Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Everybody who knows me well knows I am a vanilla girl through and through. I would choose a vanilla cupcake or a golden Oreo over a brownie any day. This is a good (and bad) thing when you work in an elementary school because guess who else loves the vanilla-vanilla combo? Kids. I can never say no to a classic vanilla birthday cupcake (unless it's one of "those" cupcakes- teachers, you know what I'm saying). Vanilla cupcakes are always my go-to when I am in the mood to bake, but
this week I was baking with a purpose. My sweet niece Emily turns 3 today! She picked out Doc McStuffins for her birthday theme so these cupcakes are Doc McStuffins colored- they are just missing their cupcake toppers!

For the cupcakes I always use Sweetapolita's fluffy vanilla cake recipe. I have used this recipe for cupcakes and cakes and it never disappoints. I have also used her vanilla bean frosting recipe before which is great. For most cupcakes I use my own vanilla buttercream recipe and I did for these funfetti looking treats.

Vanilla Buttercream Cupcake Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 lb. bag confectioner sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (for stronger almond flavor you can add more, or you can omit and add more vanilla if you don't personally like almond flavor in your desserts)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream, add one tablespoon at a time. 8 tablespoons are in a 1/2 cup (the amount you add can vary based on the desired thickness of your frosting)


Beat the butter with a whisk attachment on high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the confectioner's sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes. Add lemon juice, flavor extracts and cream until you reach your desired thickness. Add coloring and pipe away! For these cupcakes I used my Wilton large round tip (#1A). 

A few tips for frosting cupcakes:

  • If you want a lighter, fluffier frosting, beat the frosting longer.
  • Add the cream 1 tablespoon at a time to control the thickness of your frosting.
  • If you are frosting a lot of cupcakes at once, store unused frosting in the refrigerator while you are decorating. Frosting will not pipe as well when it is sitting at room temperature. If it hardens in the fridge after a while simply beat it for a minute or two again in your stand mixer.
  • If you are topping with sprinkles, add the sprinkles immediately after frosting to ensure that they stick.
If you are new to piping cupcakes, I highly recommend reading this post from Glorious Treats. She is an extremely talented baker and she has a great "frosting for beginners" resource on her blog including videos. This picture from her blog is one of my favorite references when choosing a piping tip:

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