Vanilla Cupcakes

Hello friends! Today I will show you an easy Vanilla Cupcakes recipe. This is actually the best vanilla cupcake recipe I have ever made! Fluffy and moist vanilla cupcakes topped with a Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Make sure to watch the video on this page or on YouTube to check out how I made the best Vanilla Cupcakes in the world!

vanilla cupcakes topped with sprinkles.

If you come to my blog regularly, you know that plain flavors aren’t really something I make too often.

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But I always have requests for these plain and simple flavors.

Which is why I am posting this recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes today. Plain and simple moist and fluffy vanilla cupcakes, topped with the lightest frosting ever, Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

bitten vanilla cupcakes topped with sprinkles.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream tends to be a favorite for those who don’t enjoy overly sweet recipes.

American Buttercream, made from butter and powdered sugar tends to be super sweet, which I love.

But I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Enters Swiss Meringue Buttercream, a frosting made of egg whites, granulated sugar, and butter.

swiss meringue buttercream frosting piped inside of a glass jar, with a bag of frosting right next to it.

Making Swiss Meringue Buttercream is not complicated, but it does involve some intricacies in order to get a perfect frosting.

Tips on how to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Make sure the butter is at the right temperature. It needs to be at room temperature, about 72ºF. If the butter is too soft, the buttercream won’t come together, and it will be soupy and runny. And if the butter is cold, the buttercream will have little chunks of butter that won’t get incorporated, making for a lumpy frosting.
  • Heat the sugar and egg whites until they temp 140ºF, don’t let them get too much hotter than that. Also whisk the whites and sugar at all times when they are over the double boiler, otherwise the whites sitting on the bottom of the bowl will end up cooking cause they will get too hot.
  • Wipe down the bottom of the bowl to make sure no water gets into the whites you are whipping.
  • Don’t get any water, grease, or yolks in the whites, otherwise they won’t whip properly.
  • Wipe down your bowl, whisk, and spatulas with vinegar before starting, to make sure the materials are grease free and don’t get in contact with the whites before whipping.
  • Make absolute sure the butter is at room temperature before starting to add the butter to the meringue.
swiss meringue buttercream inside of a piping bag with vanilla cupcakes around it.

Troubleshooting Swiss Meringue Buttercream

If you are making the Swiss Meringue Buttercream for your Vanilla Cupcakes and then find out that the frosting isn’t coming together, or it’s lumpy, then you may have ran into some technical issues.

Let’s check out how to solve them.

Soupy Swiss Meringue Buttercream

If the Swiss Meringue Buttercream isn’t coming together, if it’s too runny, not becoming creamy no matter how long you whip it, it could mean a couple of things:

1- You didn’t whip the meringue to stiff peaks before you started to add the butter.

2- The butter was too warm.

How to troubleshoot soupy and runny Swiss Meringue Buttercream: what I recommend doing is placing the bowl with the frosting in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes, and then trying to whip it again. If after a couple of minutes whipping it still doesn’t come together, repeat this, place it in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes and try to whip it again. It should come together nicely. If it doesn’t than that means the meringue was too soft before adding the butter in, so nothing you do at this point will make it work.

Lumpy Swiss Meringue Buttercream

If the buttercream is lumpy, with chunks of butter in it, it means that the butter was too cold when you started to add it in.

You can try leaving the bowl at room temperature for 30 minutes or so, and then try to whip it again. This is not guaranteed to work, as the buttercream might still have air pockets or butter lumps that just won’t incorporate no matter how long you let it sit.

To avoid any issues, follow my tips, make sure the butter is at room temperature (not cold, not warm) before adding. The butter should be at 72ºF. Also make sure that the meringue is at stiff peaks before adding the butter in.

vanilla cupcakes topped with sprinkles.

This recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream will be enough to frost 14 Vanilla Cupcakes.

You can easily double the recipe to make 28 cupcakes, and enough frosting to pipe on top of 28 cupcakes.

vanilla cupcakes in a baking tray, with colorful paper liners.

Tips on how to make the best Vanilla Cupcakes

Here are some tips on how to make perfect moist vanilla cupcakes:

  • Make sure the ingredients such as butter, eggs, milk are at room temperature before starting. The butter won’t cream well if it’s cold, and the eggs and milk won’t incorporate well with the other ingredients if they aren’t at room temperature.
  • Check to see if the baking powder is fresh by sprinkling 1/2 tsp of baking powder over 1/4 cup of hot water. If the mixture bubbles up, it’s good to go.
  • Also check to see if the baking soda is fresh, sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda over a teaspoon of vinegar. It should fizz. If it doesn’t, get a new baking soda.
  • Once you add the flour in the batter, don’t over-mix. The more you mix the flour the more gluten you will develop, which will make for dry and touch cupcakes.
  • Don’t over bake the vanilla cupcakes. Over baking the cupcakes will cause them to become dry and tough. Touch the cupcakes with your finger, if they spring back, you should remove it from the oven.

Here on this article I have a lot more tips on how to make better cupcakes.

Read my 12 Cupcake Tips: How to make perfect cupcakes every time!

bitten vanilla cupcakes topped with sprinkles.

These Vanilla Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream are a dream, they are fluffy, moist, and not overly sweet!

Here are some more cupcake recipes you may enjoy:

vanilla cupcakes topped with sprinkles.

I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe. Watch the video on YouTube or on this page showing you how to make this delicious easy vanilla cupcake recipe.

Thank you for reading!

vanilla cupcakes topped with sprinkles.
vanilla cupcakes topped with sprinkles.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Camila Hurst
These delicious Vanilla Cupcakes are frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This frosting is absolutely beautiful and it’s perfect for people who don’t like overly sweet desserts. Swiss meringue buttercream is creamy and light like a cloud. This is the best vanilla cupcake recipe ever!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 18 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 18 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 14 cupcakes
Calories 200 kcal

Ingredients
  

Vanilla Cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 191 grams
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened 113 grams
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk room temperature 120 ml
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams
  • 18 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature (255 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF, and line 14 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
  • Next, sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed, for about 1 minute.
  • Add the sugar and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each egg until combined before adding the next.
  • Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  • Add half of the milk and mix.
  • Now add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix to combine.
  • Pour the rest of the milk in and stir.
  • Finally, add the last bit of flour and mix to incorporate. I like to finish mixing with a spatula instead of the mixer, in order to not over-mix the flour with the batter which could result in dry and tough cupcakes later.
  • Pour the batter evenly onto the cupcake tins, filling about 2/3 of the way.
  • Bake for about 18 minutes. Start checking if the cupcakes are baked at the 15 minute mark, and keep baking and checking as necessary.
  • To see if the cupcakes are ready, gently press with your finger on top of the cupcakes, and if they spring right back, that means they are done baking.
  • Let the cupcakes cool down before filling and frosting.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • To make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, first make sure the butter is at room temperature. If it’s too soft, it won’t work, because the buttercream will be runny and soupy, and if the butter is still chilled, even if slightly, it will form small lumps of butter in your buttercream and you won’t be able to achieve smooth results.
  • The perfect texture for the butter is: softened, but still keeping its shape, instead of melting or spreading out. The butter temperature should be around 72ºF.
  • Once the butter is at room temperature, cut it into thin slices, and set aside. Now, mix the egg whites and granulated sugar in a heat proof bowl.
  • Place the bowl over a small pan with barely simmering water to form a double boiler.
  • Make sure the bottom of the bowl won’t be in contact with the water in the pan, because you don’t want the egg whites to cook in the double boiler.
  • Whisk the sugar and egg whites until they reach 140ºF (60ºC), that’s a safe temperature for the egg whites to be consumed.
  • Once whites and sugar have achieved this temperature, and sugar is completely melted, remove it from the heat.
  • In an electric mixer, beat the meringue with the whisk attachment on, at high speed, until stiff peaks form.
  • This might take from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your mixer. On my hand-mixer, it takes me about 10 minutes, but it takes me about 5 minutes on my KitchenAid.
  • The meringue should be glossy and white.
  • Now start to add the butter, with the mixer on medium-high speed.
  • Add one slab of butter at a time. Waiting a few seconds before adding the next one.
  • Keep whipping until the buttercream looks creamy and fluffy, and all the butter has been incorporated. This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the butter, and how well the meringue has been whipped.
  • Lastly, add the vanilla bean paste or extract.
To assemble
  • Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice.
  • Pipe the Swiss Meringue Buttercream on top of the cupcakes. Top with sprinkles if desired.
Storage
  • These Vanilla Cupcakes will store well in the fridge for up to 5 days, covered well.
  • You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months.
  • To thaw the cupcakes remove them from the freezer and thaw in the fridge for a few hours.
  • The Swiss Meringue Buttercream can also be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw let it sit in the fridge overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour or so, then beat with the mixer to make it creamy again.

Notes

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Troubleshooting tips: if the buttercream is looking soupy, or doesn’t seem to become fluffy and creamy, it might be for a couple of reasons. Number one: you didn’t whip the meringue until stiff peaks were formed, and in this case, it will be very hard to get this buttercream to work, and you mostly likely have to start over. However, if the buttercream is looking soupy and runny, it might also be the case that your kitchen is too hot, or the butter was too soft when you started to add it. And in this case, it might work to place the bowl of the mixer in the freezer for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove from the freezer and go back to whipping, and your meringue will mostly likely start to get creamy and fluffy.
Vanilla Bean Paste: if you don’t have it, feel free to use vanilla extract.
Storage: store the cupcakes covered so they don’t dry out in the fridge.
Freezing: you can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months. And you can also freeze the frosting for up to 2 months. Make sure to package both really well. To thaw the cupcakes remove them from the freezer and thaw in the fridge for a few hours. To thaw the Swiss Meringue Buttercream let it sit in the fridge overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour or so, then beat with the mixer to make it creamy again.
 
 
Keyword cupcakes, vanilla

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve tried a couple of swiss meringue buttercreams and they’d never turn out. But this recipe it always turns out flawless I make 1.5 batches of this cream to cover cakes and decorate! Thank you for your tips and amazing recipe!

  2. Hello, can I ask a weird question? is there a difference between vanilla cupcakes and vanilla bean cupcakes? thank you

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