These classic vanilla cupcakes with oil are moist, fluffy and very easy to bake. These cupcakes are packed with strong vanilla flavor and light in texture because of the use of oil which keeps them moist for days. You need a few minutes to bake them and frost them with an amazing butter cream frosting which is super easy to make as well. Love cupcakes? Try my Cinnamon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Strawberry Crunch Cupcakes.
why this recipe works?
- These vanilla cupcakes with oil are easy to assemble in no time.
- The texture of these cupcakes is moist and super light.
- These vanilla cupcakes will stay fresh for days because of the use of oil instead of butter.
- This recipe will work as a base cupcake recipe for many other flavor such as chocolate cupcakes or strawberry cupcakes.
- You'll need a few simple pantry ingredients to bake these cupcakes.
- This is a one-bowl recipe.
Table of Contents
base cupcake recipe
The beauty of vanilla is that it can be paired with so many fruits, berries and chocolate and you cannot go wrong with any of the pairing. I would say you keep this vanilla cupcake recipe as a foundation recipe and feel free to build around it with any flavor of your choice.
There are so many fillings, numerous flavors and different frosting that you can easily use with this base recipe. The perfect way to create several types of cupcakes using and altering just one simple foundation recipe.
oil vs. butter
The basic difference between these cupcakes and traditional cupcakes recipe is the use of vegetable oil instead of butter.
Oil makes the cupcakes moist and tender keeping them fresh way longer than the butter cupcakes. The difference is that butter has saturated fats while oil has unsaturated fats.
Oil captures the gases that are released by the leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda) and it also prevents the formation of gluten in the cupcakes, which then results in moist and tender crumb that we love.
ingredients for vanilla cupcakes with oil
Pro Tip # 1
Always use room temperature ingredients for baking (unless otherwise specified) as they incorporate better and give perfect baked treats.
- Vegetable Oil: will make the cupcakes moist, fluffy and light in texture.
- Castor Sugar: used to sweeten the cupcakes.
- All-Purpose Flour: helps with the structure of these cupcakes. Use a digital scale for perfect results.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: create bubbles in the cupcake batter and helps with the rise of the cupcakes.
- Salt: balances the sweet flavor and further enhances the cupcakes.
- Vanilla Extract: is the main ingredients of these cupcakes.
- Whole Milk: the protein and fat content makes the texture rich.
- Eggs: helps to bind the ingredients together in the batter.
Butter Cream Frosting:
- Butter: use high-quality and unsalted butter.
- Vanilla extract: use high-quality vanilla extract to get the perfect flavor.
- Salt: balances the sweetness and enhances the flavor.
- Icing Sugar
- Heavy cream or whipping cream
Pro Tip # 2
Always use a digital scale to measure all-purpose flour and other dry ingredients for perfect results. Scooping it out directly using cups may result in uneven amount of dry ingredients and dense bakes.
- Lemon: If you like tangy lemon-ish flavor, add lemon zest (one teaspoon) in the cupcake batter.
- Orange: Add one teaspoon orange zest to give these cupcakes zesty orange flavor.
- Cardamom: Add one teaspoon cardamom powder to the batter to give it a cardamom flavor.
- Sprinkles: Decorate the cupcakes with colorful sprinkles as I did in this recipe.
how to make vanilla cupcakes with oil
These are basic process shots for this recipe. For detailed instructions refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1. Take a bowl and add all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk together and set aside.
2. Cream the vegetable oil and sugar together. Then add eggs and vanilla extract.
3. Beat the wet ingredients until incorporated.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. The batter will be runny.
5. Using an ice-cream scoop, fill in the cake liners ⅔ and bake at preheated oven at 350 F for 18 – 22 minutes until a wooden stick inserted comes out clean without any liquid.
6. Let the cupcakes cool completely before applying butter cream frosting on it.
7. Beat the butter and add vanilla and salt. Beat again.
8. Add in the icing sugar.
9. Beat until you get the desired consistency of the butter cream icing.
10. Use your desired tip (I used Wilton 1 M) to ice the cupcakes.
- Chocolate Ganache & Chocolate Chips: Chocolate will perfectly compliment these vanilla cupcakes with oil cupcakes. Use my chocolate ganache recipe to decorate the cupcakes and sprinkle chocolate chips over it.
- Berries: Pair the cupcakes with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries. Frost the cupcakes and add the fruit of your choice on the top of the butter cream frosting.
Thin Batter: The consistency of these vanilla cupcakes with oil cupcakes is very thin. Do not panic about it and that's how the batter should be. It will rise properly in the oven.
Oven Temperature: Make sure that the oven temperature is 350 F. It is important because every oven is different and the internal temperature of the oven can vary largely. To ensure the temperature is 350 F, use an oven thermometer. If the temperature is not set properly, the cupcakes will sink and you will not get the little dome in the center that is desired for the cupcakes.
Do Not Open the Oven Door: It can be tempting to open the oven door while the cupcakes are baking. But it may result in sinking cupcakes as the oven temperature will go down because of the door opening and the outside air coming inside the oven.
No Overfilling of Cupcake Liners: Do no overfill the cupcake liners. Use an ice-cream scoop to fill the cupcake liners two-third of the cupcake liners leaving the space on the top so that the cupcakes can rise properly.
Fresh Baking Powder/Baking Soda: Make sure the baking powder and baking soda are not expired. They should be fresh or the cupcakes may not rise properly and sink.
I would not recommend so and I would keep the recipe as is to get the best results. But if you do not have oil on hand, replace it with equal amount of butter.
Do not use olive oil for this recipe because olive oil has a distinctive taste and will give these cupcakes a nuttier and fruity taste which can overpower other flavors in the recipe. You may also use any other flavorless oil such as canola, corn, sunflower or grape-seed oil.
Yes – absolutely. You can enjoy them without frosting as well.
The oven temperature might be slightly different than 350 F that is required for these cupcakes. Ensure the temperature by using an oven thermometer.
You may use a ziploc bag and cut the tip and try to frost the cupcakes. You may also put the frosting using the offset spatula or a spoon. However, the results will be different than using a proper piping tip and bag.
how to store
- These cupcakes will stay good for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
- Do not keep the cupcakes in the refrigerator as they get dry quickly in the refrigerator.
- To freeze the vanilla cupcakes with oil, wrap each cupcake with plastic wrap and add a layer of foil. You can stash it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Do not freeze the cupcakes with frosting or they will be soggy once out of the freezer and thawed.
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Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Oil
- Muffin tray
- Electric Mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Digital Scale
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Piping bag
- Piping tip
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (150 g)
- 1 cup castor sugar (200 g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (4 g)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda (1.25 g)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (15 ml) room temperature
- ½ cup milk (full fat) (100 ml) room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (54 ml)
- 2 eggs (50 - 55 grams each) room temperature
Butter Cream Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 g) room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (7.5 ml)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups powdered/icing sugar (260 g)
- Preheat the oven at 350 F. Set the 12-muffin tin with cup cake liners and set aside.
- Take a large bowl and cream oil and sugar together. Add in the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and mix for 2 minutes until well-incorporated.
- Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in the wet ingredients.
- Using an ice-cream scoop, fill in the cupcake liners about ⅔ to ¾ leaving the space on the top.
- Place the muffin tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 18 - 22 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Butter Cream Frosting
- Take a large bowl and beat the butter until creamy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and salt. Beat again.
- Add the icing sugar and heavy cream and beat until combined well.