Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes

There’s nothing worse than eyeballing an adorable cupcake that looks too good to eat….stuffing it in your face….and realizing that actually, it really was too pretty to eat and should have been left alone. If there’s one thing I hate doing, it is sacrificing taste for appearance. So imagine my joy to be able to share with you the only vanilla cupcake recipe I’ve been making for the last year. It is so moist, so delicious, and so perfect in any application. Frosted up cute like these polar bears and snowmen cupcakes or simply garnished with frosting and a few sprinkles – either way, the cupcake is beautiful and gloriously tasty. These cupcakes are the best and are my go-to cupcakes (for non-chocolate purposes, of course).

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes

In addition, I wanted to share a quick and easy buttercream frosting that I use all the time. Yes, I love this magical frosting, but the vanilla buttercream recipe, below, makes an equally frequent appearance because not only is it simple, it has a divinely creamy, silky texture that beats out all other easy buttercream frostings. I use this recipe on my kids’ birthday cakes and on most cupcakes I make, especially if I am going to pipe any decorations. It’s fantastic.

Incidentally, both of the cupcakes pictured above are from the brilliant Hello, Cupcake series. Those books make me look like a cupcake-decorating rockstar.

One Year Ago: Tortellini Spinach Salad with Balsamic-Tomato Vinaigrette
Two Years Ago: Quick and Delicious Clam Chowder
Three Years Ago: California Chicken Marinade

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes and Fantastic {Easy} Buttercream Frosting

Yield: Makes between 16-24 cupcakes

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes and Fantastic {Easy} Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (here is a guide for making your own buttermilk)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 for light, aluminum or silicone muffin pans or 325 for dark, nonstick muffin pans. Line about 16-24 muffin cups with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix in eggs and egg yolk one at a time and then mix in the vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Combine. Add 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix. Add the final 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Mix and then add the final 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Mix until combined and the batter is smooth. Spoon out batter into lined cupcake pan, filling only halfway or just barely over halfway.
  3. Bake for about 15-18 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven based on the type of muffin pan you have), until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out with moist crumbs. Don’t overbake!
  4. Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost as desired!

Recipe Source: adapted from Becca H., a reader, who got it from a Parade magazine

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Printable Version

*Note: you can substitute milk for the heavy cream but the frosting will be missing an element of silky creaminess.

*Makes about 4 cups of frosting

½ cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
16 ounces powdered sugar (about 3 ½ cups)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the softened butter and cream cheese together until it is light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix in fully after each addition. Cream at low speed until well blended and creamy. Pour in the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Recipe Source: adapted from The Recipe Girl

162 Responses to Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes and Fantastic {Easy} Buttercream Frosting

  1. Misty says:

    I’ve made these twice (a year apart) and both times failed to get the fluffy soft texture I’m looking for. After baking mine sink down and get crispy/chewy/gummy on top. Going to research online and see why.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hi Mel, these are my family’s favorite vanilla cupcakes! I make them all the time. My little is turning 4 in a couple of weeks and has requested a vanilla Hello Kitty cake. I was wondering if you’ve ever baked this recipe as a cake rather than cupcakes? I bought a Wilton cake pan that is shaped like Hello Kitty’s head and it says it holds the same amount of batter as a 2 layer cake would be. I’m wondering if this recipe would work? Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Stephanie – I’ve never baked this in a cake but I believe others have in the comment thread (but I don’t remember the details; sorry). I’m not sure how the quantity measures up but I think this cupcake recipe is just a little short of what would normally fit in a 9X13 or maybe 2 layers.

  3. Amy says:

    Is this enough frosting to frost 24 cupcakes like you do in your frosting tutorial?

    • Mel says:

      If you are just swiping the frosting on with a knife then yes, but if you are planning on doing a swirly design (with a piping bag and tip), I’d recommend doubling the frosting.

  4. Nell says:

    Hello Mel! I made these and they tasted absolutely WONDERFUL! My entire family loved them (especially my little brother), and they stayed moist and yummy days after I baked them. I just have one question… I noticed that within a minute of removing them from the oven, the cupcakes shrink away from the sides of the pan 🙁 Tried it a few times but I keep getting the same result. Do you have any idea what could be going wrong? Because I can’t seem to figure it out. And I followed all the measurements and instructions exactly.
    Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Do they shrink away from the liners or do the liners and cupcakes shrink away from the sides of the pan? What coating is on your muffin pan (is it light or dark, nonstick)?

      • Nell says:

        The liners and cupcakes shrink away from the pan, and it’s an aluminum pan.

        • Mel says:

          That’s puzzling. I’ll keep an eye on my baking pan next time I make them. I’ve found that grease-proof liners tend to shrink less but it’s been a while since I’ve made these particular cupcakes so I’ll check back in next time I make them.

  5. Angela says:

    This may sound like a silly question, but is this recipe white or yellow? I ask because I noticed it had yolks in it. Trying to find a white cupcake recipe so I can color it light purple. Thank you! Looking forward to trying this recipe soon!

    • Mel says:

      The batter is more yellow than pure white.

      • Angela says:

        Thanks! I actually tested them today and they are awesome! I may try to do a test with subbing egg whites to get the whiter color in the future but these will be perfect as is for my daughter’s birthday this weekend. Thanks for another great recipe!

  6. Bev says:

    I made these and they were perfectly delicious!! Making them tonight again as they have became highly requested by my 3 babies. Thank you so much for sharing (-:

  7. Teresa says:

    Hi Mel, I just made your AMAZING Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes yesterday, and am so thrilled that I’ve finally found a vanilla cupcake recipe that doesn’t end up tasting kind of like cornbread. This will be my go-to recipe from now on! They came out perfectly…not dry….not too moist…not “caved in”…..just the perfect cupcake. And the flavor is amazing. I used a regular buttercream frosting since my daughter doesn’t care for cream cheese, but look forward to trying your frosting recipe soon. (I love cream cheese myself!) Thank you for ALL of your fabulous recipes! :o)

  8. rabia says: seems like wonderful recepi…just want to ask which cream cheese shall I use in it..i am,cobfused

  9. Jessica says:

    If I want to make a vanilla cake in two cake rounds rather than cupcakes, how long do I bake it for?

    • Mel says:

      Jessica – I’ve never converted this cupcake recipe to a cake so I’m not sure. You’ll have to experiment and/or read through the comment thread to see if anyone else has tried it. Good luck!

  10. Melissa says:

    Thank you for such wonderful recipes! I have a question: does this buttercream “crust” like a buttercream that contains shortening? I’m looking for a buttercream that will hold up in warm weather, and I’ve heard it’s best to use a buttercream that crusts… any suggestions? Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Melissa – No, unfortunately, this buttercream frosting doesn’t crust like ones that use shortening. You might try googling a recipe for “crusting buttercream” or substitute some of the butter in this with shortening. Good luck!

  11. Tyleia H says:

    Made these tonight for the first time- these are amazing and delicious!

    Btw I went on a cooking spree today and made these, your buttermilk drop biscuits and your chocolate cake (into cupcakes)…your one of my def go to websites for recipes…thanks for such great stuff

  12. Emily says:

    A friend let me borrow a dress for a dance and I made these for her as a thank you present. That was the easy part-the making them. Unfortunately giving them away was nearly impossible. Especially after our 3 mile run together. These are the fluffier most delicious cupcakes I have ever had in my life!!! And the frosting has the amazing consistency if whipped cream while still being mouthwateringly sweet. I got turned off of cupcakes when they started becoming such a gourmet desert because I find most specialty cupcakes too dense and rich. Needless to say, I no longer have any objection to cupcakes. Thank you sooooo much for posting this recipe Mel.

  13. viktoriya says:

    Does and can the frosting need to be put in the fridge to firm up? Will it ruin it? Or do I frost right away?

    • Mel says:

      Viktoriya – I usually frost right away. If you refrigerate the frosting, it will need to sit at room temp a few hours before using to soften a bit (and I find it doesn’t have quite the same creamy consistency).

  14. Katie says:

    I wanted to make these but realized I was out of salted butter…since I know that’s what you use…how much extra salt do you think I should add if I used unsalted? Thanks!

  15. Kirk says:

    These recipes are great. I filled the cupcake to just over half, as directed, and it made 16 cupcakes. I can’t see how it would ever make 24 unless they were very small cupcakes.

  16. Joanne says:

    I found your cupcake recipe after searching google for a “fluffly vanilla cupcake recipe”. I made a batch of the cupcakes today and they turned out beautiful! I wanted to write and praise you for sharing this recipe, it will be my number one vanilla cupcake recipe forever now. My husband and I love a fluffy cupcake, these are perfect. I am making two dozen cupcakes for Easter and this will be my recipe of choice paired with three colours of coconut swiss meringue butter cream frosting. Thank you very much!!

  17. sue says:

    Hi Mel,

    Big fan – love SO many of your recipes .. tried, true and delicious!!

    Using your easy butter cream frosting – if I make and frost 3 dozen cupcakes Friday afternoon and the party is Saturday afternoon – would you suggest refrigerating the cupcakes until party time? Also, is it fine to add a little coloring to this recipe to tint the frosting?

    Thanks for sharing your talent!

    • Mel says:

      Sue – Yes, that is fine to add coloring although I recommend the gel coloring instead of liquid. I would refrigerate the cupcakes and take them out about 2 hours before serving to let the frosting soften. Have a fun party!

  18. Octopus Cake (and a DIVINE vanilla cake recipe) | Miscellaneous Musings of a Writer-to-Be says:

    […] From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  19. Annalisa says:

    I’ve made this so many times, I’ve lost count. So yummy!

  20. […] and Fluffy Yellow Cupcakes YIELD: MAKES 12 CUPCAKES This recipe is easily doubled. This quick and easy buttercream is an excellent frosting solution if you need something simple. This magical frosting? A bit more […]

  21. Kerri says:

    I never need to try another vanilla cupcake recipe. These are perfect.
    I made them into coconut cream pie cupcakes- after cooling, I cut a little cone shape in the cupcake, piped a ring of buttercream around the edge of the cake and dipped the frosting in toasted coconut, then filled the center with the custard from your coconut cream pie recipe. They were so pretty and they were gone too fast for me to try one, but I hear they were delicious! 🙂

  22. Ashley says:

    I made mini cupcakes out of this recipe and they are so tasty!
    I got about 52 mini cupcakes. My batter was thick enough to just pipe it into the tiny cups. They are surprisingly light. I will use this as my “go to” recipe from now on! Thank you so much!

  23. Abbey says:

    Came across this site…she’s using a lot of your recipes and photos with a TINY little link to your posts…then she goes on her social media and shares the whole recipe. I know I would want to know, so I thought I’d pass this along to you. Good luck 🙂

  24. Nicole says:

    I can’t wait to try this! Is it advisable to frost a cake with your vanilla buttercream frosting recipe and refrigerate it overnight? I have to bring a cake into work and don’t want to wake up early to frost it!

  25. Tonya says:

    These were fantastic! We had a Sesame Street party and wanted to make homemade cupcakes. They were so tasty! The buttercream icing was amazing too! Love your site:)

  26. Mindy says:

    I’ve been loyal to my Mom’s buttercream frosting recipe for years, but it calls for a bit of shortening, and I live out of the country where shortening isn’t available. This frosting turned out PERFECT. My hubby and kids and I voted, and we like this frosting even better than the one I’ve been making for years! (Shhh, don’t tell Mom)

  27. Erika says:

    Oh my gosh! This polar bear is so cute I can’t wait for December to make it!

  28. Jenn says:

    I made these cupcakes for my daughters birthday and they were delicious! I find myself searching and using your recipes a lot. Thanks for family friendly ideas!

  29. […] Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes Makes 16-24 (I got 18), adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  30. Barbara says:

    I’m sorry Mel, I was completely disappointed. I am an experience baker and followed instructions to the T. Mine rose a TON in the oven, and then fell horribly once I got them out. I am so bummed to have to resort to a box mix for my little ones birthday. 🙁 I am not sure where I went wrong. Extra sad.

  31. andi winslow says:

    Just stopping in to say that I made your Buttermilk cupcakes (like very much) and have posted them on my blog at I had no prolbems with them sinking in the middle. Just watch your baking so you don’t overbake them. Yummy Thank you for a nice recipe………….andi

  32. Made a trial batch as I have an up coming event and wanted a good cupcake. These are delicious and even better the second day. I added a teaspoon of coconut flavoring to the frosting. My hubby loved them too. Will make this recipe often. Makes about 15 to 18.

  33. Sally says:

    Hi Mel – Do you think doubling this recipe would give me enough for a 2-layer round cake?

  34. Natasha says:

    I want to say LOVE THIS RECIPE. I’ve tried all kinds of vanilla cupcake recipes, but I have to say this is one of the best. The only thing I did different was added more extract(vanilla-nut). LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT!!!!!! =)

  35. estella says:

    I made these last night with a different buttercream frosting – I probably could have left the frosting off, the cupcake is amazing just by itself! I messed up and put 16 tablespoons of butter in by mistake – to compensate I added a heaping tablespoon of flour and a heaping teaspoon of sugar to the recipe. I had to cook them about 5 minutes longer, but they came out delicious. I might make them this way from now on!

    I don’t know what happened to some of the posters’ batches that came out tasting like cornbread, but I’ve heard this can happen with vanilla cupcake recipes. There’s a few tricks I’ve learned that I deployed for this recipe, so I will share them here in the hopes that it will prevent another cornbread cupcake disaster:
    – While your butter should be soft, if you are using a stand mixer you do not need for it to be room temperature when you begin the recipe. Slightly soft will be fine. You want it to be room temperature AFTER you’ve creamed the butter and sugar, and stand mixers add heat.
    -Don’t underestimate how long it takes to cream butter and sugar. Give it a good five minutes to let it get soft and fluffy.
    -Let your eggs get to room temperature before adding to batter.
    -When you alternate your dry ingredients and buttermilk, make sure you end with the dry ingredients. Stated in the recipe, but it bears repeating. Don’t overmix the batter after alternating the dry ingredients and buttermilk. It has something to do with the formation of gluten, which changes the texture of your cake.
    -Stand mixers don’t need to run at a high speed – Keep the speed pretty low to avoid overmixing (and to extend the life of your machine).

  36. Vicky says:

    I was sure that all those people comparing these cupcakes to “cornbread” were surely nuts but now, having made them myself, I can kind of see why! I wouldn’t describe them like cornbread at all (I guess I like my cornbread to taste like corn, which these definitely do not!), but the texture of the cupcakes is definitely more sturdy than you’ll get from a box, and they’re not overly sweet. So if “sturdy” (though not dense) and “not overly sweet” translate to “cornbread” in your book, than don’t make these. But if you want a nice, substantial cake that’s not too sweet, these are fine. If you want a nice, light-textured white cake that taste more like (but better than) a box mix, I recommend the recipe for white cake from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

    I didn’t love the frosting recipe, but it wasn’t bad. It just tasted like run-of-the-mill frosting to me. Nothing special.

  37. Mel says:

    Katie – the nose is a candy orange slice cut in pieces. For the hat, I used nabisco chocolate crackers that are shaped like an octagon (I can’t remember the exact name). It’s been a few years so I don’t know if they are still available but you could use any type of chocolate cracker that could be cut into pieces.

  38. Katie says:

    these are adorable! what are the candies on the snowman? specifically his hat? I’m thinking of doing them for my son’s 4th b-day next month.

  39. […] Vanilla cupcakes are far from boring when they’re decorated to look like polar bears and snowmen. A little creativity goes a long way on these! The “bear” is made from a donut hole frosted and coated with shredded coconut, and the snowman is covered in sanding sugar to make him glisten like freshly-fallen snow. However, the best part lies within — this vanilla cupcake is both rich and luscious, and the frosting is “the best EVER.” All in all, these are an unforgettable combination! Source Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  40. […] Vanilla cupcakes are far from boring when they’re decorated to look like polar bears and snowmen. A little creativity goes a long way on these! The “bear” is made from a donut hole frosted and coated with shredded coconut, and the snowman is covered in sanding sugar to make him glisten like freshly-fallen snow. However, the best part lies within — this vanilla cupcake is both rich and luscious, and the frosting is “the best EVER.” All in all, these are an unforgettable combination! Source Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  41. […] Vanilla cupcakes are far from boring when they’re decorated to look like polar bears and snowmen. A little creativity goes a long way on these! The “bear” is made from a donut hole frosted and coated with shredded coconut, and the snowman is covered in sanding sugar to make him glisten like freshly-fallen snow. However, the best part lies within — this vanilla cupcake is both rich and luscious, and the frosting is “the best EVER.” All in all, these are an unforgettable combination! Source Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  42. […] Vanilla cupcakes are far from boring when they’re decorated to look like polar bears and snowmen. A little creativity goes a long way on these! The “bear” is made from a donut hole frosted and coated with shredded coconut, and the snowman is covered in sanding sugar to make him glisten like freshly-fallen snow. However, the best part lies within — this vanilla cupcake is both rich and luscious, and the frosting is “the best EVER.” All in all, these are an unforgettable combination! Source Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  43. Ashley says:

    Made the cupcakes and frosting over the weekend, followed all directions and I think these are the BEST. The texture is unreal. Made exactly 16 cupcakes filling each tin half or less than half. Tend to frost lightly could have easily halved the frosting and kind of wish I had because I cannot bring myself to throw out leftover frosting and will HAVE to make a second batch today 🙂
    Also, because something about dough just fascinates me I loved the texture of this dough even before they were cooked. Thank you as usual! Now to find a chocolate recipe recipe as good!

  44. Teresa says:

    I love the addition of heavy cream to lighten this frosting. However, I wonder if the small cream cheese amount gives it a cream cheesy taste. I am looking for a new vanilla buttercream, but am not sure I want one to taste too much like cream cheese. Does this one? Also, I saw you had your eye on that Ina Garten chocolate buttercream. I’ve made it several times. It is delicious, but the amount of coffee she calls for is very strong and turns it very mocha-like instead of chocolate (we prefer it plain). I use dried egg yolks for the raw yolk.

    • Mel says:

      Teresa – I don’t think this frosting has a strong cream cheese taste. The small amount of cream cheese helps stabilize the frosting. Thanks for the advice on the Ina Garten frosting!

  45. Nia says:

    The best! Making minis today. Going to dye the frosting red and make little trees. the frosting is the super-yummy!

  46. Melissa says:

    Can you make this frosting chocolate? Thanks! 🙂

  47. Mel says:

    Hi Shannon – yes, you can decorate the night before but they will need to be refrigerated or stored at cool room temperature.

  48. Shannon says:

    I am so excited to try th frosting this week. I was wondering if I can decorate the cupcakes the night before I need them. Will they be okay? We just moved to F l and I have had problems with icing “melting”

  49. […] – Adorable polar bear cupcakes! Get the vanilla buttermilk cupcake and quick vanilla butter cream frosting recipes from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe  […]

  50. Mel says:

    Ana – yes, I refrigerate this frosting a lot. It comes out of the refrigerator quite stiff so I let it sit at room temp for about an hour and give it a brisk stir (or even whip it up again with the electric mixer).

  51. […] Two darling Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Inspired By Hello, Cupcake! […]

  52. Ana Lucia says:

    I just want to ask if is possible to keep the frosting in the fridge to use it another day? Have you done that with this frosting?

  53. Mel says:

    Hi Sylvia, I’ve never made this in 9 inch round pans. Read through the comments and see if anyone else has tried it. Good luck!

  54. Sylvia says:

    This recipe sounds perfect for what I’m looking for. Can I use it to make two 9″ round cakes? I’m a beginner baker and not sure if cupcake and cake recipes are interchangeable. I would think so but I want to make sure! Thanks!

  55. Super cute cupcakes and very delicious, I’m sure.I’m delighted with them! I’ve featured this recipes on my blog! I hope you don’t mind! If you don’t agree with that please contact me and I will remove it. All the best.

  56. Charlotte says:

    Mel, I can highly recommend the Pastry Queen’s (Rebecca Rather) White-on-White Buttermilk Cake as a wonderful, moist, from-scratch, snow white cake. The recipe is written to be a 2 or 3-layer cake, but I bake it in a 9-x-13″ AirBake sheet pan. It does not, however, translate to cupcakes. Great flavor, but poor structure. It comes with a “Jack Daniel’s Buttercream” frosting, but I ice it with our favorite chocolate buttercream from Bunnywoman on the Wilton’s forums. My family loves this cake. You can find the recipe and others’ thoughts about it by googling it.

  57. hol says:

    I had my hopes high on this one..major disappointment.:( I, too, search and search for “the perfect recipe”…so I was very excited-knowing many recipes had been tried in order to find the best one.
    This just didn’t do anything for me. I made the recipe for my kiddos’s fall social at their school and I just can’t take them. Honestly, they taste like cornbread- good cornbread, but not exactly what I was looking for.

  58. Mel says:

    Shawna – sorry these didn’t work out for you. I’m not sure what you mean by melted all over the pan – did they overflow a lot? My only guess is that you might need to decrease the amount of batter even more in each muffin cup. I hope they work out better if you try them again!

  59. Shawna says:

    Hi, I was so excited to make these and your “magic frosting”. Sadly my baking skill did not shine through. What did I do wrong, they melted all over the pan? I was even careful to try not and over fill the cups. My daughter says they taste wonderful but they are more like a ruined sugar cookie than cake. I thought I followed the recipe exactly, I even thought that the batter seemed kind of thick and was wondering if it was going to be too heavy. Well that was not a problem! LOL

  60. Mel says:

    Melanie – this recipe was never intended to be made into cake form – I don’t think the amounts translate well into converting it from cupcakes to a cake so I’m sorry it won’t be much help for your daughter’s birthday; however, as cupcakes, the recipe is fantastic. I have never made a from-scratch white cake I love, sadly.

  61. Melanie from SLC says:

    I was going to make this recipe as a cake for my daughter’s birthday, but now I’m a little leery about it turning out based on some of the comments. I would love to see you post a recipe for a white/vanilla cake that you think is fabulous–come on, Mel! I need a good one!

  62. Mel says:

    Cerise – I didn’t create this recipe, it came from an old Parade magazine and was sent to me by a reader so I’m not sure how all the amounts of baking powder/soda were calculated but generally, if there are acids in the recipe, like buttermilk, there is a presence of baking soda, like in this recipe. I’m not familiar with the theory of reducing the baking powder based on the acidity. I’m sorry these didn’t work out for you – they are a favorite around here and I don’t usually identify a cornbread taste to them, although they do have a buttery taste and texture.

  63. cerise says:

    I tried these cupcakes today. I was expecting great things, based on your Magical (it really is!) frosting recipe. I have been baking a long time, so I know how to follow directions. Nonetheless, my cupcakes came out bready, reminiscent of corn bread. And they tasted of excess leavening. My understanding is that recipes are supposed to reduce the amount of baking powder when using acids like buttermilk. I wonder if you forgot to make this adjustment?

    Now I have to start over using another recipe– these are for a birthday party tonight, so I’m really disappointed.

  64. LWong says:

    What a cute website! The cupcakes were delicious and had a buttery flavor. They were moist even after 2 days in the fridge. Looking forward to a 2nd batch with your buttercream frosting. Thanks for the recipe.

  65. Mel says:

    Lorrie – you might just try googling a chocolate buttercream recipe versus trying to adapt this one. I’ve had my eye on this one from Ina Garten:

    Chocolate Frosting:

    6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
    1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
    1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

    Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

  66. Lorrie says:

    How much cocoa powder o u think I should add if I want it to be chocolate buttercream frosting?

  67. Karen says:

    HI – I am a first time “drive by” and am amazed at what you have done. Thank you so much for your approach to ease. I have a question, for your frosting, have you ever tried Pastry Pride? It is a whipped topping which comes frozen. It has to be thawed and I have been using it in my frosting.

  68. Barbs says:

    BEST CUPCAKES EVER…. no need to look anywhere else for recipe!

  69. Vicki says:

    Hi Mel, I hope you are doing well!

    Can you make the frosting a day in advance?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Vicki – yes, you can make the frosting in advance. Just make sure to pull it out of the refrigerator about an hour or so (at cool room temperature) before you need to frost. It may even benefit from a quick re-whip with an electric mixer but it should be fine made in advance.

  70. Deb says:

    You don’t probably need another comment saying how awesome these are but I’m gonna leave one anyway :). Really liked these. They came together easy and the frosting was so yummy – love how that little bit of cream cheese takes the edge off the sweetness. I made these into Easter bunnies – I don’t see them lasting the day.

  71. Mel says:

    Stacey – I have a Bosch and use my cookie paddles (that are probably like a Kitchenaid beater attchment). I learned my lesson the hard way when I broke my whisk attachment making this because it is pretty stiff until you add in the heavy cream.

  72. Stacey says:

    Hi Mel,
    When making frosting, would you suggest using the beater attachment or the whisk attachment? Thank you!

  73. Irina Vasilyeva says:

    I just made this frosting. It is indeed delicious, but I would prefer more cream cheese. Great decorating!!!!!! The polar bears are out of this world.

  74. Pania says:

    Awesome thankyou so much!

  75. Mel says:

    Hi Pania – here is a great online calculator to help you convert recipes to other measurements, like grams:

  76. Pania says:

    Hi there,

    In New Zealand when baking the butter measurement are always measured in grams, so I’m always confused (it’s not hard) when baking with an American recipe, can you please convert the butter measurement into grams please, if possible?

    Many many thanks in advance,


  77. Mel says:

    MrsC – never tried it but I think it’s probably worth a go. I’d definitely drain the pineapple so as not to add too much liquid to the batter…good luck!

  78. MrsC says:

    I love the way this recipe sounds…my hubby wants a pineapple flavor in the cupcake..can i just add in crushed pineapples???

  79. Millie says:

    Yum yum yum! The vanilla cupcakes sound great and so does the frosting! The frosting with the polar bear looks soooooo cuuuuute 🙂
    Question: is the frosting really sweet, or not too sweet? Because I don’t like sickeningly sweet frosting.
    And what is buttermilk? Do you know a replacement for it?
    Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Millie – the frosting is moderately sweet – just a typical buttercream frosting. Buttermilk is like sour milk. You can substitute one cup of milk mixed with one tablespoon lemon juice.

  80. Ashley says:

    If the frosting isn’t holding it’s shape try adding merengue powder. Wilton’s makes some. I have it at my walmart. It helps to keep the shape of the frosting when you pipe it. I live in Az too and the heat can do funny biz

  81. Jnl2211 says:

    Oh one more thing, I seriously asked my husband if they sold butter in bigger cases while we were at Costco….that’s how much I’m making cupcakes and frostings from your blog 🙂

  82. Jnl2211 says:

    Thanks for replying so quickly! Well, at least it’s not that I’m doing something wrong. So my search has ended then in a box mix replica 🙂 and I have the best vanilla cake recipe thanks to you 🙂 I LOVE your blog!

  83. Mel says:

    Jnl2211 – it is almost impossible to replicate cake mix texture and flavor mostly because cake mixes have artificial flavors and additives that aren’t available to the home cook. I watched Alton Brown’s Good Eats one time where explained the “cake mix phenomenon.” His theory is that the home cook will never be able to make a from-scratch cake or cupcakes that taste like a cake mix because of the other ingredients in a cake mix (preservatives, additives, etc.). Since I far prefer the flavor and texture and taste of a homemade cake/cupcake, that isn’t a big issue for me, but I’m sorry that these cupcakes fell short of what you wanted! It’s a bummer when you want something to turn out differently than it does!

  84. Mel says:

    Anna – by mixing, I mean incorporating the ingredients together. You can use a handheld or electric mixer to do the job.

  85. Mel says:

    Jeni – I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer your question in time (I am just returning from vacation and had limited access to email). Did you end up using this frosting recipe? I would highly recommend it for a good piping frosting. Hope it turned out well!

  86. Jnl2211 says:

    Made these today. Although they are the best scratch vanilla cupcakes I’ve tried, moist and fluffy. I still prefer the boxed vanilla cake flavor 🙁 it seems that all the vanilla scratch cupcakes I make remind me of a cornbread type flavor? Any ideas why? I can taste vanilla and they’re moist but the flavor still reminds me of cornbread. Anyway, thanks so much for all your recipes! I’ve been cooking from your blog for a week straight now!!

  87. anna says:

    Hi, I would like to clarify what do you mean by mix it? Mix as in I have to use a mixer with low speed to mix the eggs, vanilla, flour and buttermilk? Or how ? Please do explain so that I can make the cupcake correctly.

  88. Jeni says:

    Hi Melanie! I have been a long time follower of your blog and am waiting until I am in a time crunch to post a comment/question. Of course!! I am making some cupcakes for my sons birthday party tomorrow and am wanting to make a yummy homemade frosting that I can pipe onto the top of the cupcakes and I am wanting to frost them in the morning and have them hold out until the afternoon party. Is this a good frosting recipe for that? Is it sturdy enough to be piped and hold its shape and hang out for a couple of hours? Thanks so much for your help and for all of your fabulous recipes!!

  89. cindy says:

    made these 2day … they came out gr8…. light & fluffy, yet moist. & the butter-cream frosting was so delicious!!!

  90. Anna says:

    Have you ever tried this as a cake?? My “go to” cake recipe isn’t so “go to” anymore!

  91. […] The recipe (From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe) […]

  92. Sonya says:

    Mel, you would think after all this time of following your blog I would be smart enough not to stray to others, but that is exactly what I did. I tried a different frosting recipe and it was horrible. At least I was smart enough to just toss the failure in the trash and come check your site for a frosting recipe. This frosting was perfect (as usual). I did add 1 cup of melted white chocolate to the mixer and it fluffed up perfectly and was a dream to pipe. Thanks once again for your great recipes.

  93. Angie says:

    Great recipe- I love the frosting! One problem- I live in AZ, and I am having a hard time keeping the frosting from melting at room temp. I have tried to refrigerate the frosted cupcakes, but once they get to room temp, they start to lose that pretty 1M swirl, and the frosting looks more like blobs. I read somewhere to add DreamWhip to the frosting, but I don’t want to change the taste of it? Any suggestions?

    • Mel says:

      Angie – I’m not familiar with DreamWhip but you might just try stabilizing the icing by using a bit more powdered sugar than normal. It will help the frosting keep it’s shape.

  94. Bri says:

    Do these freeze well?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Bri – I’ve never frozen the cupcakes, mostly because I don’t like how cupcakes taste after they are frozen, but that is a personal preference type of thing. I’m sure like any cake, if they are covered well, they should freeze ok.

  95. Kayla says:

    We love this frosting. We haven’t tried the cake yet (but oh, we so will), but the frosting is awesome and wonderful and we can’t make enough. We also ended up making variations upon it. Adding dark cocoa powder to one batch made some awesome chocolate frosting I’m not sure how much we added, though. We kind of just stick our fingers in and taste test most days. We also added lemon extract to another batch, and it was the lightest, lemony frosting ever. The chocolate went on a chocolate cake, the lemon went on a cinnamon cake, and some regular vanilla went on a yellow cake. We’ve had people rave at us for this frosting, and two months later, I’m still getting requests for baked goods out the wazoo.

    Your food blog is awesome and makes my life easier. Woot!

  96. Bliss says:

    Oh my gosh!!! I have been SEARCHING for a cake recipe I can try out that I can sub out milk and soy for…. It’s been in front of me all along! My 10 month old, Marie, has both milk and soy allergies, so conventional cake mix is out of the question. I was easily able to sub 1/2 c almond milk and a T of lemon juice for the buttermilk, and used a safe butter substitute. I still made the frosting for us, just kept a few mini cupcakes for Marie without it. They were absolutely AMAZING!! Super duper simple to make, and mouthwatering. DH said I should make these once a week. He said that they are a close contender to his favorite (Homemade German Chocolate) for his birthday next week!

  97. Stephanie says:

    I made these cupcakes and they were DELICIOUS!! Any idea how they would fare as a cake? What changes might I need to make to the recipe or cooking directions?

  98. sara sanchez says:

    what kind of sugar is on the little snowman?? thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Sara – the snowman cupcakes are dusted with the white sanding sugar. You can easily find this at most craft stores (like Hobby Lobby) in the cake decorating aisle.

  99. Stacie D. says:

    I made these yesterday for a birthday get-together for a friend. Oh my. They were to die for! Sadly, mine fell too, and I was a little concerned, but once they were frosted, no one knew. I’ll bake them a minute or two longer next time…didn’t want them to over-bake and they passed the toothpick test…but maybe longer will be better. The frosting was fabulous too…these are a new go-to for me! Thank you!

  100. Dixie says:

    Seriously Mel, why you gotta be so amazing? Adorable cupcakes never cease to amaze me. 🙂

  101. KarenC says:

    I made these yesterday. They were so yummy. This is the first time I’ve ever made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Usually chocolate is my flavor of choice. The batter was a little thicker than I am used to, so I was a bit concerned that I didn’t do something right. But… they were moist and tender and full of vanilla flavor. The frosting is fabulous. It’s going to be my go to frosting from now on.

    Thanks for a great recipe, Mel.

  102. Carlee says:

    Mel. I just got myself a KitcheAid mixer for Chirstmas and was planning to make cupcakes for my brother’s birthday in February. I will certainly be using this recipe for the occasion.

  103. Jacquelyn Koll says:

    I made these today and they were fantastic. They are so moist and have the perfect flavor and texture. I also decided to try your “magical” frosting instead and, yes, I could actually eat it out of the bowl LOL It wasn’t nearly has time extensive as I thought it would be and was very easy, really. Looking forward to trying the buttercream frosting and your chocolate cake recipe too!

  104. Jenna says:

    The polar bear cupcakes are so cute.

  105. Lindsay says:

    I believe that under-baking was my issue as well! I definitely plan to try them again because the flavor was WONDERFUL! I am actually going to make them tomorrow. Hehehe! I decorated my “fallen” cupcakes with a rich chocolate swirl and no one at my husband’s work knew they had fallen. They couldn’t get enough of them!

  106. Patricia says:

    I see what you meant. Thank you!!

  107. Patricia says:

    In the list of ingredients – it calls for 1/2 cup of buttermilk. In the directions it has to add 1/2 cup of buttermilk two times. So I am not sure which is correct. Am I reading it wrong?

    • Mel says:

      Patricia – it might seem confusing but if you look closely, the instructions actually say to add “1/2 of the buttermilk” so you will only be adding 1/4 cup of the buttermilk at a time as you interchange mixing it with the dry ingredients. Does that make sense? I’ll edit the recipe to be a little more clear since I can see why it might seem confusing.

  108. grace says:

    wait for it…yep, there’s the involuntary ‘awwww.’ 🙂

  109. Cammee says:

    My baby turns 2 later this month. I’m thinking he would love those polar bears! And I will love that they are not chocolate. 🙂 Can’t wait to try this cupcake recipe. Why is it that anything with buttermilk is superior?

  110. Veronica says:

    The polar bear cupcakes are just ADORABLE!!! I so have to make those next Christmas. Thank you for another BEST recipe–I will be trying it. I’ve made your chocolate cake three times in the last couple months, by the way, and I’m making another one tomorrow. 🙂 It is the ONLY scratch cake recipe I use right now b/c up until that one, the box mix was always better.

  111. Brandi says:

    Mel….you are amazing as always. I share your site with all my friends. As a busy mama of 4 kids under 6 (just like you!) I appreciate the tried and true recipes, I don’t have a lot of time to practice, so your site makes my life a LOT easier. Keep up the amazing work!

  112. Lindsay says:

    I was so excited about these cupcakes! I consider myself to be a pretty good baker (I want to open a bakery one day.), but when I made these tonight they fell when I took them out of the oven to cool. Any ideas on what might have gone wrong? I really like the flavor of the cake, but mine just look sad.

    Also, did you use whole or non-fat buttermilk? Maybe that was the problem.

    • Mel says:

      Lindsay – I’m sorry to hear these cupcakes fell when you took them out of the oven. I’ve had that happen only once when I made them and it was because I underbaked them slightly and the middles weren’t done enough to hold up after baking. It’s a tricky balance baking them perfectly so as not to under- or over-bake. I always use lowfat buttermilk when baking, just as a note. I hope they work out better if you try them again! When mine fell, I still frosted them with a pretty swirl and the eaters were none the wiser.

  113. Renee says:

    SUPER cute! …And I’m all over the cupcake recipe too. 😉 I make my buttercream frosting just like yours, except without the cream cheese. I bet that it’s a great addition though. When I need chocolate frosting, I use the same recipe and mix in 1/2 c. cocoa powder (mol). It’s one of our favorites. Yummy!

  114. Abby says:

    I’ve got a baby shower coming up in a couple of weeks and the mommy-to-be requested no chocolate for the cupcakes. I was thinking strawberry and vanilla. Thanks for the recipe!

  115. MaijaSFO says:

    I just stumbled upon your site from Tasty Kitchen and have spent a couple hours perusing + printing out recipes to try. You’ve got great practical yet interesting recipes. Can’t wait to try these cupcakes and frosting out for my son’s birthday! Thanks!

  116. Chelsea says:

    Wow, those are so adorable, and the recipe even sounds tasty! I agree- sacrificing taste for appearance sucks.

  117. zoe says:

    Those paws looks so cute. Very creative!! I can’t wait to try the cupcakes recipe. I’ve been looking for the perfect frosting recipe.. now I’ve found it. >.<

  118. Kim in MD says:

    Hi Mel- I am so excited to see you featured on Tasty Kitchen today! Congratulations! You deserve it! 🙂

  119. Whit says:

    I have a question: I’ve tried making cupcakes from scratch and every time I do, they flop. They spill out of the cupcake tin and all over my oven.
    Any suggestions?

  120. Geneil says:

    I just bought one of the Hello, Cupcake books for my daughter. We’re planning on making the Penguin cupcakes for her birthday party this Saturday. I think I’ll try your recipes for them. BTW, just found your through Tasty Kitchen and it’s fantastic. I’ve been in such a food rut and I love food blogs, but sometimes they are just not practical, you know? Yours looks beautiful and practical. I’m going to try several of your recipes right away (Asian Lettuce Wraps, for example). Thank you!

  121. What ADORABLE cupcakes! Love the Polar Bears! I have been on the hunt for a great vanilla cake recipe and will totally have to give this one a try!

  122. I completely agree- it really frustrates me when cupcakes look so terrific and then end up being dry or overly sweet or something. You do look like a decorating rockstar:-)

  123. HollyL says:

    These are the cutest cupcakes I have ever seen!! I am definatley going to try out this buttercream frosting soon! Congrats on being the Tasty kitchen featured member : ) So cool!

  124. Auntie Patch says:

    Love the polar bears! Are the paws marshmellows?

    • Mel says:

      Auntie Patch and Kim – for the polar bears, the paws are white gumdrops that are piped with chocolate frosting. The muzzle/nose is also a white gumdrop. The ears are cheerios lightly frosted with coconut stuck to the tops. Hope that helps! (Oh, and the “body” is a donut hole frosted to the cupcake.)

  125. Jessica says:

    What a wonderful way to bring in the morning…with buttermilk and buttercream frosting!!! How magical. Love the designs you made on your cupcakes, very adorable.

  126. Kim in MD says:

    What adorable cupcakes! I love the polar bear and the snowman…so cute! Don’t you hate when you have a gorgeous cupcake or peice of cake that tastes bland and dry? A perfect , moist yellow cake recipe is on my list of “still haven’t perfected” recipes. I am going to try your recipe, Mel. If you say it is incredible, then I know it will be! I love the frosting recipe, too. I find that most easy (all butter) buttercreams are usually too sweet for my taste. The addition of cream cheese cuts the sweetness…I bet it’s amazing! I can’t wait to try it and report back! 🙂

    P.S. Mel- could you please share what candies/etc., you used to make the polar bear? I can see the coconut “fur”, but it looks like the paws are gum drops? I just love it…great job! 🙂

  127. Jacquelyn Koll says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I recently made a Paula Deen yellow cake recipe for my son’s 1st birthday – I made two batches of cupcakes; my husband I tasted the second one and thought it was so good; but I used the first batch for his cake . . when I bit into it at the party it was like sawdust and i almost cried. So – I decided I would use the time between now and my other sons birthday in October to find a “white” and “chocolate” homemade cake/cupcake recipe that is “go to” . I want birthday cakes to be special and not out of a box. So, I think that this coming weekend I’ll try both of the above recipes 🙂 Thanks!

  128. I have been looking and looking for a good vanilla cake recipe. Just might have to give it a try. They look super cute, Melanie!

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