These vanilla buttermilk cupcakes with fantastic and easy buttercream frosting are so moist, so delicious, and so pretty!

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.

Cupcakes decorated like a polar bear on a plate with shredded coconut.

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).

Cupcakes decorated like snowmen on a cupcake tier.

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

alt=" "

Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes and Fantastic {Easy} Buttercream Frosting

4.62 stars (67 ratings)


Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, (12 tablespoons), softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • ½ cup 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For the frosting: 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.


Buttermilk: here is a guide for making your own buttermilk. 
Milk/Cream: you can substitute milk for the heavy cream but the frosting will be missing an element of silky creaminess.
Serving: 1 Cupcake, Calories: 379kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 85mg, Sodium: 250mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 41g

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