Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes with Oil – no butter

Vanilla cupcake recipe with oil – say hello to the most moist and tender cupcakes you’ll ever taste! These beauties are a game-changer: think light-as-air texture, a delicate crumb, and all without a speck of butter. Each bite is like a little cloud of vanilla bliss, topped with a dreamy swirl of frosting. And the best part? The oil makes these cupcakes unbelievably moist, guaranteeing a perfect treat every time!

Bite shot of a moist vanilla cupcake with oil topped with vanilla buttercream frosting.

If you’re on the hunt for an easy cupcake recipe, look no further! I’m sharing my perfect vanilla cupcake recipe without butter that’s a total game-changer. Imagine cupcakes so moist and fluffy you’d think they’re clouds. Made with simple ingredients, these cupcakes have a tender crumb and are super moist, thanks to the secret ingredient: vegetable oil.

The vanilla flavor in these homemade vanilla cupcakes is just perfect – not too overpowering, but enough to make your taste buds dance. The best part? They’re easy to make, so you can whip up a batch whenever the mood strikes. Top them with your favorite frosting, though I suggest a classic vanilla buttercream to keep those lovely vanilla notes going strong.

For more delectable treats, don’t forget to check out my recipes for Red Velvet Cupcakes, decadent Salted Caramel Cake, a Moist Chocolate Cake that’s to die for, and a classic Carrot Cake.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • Incredibly moist vanilla cupcakes
  • Fluffy and easy to make batter
  • Ideal for birthday parties and special occasions
  • Can be made ahead, staying moist and delicious
  • Topped with velvety vanilla buttercream frosting
  • A great recipe that guarantees moist crumbs every time

Ingredient Notes

  • Cake Flour: Essential for a soft texture. Cake flour gives these cupcakes their signature tender crumb.
  • Baking Powder: The leavening agent that makes these cupcakes rise to perfection. Ensure it’s fresh for the best results.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to balance the flavors.
  • Sugar: For that sweet, irresistible taste.
  • Oil: The secret to super moist cupcakes. Vegetable or canola oil works best.
  • Egg: Use room temperature eggs for a smoother batter.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste will add a rich, aromatic flavor.
  • Sour Cream: Adds moisture and a subtle tang. Full-fat sour cream is recommended for the best texture.
  • Milk: Whole milk will give you the most moist crumbs. It’s essential for the batter’s consistency.

Be sure to check out the recipe card for the full ingredient list below

Equipment

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 16 cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  3. Mix in oil, egg, vanilla, sour cream and milk until combined, beat for 1-2 minutes until batter is smooth.
  4. Pour batter into liners, filling each about ⅔ full (approx. 50g). Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 mins.
  5. Let cupcakes cool for 5 mins in pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Top with frosting and enjoy!

Tip: For uniform cupcakes, measure out the batter for each cupcake using a kitchen scale and ice scream scoop.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

When it comes to topping these delightful moist vanilla cupcakes, my go-to is always a simple, fluffy vanilla buttercream. It’s like the proverbial cherry on top – but even better! This buttercream adds not just a creamy sweetness but also a beautiful, smooth texture that pairs wonderfully with the tender crumb of the cupcakes. It’s the kind of topping that turns a batch of vanilla cupcakes for good to the best ever.

Ingredients:

  • Butter: The base of the frosting, providing richness and structure.
  • Powdered Sugar: Adds sweetness and smoothness.
  • Cream: For creaminess and spreadability.
  • Vanilla: Enhances the flavor, complementing the cupcake.
  • Salt: A pinch to balance the sweetness.

Preparation:

  1. Start with Softened Butter: Use a paddle attachment in your mixer for a smooth, creamy texture.
  2. Gradually Add Powdered Sugar: This ensures the frosting remains lump-free.
  3. Pour in Cream and Vanilla: Adjust the cream to get your desired consistency.
  4. Add a Pinch of Salt: This enhances the overall flavor profile.
  5. Whip Until Fluffy: Mix until the frosting is light and airy, perfect for spreading or piping.

Once your cupcakes are completely cooled, use a piping bag to pipe the frosting on top of the cupcake, or simply spread it on for a classic look. This vanilla frosting will elevate your simple vanilla cupcakes, making them irresistible!

vanilla buttercream on cupcakes topped with sprinkles.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Gluten-Free Flour: Swap cake flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour for a gluten-free option.
  • Bourbon Vanilla: Enhances depth with a rich, smoky note. Substitute equal parts for vanilla extract.
  • Vanilla Beans: Scrape the seeds for an intense vanilla flavor and speckled appearance in the cupcakes.
  • Almond Extract: A dash adds a nutty twist. Pair with simple vanilla or chocolate frosting.
  • Chocolate Frosting: A classic choice. Complements the vanilla cupcakes with its rich, creamy texture.
  • Strawberry Buttercream: Adds a fruity punch. Perfect for a summer twist.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: For a tangy flavor, swap traditional frosting with cream cheese frosting.
vanilla cupcake with buttercream and sprinkles.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature Storage: Store the vanilla cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. They stay fresh for up to 3 days.
  • Refrigerator Tips: If frosted, it’s best to store cupcakes in the fridge, especially if using cream cheese or buttercream frosting. Place in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.
  • How to Freeze: Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 months. Wrap each cupcake individually in plastic wrap, then place in a ziplock bag. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  • Avoid Moisture in Freezing: When freezing, ensure cupcakes are completely cooled to prevent condensation and soggy cupcakes upon thawing.

expert Tips

  • Ice Cream Scoop for Batter: For perfectly even cupcakes, use an ice cream scoop to pour batter into the pan. This ensures each cupcake is the same size.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Bring all ingredients to room temperature for a smoother batter and even baking. This is especially important for milk and eggs.
  • Cooling Process: Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. This prevents them from becoming soggy.
  • Avoid Overmixing: Mix batter just until ingredients are combined. Overmixing can lead to dense cupcakes, so stop as soon as you see no more dry flour.
  • Check for Doneness: Test cupcakes with a toothpick. It should come out with a few moist crumbs for the perfect cupcake texture. Avoid overbaking to maintain moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this recipe without a hand mixer?

Yes, you can make this recipe without a hand mixer. While a mixer makes the process quicker and ensures a smooth batter, you can certainly mix the ingredients by hand. Use a whisk or a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine the sugar and oil, and then blend in the egg and vanilla. Be sure to mix until the batter is smooth and consistent. It requires a bit more effort, but the results can be just as good!

What can I use if I don’t have cake flour?

If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a substitute using all-purpose flour and cornstarch. For every cup of cake flour needed, measure out a cup of all-purpose flour, remove two tablespoons of it, and replace them with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift this mixture a few times to ensure it’s well combined and aerated. This mimics the lighter, finer texture of cake flour.

How do I know when my cupcakes are done?

The best way to check if your cupcakes are done is to insert a toothpick or a skewer into the center of a cupcake. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, the cupcakes are ready. Be careful not to overbake, as this can dry them out. Additionally, the cupcakes should spring back when lightly pressed, and they will start to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.

Can I use a different type of oil instead of vegetable oil?

Yes, you can use different types of oil in this recipe. Any neutral-flavored oil like canola, sunflower, or even a light olive oil will work well. Avoid strongly flavored oils like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, as they can alter the taste of your cupcakes. The key is to use an oil that won’t overpower the vanilla flavor.

Is it necessary to use room temperature ingredients?

Using room temperature ingredients is highly recommended for this recipe. Room temperature eggs, milk, and sour cream blend more easily into the batter, leading to a smoother and more homogenous mixture. This results in cupcakes that bake more evenly and have a better texture. To bring ingredients to room temperature quickly, you can place eggs in warm water for a few minutes, and heat milk and sour cream slightly in the microwave.

bite shot of a fluffy vanilla cupcake topped with buttercream frosting and sprinkles.

More Cake and Cupcakes Recipes

If you loved these vanilla cupcakes made with oil, check out these other great recipes.

If you make this recipe, take a photo and tag #bakedambrosia on Instagram and Facebook so that I can see your creations and feature them on Instagram! To stay up to date with the latest recipes, follow Baked Ambrosia on PinterestFacebookInstagram, and Youtube. ♡

Bite shot of a moist vanilla cupcake with oil topped with vanilla buttercream frosting.

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes with Oil

Angelina Papanikolaou
Vanilla cupcake recipe with oil – say hello to the most moist and tender cupcakes you'll ever taste! These beauties are a game-changer: think light-as-air texture, a delicate crumb, and all without a speck of butter. Each bite is like a little cloud of vanilla bliss, topped with a dreamy swirl of frosting. And the best part? The oil makes these cupcakes unbelievably moist, guaranteeing a perfect treat every time.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 cupcakes
Calories 343 kcal

Equipment

  • Kitchen scale
  • Electric Mixer
  • Measuring Spoons & Cups
  • Spatula
  • Cupcake Pan
  • Cupcake liners
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Whisk
  • Piping Bags and Tips
  • Large Bowl

Ingredients 

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups Cake Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Oil
  • 1 large Egg room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream room temperature
  • 1/3 cup Milk room temperature

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup Butter room temperature
  • 2.5 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • sprinkles for topping

Instructions 

Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a cupcake pan with 16 cupcake liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
    1 1/2 cups Cake Flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder, 1/4 teaspoon Salt, 1 cup Sugar
  • Add in the oil, egg, vanilla extract, sour cream, and milk. Mix until just combined, then beat for 1-2 minutes until the batter is smooth and homogenous.
    1/2 cup Oil, 1 large Egg, 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract, 1/2 cup Sour Cream, 1/3 cup Milk
  • Distribute the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling each about ⅔ full (approximately 50g | 1 3/4 oz per cupcake). Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • In a mixer with a paddle attachment, start by beating the softened butter until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing continuously to keep the frosting smooth. Pour in the cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Continue to beat the frosting until it becomes light and fluffy.
    3/4 cup Butter, 2.5 cups Powdered Sugar, 1/3 cup Cream, 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Once the cupcakes are completely cool, top them with the frosting using a small offset spatula or piping bag. Top with sprinkles.
    sprinkles

Notes

Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature before beginning the recipe for the best results.
Gluten-Free Flour: Swap cake flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour for a gluten-free option.
Room Temperature Storage: Store the vanilla cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. They stay fresh for up to 3 days. Refrigerator Tips: If frosted, it’s best to store cupcakes in the fridge, especially if using cream cheese or buttercream frosting. Place in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.
Freeze: Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 months. Wrap each cupcake individually in plastic wrap, then place in a ziplock bag. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator. When freezing, ensure cupcakes are completely cooled to prevent condensation and soggy cupcakes upon thawing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcakeCalories: 343kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 2gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 227mgPotassium: 41mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 407IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 0.2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was and tag @bakedambrosia on Instagram

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