cover for the unpleasantness of this so-called cupcake. I regret wasting ingredients on this and will certainly not make it again.

  • onefatfrodo 16 Mar, 2014

    Terrible - needed a quick cupcake to send into school..this one was not the way to go! Heavy and tasteless...should have stuck with the recipe I usually use from - slightly more time consuming but worth it. These cup cakes will become bird food .. Would be embarrassed to send them in to my sons classroom :(

  • mamajillj 4 Mar, 2014

    My 12 year daughter made these, but couldn't read the measurements clearly (the spacing is pretty tight). She used her excellent math skills to convert "11/2 cups" of sugar to 5 1/2 cups. They made for some sweet crumbs for the top of ice cream. Perhaps a different font or wider spacing in the recipes would help other bakers too?

  • jzilla07 3 Mar, 2014

    yay cupcakes

  • mnflores1990 7 Dec, 2013

    This recipe is easy to make without using electric mixer. Even kids can make cupcakes with this recipe. I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract for more flavor. And make sure to get the best butter for vanilla cupcake because it matters, too. This vanilla cupcake goes well with Apple Cinnamon filling and Orange Buttercream. Delicioso!

  • srprael 8 Oct, 2013

    OK, more people complained than not about the vanilla cupcake recipe! It was suggested to use this for the 'apple cupcakes'; common sense here folks. . . use some creativity here and give them some apple flavor?! Add a cored and diced Large Honey Crisp Apple and 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon; absolutely delicious!!!

    SPrael, Flemington, NJ

  • elenarajan 16 Aug, 2013

    I made them without looking at the reviews and they turned out great. Nice and fluffy. Maybe they did something wrong which caused their cupcakes to be bad. They are just plain Vanilla so I decided to pipe in some blueberry and it tastes so good :)

  • thericecakebunny 7 Aug, 2013

    Here's an idea: when mixing, add about two to three cups of raspberry jam to the batter after everything is in, giving the flavor a fruity tint. do the same with frosting (if you're doing frosting) and ta da! Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes. But besides my little tip, the cupcakes turned out delightful, plenty for a party tray!

  • jones8887 27 Jul, 2013

    I have tried several vanilla cake and cupcake recipes and I just can't get it right. This one was by far the worse! The consistency was more like a biscuit and they were bland. I need a great recipe for vanilla cupcakes!!

  • nswayzie 12 Jul, 2013

    This is one of the easiest recipes I have ever made. They were amazing. These are a great cupcake for those that don't like a super sweet cake. I made mini's instead - the batter made enough for 96. Bake for only 12-14 minutes though for the mini's. Nice flat tops, I filled the liners almost to the top so they just peeked over the top once done & iced with butter cream. Delicious!

  • lucas ratsoana 16 Jun, 2013

    I am a programmer and don't really know anything about baking but this recipe made my guests respect my baking. :)

  • ceciliacchavez 14 Jun, 2013

    Taking in consideration the bad reviews/critiques, I decided to change the recipe a little bit and see if it would make a difference:

    I added 2 cups of cane sugar instead of 1.5
    I added 2 tablespoons of vanilla instead of the 2 teaspoons

    In my attempt to make this a vegan recipe for cupcakes

    I substituted the 1 1/4 cup milk with 1 1/4 cup soy milk
    I substituted the 1 1/2 sticks of butter for 3/4 cups of olive oil
    I substituted the 4 eggs for 2 cups of smashed bananas

    They came out delicious

  • giraffe2112 2 Jun, 2013

    I made these cupcakes and thought they turned out great, I agree that they were a little bland I think extra vanilla and extra sugar could remedy that. Of. Course once you put frosting on top you don't really need extra sugar. I also substituted buttermilk and 4 tablespoons of oil for butter and they came out super moist and dense.

  • mventura62 17 Mar, 2013

    yuck to the max

  • mventura62 17 Mar, 2013

    disgusting, horrible, terrible, nasty and bad too!

  • mventura62 17 Mar, 2013

    this is indeed the WORST recipe ever, these remind me of the cupcake one of the Charlie's angels tossed across the room it made a [filtered word] on the door!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • J ren29 12 Oct, 2012

    After watching my fave show '2 broke girls' I had the sudden urge to make cupcakes, so I figured I would see what great recipe Martha could give me. These cupcakes beautifully baked at exactly 20 minutes. I did find the cupcake heavy and bland, it needs a lot more vanilla. Wondering if it was something I did wrong to make the cupcakes heavy, I did use margarine instead of butter ( forgot to leave butter out of fridge) other than that these vanilla cupcakes were easy to make.

  • surekha09 28 Dec, 2011

    awesum... my first time baking cupcakes, or any cake from scratch! the cake smells great, rose perfectly and tastes delicious... just the right amount of moist... working on the frosting now! look forward to browsing and trying more of your recipes

  • foxandpheasant 23 Aug, 2011

    These came out beautifully, and as another reviewer said they taste much better than store-bought cupcakes! I dressed up the recipe a bit by carving out the top with a melon baller, filling the indent with raspberries, and topping with chocolate dream whip for a friend's birthday. She loved them, and we highly recommend them :)

  • citruxbakery 29 Jul, 2011

    deliciosos, esponjosos y suave sabor!

  • AllyPally 23 Oct, 2010

    I can't believe that someone said that these are "the worst cupcakes ever." I absolutely LOVED them. So so so delicious. They must have messed up somewhere. I also served them to 20 people and got rave reviews from all. They are also very simple to make and go great with the swiss buttercream frosting. Delicioso!!!

  • annabelle219 6 Oct, 2010

    Excellent. Very moist and dense, not like a bought spongey yellow cake.

  • JessiLynn_87 7 Jul, 2010

    This cupcake recipe was the first one I decided to do on my own (i.e., without the help of a box haha!) and I absolutely loved it. It was fairly simple, not too time-consuming, and very fun. The cupcakes turned out delicious! Reminded me of a sugar cookie. Family favorite. I will have to make them again!

  • dragon_8130 27 Sep, 2009

    worst. terrible.!!! do not waste your ingredients on this!. worst.cupcakes.ever

  • thunderdragon 19 Sep, 2009

    They taste delicious and are easy to make.

  • cathyxpiglet 3 Jan, 2009

    mine did not taste like sugar cookies, but they had a slight muffin constistency.
    otherwise, delicious.

  • expatmamma 15 Nov, 2008

    Pretty easy. Didn't rise as much as I would have liked. But tasty!

  • asjbchan 11 Sep, 2008

    This is a denser type of cupcake that would hold well if you wanted to make special shapes out of them. The texture is slightly on the doughier side, and does taste like sugar cookies. Maybe I did something wrong too?

  • sweetsugarjunkies 24 Jul, 2008

    they taste like a cake version of a sugar cookie?did I do something wrong?

  • eileentscott 24 Jun, 2008

    Very tasty cupcakes. I am using them for my daughter's 1st birthday party.

  • luckymom 20 Dec, 2007

    The best vanilla cake ever! The only thing I substitute is buttermilk for the milk. Better than the bakery.

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