Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with the richest fudge buttercream frosting are a treat everyone will love!

Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes with fudge buttercream frosting

Aren’t cupcakes adorable? There’s just something about the cute little package they come in— the paper cup wrapped around a little cake topped with a pile of frosting. The cupcake crazy may have been replaced by fancy doughnuts and artisan ice cream, but cupcakes will always be a favorite of mine.

These vanilla cupcakes with fudge frosting are from the early days of this blog and as I was scrolling through my archives recently I knew I had to bake them again. And I’m so glad I did! The fudge buttercream is still to this day my favorite go-to frosting, but I had completely forgotten about this fabulous vanilla cupcake recipe. These cupcakes are so light, tender, and delicate. And together with the frosting it’s a match made in heaven!

Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes with fudge buttercream frosting

baking tip:Cupcake baking tips

  • Use a measuring scoop to portion equal amounts of batter into each cup so they bake evenly. (This is the one I use.)
  • Don’t fill more than 2/3 full. Cupcakes use the walls of the cupcake liners or muffin pan to help them rise. If you overfill the liners, there’s too much batter and not enough space to climb. The batter can spill over the sides and you’ll be left with flat cupcakes.
  • Resist the urge to open the oven and peek during baking. The small cupcakes are more susceptible to sinking due to a drop in temperature.
  • Using your oven light, look to see when the cupcakes are domed and appear to be set. Then open and touch lightly. If they spring back, they’re done.
  • Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, or until they’re cool enough to handle, then transfer them to a cooling rack. The heat from the pan will overcook and dry out the cupcakes if left in too long.

Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes with fudge buttercream frosting

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Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes with fudge buttercream frosting
5 from 1 review

Vanilla Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting

Servings: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with the richest fudge buttercream frosting are a treat everyone will love!


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups cake flour (240 grams), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (113 grams), softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (250 ml)

For the frosting:

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (170 grams), melted and slightly cooled
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (510 grams), no need to sift
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (340 grams), softened at room temperature
  • 4-6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


To make the cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with liners or grease well.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  • Add eggs one a time, mixing after each.
  • Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk, and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined after each addition.
  • Fill each cupcake liner to a scant 2/3 full (I use a #20, 3 Tbsp cookie scoop).
  • Bake until golden and tops bounce back when gently pressed, about 12-15 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  • Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, pausing to scrape down the bowl once.
  • Frost cupcakes as desired.


  • The cupcakes can be baked ahead. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days or tightly wrapped in the freezer (un-frosted) for a month of more. Thaw in wrappings before frosting.
  • Frosting can also be made ahead. Store in the fridge for at least 1 week and in the freezer for a month or more. Let come to room temperature and then pulse in food processor until smooth to "refresh" the texture.
  • You can use an electric mixer to make the frosting if you'd like, but know the end result will be slightly difference than pictured here. The food processor keeps the frosting dense and fudge-like, using a mixer will incorporate more air, making it fluffier.
Cupcakes adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Frosting from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes.
Calories: 344kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 93mg, Potassium: 111mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 31g, Vitamin A: 513IU, Calcium: 37mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Annalise Sandberg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a rating and review below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.

This recipe was originally published June 2010.