Easy white cupcakes are soft, delicate, and surprisingly simple to make from scratch. These moist and light-as-air cupcakes are perfect for weddings, events, and birthdays.
These easy white cupcakes are truly heavenly. They are light, tender, and moist. Best of all? They are shockingly easy to make. Plus, they're the perfect palette for any favorite flavors you'd like to add.
This white cupcake recipe is also the base for my popular strawberry filled cupcakes recipe. While they may be soft and light, these cupcakes will hold up to any frostings and fillings you may want to add.
Room temperature ingredients
For this recipe, you'll need room temperature butter, egg whites, and milk. If possible, set out your ingredients ahead of time, about an hour before you begin baking.
To warm up butter quickly, try slicing it into smaller pieces, then setting it out on the counter for 30 minutes. To warm up eggs, place in them in a bowl and cover with warm water. Your eggs will come to room temperature in minutes.
Microwaving milk for 10-15 seconds at a time can bring it to room temperature quickly. However, be careful with microwaving and do not walk away from it (it's easy to forget and scorch!).
Ingredients and substitutions
- Cake flour - I do not recommend substituting the cake flour in this recipe. Cake flour gives your cupcakes their tender, small crumb. If you substitute with all-purpose flour, your cupcakes will, in comparison, have a coarser crumb that readers often describe as a 'cornbread' texture.
- Baking powder - This cannot be substituted with baking soda - they are two different ingredients.
- Unsalted butter - If you need to substitute with salted butter, reduce the amount of salt to ¼ teaspoon.
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Egg whites - Egg whites can not be substituted with whole eggs. Using egg whites in this recipe makes your cupcakes light, fluffy, and white. If you want to use whole eggs (with the yolk) to make cupcakes, I suggest trying my vanilla homemade cupcakes recipe. It uses the same ingredients (in slightly different measurements) and is written to use two whole eggs.
- Whole milk - This recipe will technically work with a lower fat milk, like 2%, 1%, or skim, but whole milk will help keep your cupcakes moist from the added fat. For best results, use whole milk.
Cupcake tips and tricks
Here are a few tips for cupcake success, taken from reader questions and reviews!
- Make sure you're using baking powder and not baking soda. There is a difference, and baking soda will not work for this recipe.
- Properly measure your flour by using a spoon to scoop flour into your measuring cup, then using a knife to level off the top. Scooping using your measuring cup will compact flour into the cup, adding extra flour to the recipe.
- Do not substitute cake flour with all-purpose flour. Using all-purpose flour will give your cupcakes a 'cornbread' type texture.
- Only mix your batter until the ingredients are incorporated. Overmixing your batter can whip extra air in, causing your cupcakes to rise quickly and then fall in the center when they bake.
- Do not unwrap your cupcakes while they're still warm. Your cupcakes will stick to the liners until they are fully cooled throughout. Once cooled, your cupcakes will easily unwrap.
- Are your cupcakes sticky on top? This can be caused by humidity in your home or storing cupcakes while they're still warm. This can't really be fixed, but can easily be covered with frosting.
- Do not frost warm cupcakes! Buttercream is sensitive to heat and will melt between 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whipped buttercream frosting - fluffier than a traditional buttercream (this recipe is included below)
- Chocolate buttercream frosting - sweet, traditional buttercream
- American buttercream frosting - sweet, traditional buttercream
- Cream cheese buttercream frosting - slightly less sweet and tangy
- Ermine frosting - A less sweet cooked flour frosting
- Homemade whipped cream - light and much less sweet than buttercream
Traditional buttercream frostings are very sweet, so you could use less (if you want) to top your cupcakes.
For years I've used this simple Wilton Cupcake Decorating Kit to decorate my cupcakes. It comes with four piping tips, bags, and easy to read instructions. I also purchased this additional coupler to make it easy secure the piping tips and to change out tips halfway through decorating.
How to prevent dry cupcakes
These are my favorite tips for ensuring your cupcakes bake up moist and tender.
- Do not substitute ingredients. The fats and sugar (butter, whole milk, granulated sugar, and egg whites) in this recipe make your cake moist. Substituting ingredients changes the texture and moisture in your cupcakes.
- Properly measure your flour. Too much flour can cause your cupcakes to turn out dry. Either use a kitchen scale to weigh your flour (this is what I do and recommend), or spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level off with a knife. Scooping with the measuring cup directly from a bin of flour compacts it into the cup, adding up to 25% extra flour to the recipe.
- Do not overbake your cupcakes. If you haven't substituted ingredients, the only other reason your cupcakes will turn out dry is from overbaking.
- Watch your cupcakes, not the time. Ovens are inconsistent and can run hotter or colder than the next oven. The time that worked for me may not work for you. If you've never made this recipe before, try checking your cupcakes 2 minutes early.
- Three easy ways to check for doneness: 1. Do your cupcakes jiggle a lot when you move the pan? If so, they're not done yet. 2. Gently press on the top of a cupcake with your finger. If the cake pops back up immediately, it's done. If an indentation is left, they need more time. 3. Poke a toothpick into the center of a cupcake - if it comes out clean or with dry crumbs, they're done.
Easy White Cupcakes
- 1 ½ cups (168 g) cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large (105 g) egg whites, room temperature
- ½ cup (114 g) whole milk, room temperature
Whipped Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups (454 g) confectioner's sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup (76 g) heavy cream, very cold
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk (or sift) together the dry ingredients: cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Add butter and granulated sugar to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together until light and fluffy, about one minute. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. Then, add egg whites and beat until light and fluffy, about one minute.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, just until each ingredient is incorporated and batter is smooth. Do not overmix.
- Divide batter between 15 cupcake liners, filling each about ⅔ full. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Whipped Buttercream Frosting
- In a large bowl, add room temperature butter and beat until creamy, about one minute.
- Add confectioner's sugar and slowly mix until ingredients are fully combined. Then, whip at high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla extract, salt, and heavy cream and whip for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add additional heavy cream as needed to reach desired consistency.
- Pipe or spread frosting with a knife onto cupcakes and serve.
- Recipe makes enough frosting to frost 15 cupcakes with high, dramatic piped frosting (as shown in the photos), 24 cupcakes spread with a knife, a 9x13 sheet cake, or an 8-9 inch two layer cake.
- Buttercream frosting will begin to melt between 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If your location is nearing this temperature, I recommend refrigerating your baked goods until an hour before you're ready to serve them. Refrigerating your frosted baked goods will not hurt them, but you will want to give them some time to come to room temperature before serving.
- Do not substitute cake flour with all-purpose flour - this will give your cupcakes a 'cornbread' type texture.
- Do not substitute egg whites with whole eggs.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cake, based on reader comments and questions!