Whether for a party, small get together, or simply for yourself on a lonely night, these small batch vanilla cupcakes are the sweetest little treat for any occasion. This 6 cupcake recipe makes the fluffiest and moistest vanilla cake and the lightest and smoothest vanilla buttercream. They are so easy to make, and only take 15 minutes in the oven, so you can be enjoying these cupcakes in no time.
Why you will love these small batch vanilla cupcakes
- It's small batch. This recipe only makes 6 vanilla cupcakes - so whether it is for a small get together or for yourself on a lonely night, these cupcakes are for any occasion.
- The texture. The cake is super light and fluffy - it basically melts in your mouth. It is a butter and oil based cake, so it is incredibly moist and flavorful.
- The flavors. The cake and buttercream have the sweetest vanilla flavor.
- It's so easy to make. The batter only takes 10 minutes to whip up and these cupcakes only bake for 15 minutes. So you can be enjoying your small batch in no time.
- All purpose flour: all purpose flour is the flour of choice for this recipe. It yields the perfect soft and tender crumb for the cake.
- Leavener: baking soda is used in these cupcakes to help them rise.
- Fats: the key fats in this recipe are the butter, vegetable oil, egg, and milk. All of these ingredients add moisture so the cupcakes don't dry out.
- Sugar: granulated sugar is used to add sweetness, flavor, and moisture. We also use powdered sugar in the buttercream.
- Vanilla extract: since vanilla is the key flavor, make sure to splurge on the good quality stuff!
- Whisk the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Beat the wet ingredients. Beat together the butter and oil until combined. Add the granulated sugar and beat until combined. Add the egg and mix. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
- Combine. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Stream in the milk while the mixer is on low until smooth and combined.
- Bake. Separate the cupcake batter evenly into 6 cupcake cups. Bake for 15-17 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Make the vanilla buttercream. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream by beating the butter by itself, then adding the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and milk.
- Frost. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost the cupcakes and enjoy!
Why are my cupcakes dry?
Cupcakes can be dry from over measuring the flour. The best way to measure flour is with a kitchen scale - it is the most accurate. If you don't have a kitchen scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup, then level it off with a knife.
Over baking can also result in a dry cupcake. Just a few extra minutes in the oven can turn a soft and moist cupcake into a tough and dry one, so make sure to keep an eye on them. It is finished when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Why did my cupcakes sink?
Cupcakes can sink from over mixing the batter. Make sure to only mix your batter until the dry ingredients are JUST incorporated, not any longer. Second, underbaked cupcakes can sink, so make sure to bake the cupcakes all the way through.
Finally, poor air circulation in your oven/opening and closing the door too quickly can cause your cupcakes to deflate. If you have poor air circulation, make sure to rotate your cupcake pans around in the oven half way through baking, and don't open/close the door too fast. This will blow all of the hot air out of the oven.
Why are my cupcakes dense?
Dense cupcakes are likely from too much liquid. I highly suggest using a kitchen scale to measure out your ingredients - it is the most accurate and will serve better results. Using volume measurements is not ideal because my 1 cup measuring cup can be different from your 1 cup measuring cup.
How do I store the cupcakes?
Any cake-based dessert exposed to air will become dry pretty quickly, so make sure to secure it properly. Wrap each individual cupcake with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature.
Can I make the cupcakes ahead of time?
Yes! Bake the cupcakes and, once cool, wrap them each tightly in plastic wrap. You can freeze them for up to three months. Thaw the cupcakes at room temperature.
You can also make the frosting ahead of time. Place the frosting on a piece of plastic wrap and tightly close it. Place it in a ziplock bag and into the freezer. Let it thaw in the fridge.
Baking in grams
While I provide volume measurements for the recipes on my blog, I highly suggest baking these recipes using weight. It is the most standardized and accurate way to bake. I carefully recipe test all of my recipes using a kitchen scale, not by using cups, and therefore I cannot guarantee the success of my recipes when using volume measurements.
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Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes
- 79 grams (⅝ cups) all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
- 25 grams (2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
- 75 grams (⅜ cups) granulated sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 60 grams (¼ cup) whole milk room temperature
- 85 grams (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
- 180-240 grams (1 ½-2 cups) powdered sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1 ½ tablespoons milk/heavy cream
- sprinkles optional
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with 6 cupcake liners.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and oil together on high speed until completely combined. This will only happen if the butter is fully at room temperature. About 2-3 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, stream in the granulated sugar then beat on medium speed until combined and fluffy. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg and mix well on low speed. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl again.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix on low-medium speed until combined.
- With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients. Once almost fully incorporated, stop and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on to low speed and slowly stream in the milk. Mix until combined, being careful not to over mix.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake cups. The batter should be the perfect amount for 6 regular-sized cupcakes. Fill the liners until they are ½ - ¾ of the way full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 15-17 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- In a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter by itself on medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and milk/heavy cream and beat until combined. You may need to add more powdered sugar (to thicken) or milk (to thin) depending on the desired consistency.
- Once desired consistency is reached, whip for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.
- Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost the cupcakes with the vanilla buttercream. Top with sprinkles if desired, and enjoy!
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!