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Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes

These Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes are perfect for when you only need a recipe for 6 cupcakes. Topped with a whipped vanilla buttercream frosting, these are incredibly fluffy and soft with a delicious amount of infused vanilla.

6 cupcakes on platter with vanilla bean

Having a 6 cupcake recipe comes in handy for many occasions. They’re ideal when you have a small family and don’t require a full batch of 12 cupcakes or when you’re gathering with a small group of friends. Also wonderful for when you want to whip up something sweet and 12 cupcakes are just too many for you to handle, this recipe for simple small batch vanilla cupcakes will save you a lot of time and effort. 

For a delicious chocolate cupcake, you’ll love my mint chocolate cupcakes!

The cake itself is the epitome of what a soft vanilla cupcake should be. They’re beautifully light and fluffy in texture and paired with the smooth vanilla buttercream, they are moist, delicious and the best small batch vanilla cupcakes.  

This 6 cupcake recipe is a half recipe of my Single Layer Basic Vanilla Cake. I can promise you that cake makes a wonderful vanilla cupcake recipe too. You may also like to make my Classic Chocolate Cupcakes or these delightful Orange & Cinnamon Cupcakes. For whole cake recipes, my current favorites are this Eggless Banana Cake and this Plum Yogurt Cake

🍰 Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • A small batch of vanilla cupcakes makes 6 regular sized cupcakes.
  • Easy cupcake recipe that is made in one bowl. 
  • 4-ingredient whipped vanilla buttercream frosting to match. 
Bite taken out of one cupcake to show the fluffy cake. texture

📋 Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

Plain all purpose flour: I use unbleached plain all purpose flour but you can also use just plain all purpose flour. Be sure to check out my guide on how to accurately measure basic baking ingredients. 

Butter: Make sure your butter comes to room temperature before starting your cupcakes and frosting. It needs to be soft to the touch but not melted and not solid from the refrigerator. 

Sugar: You can use either golden or white granulated sugar. I prefer to use golden sugar as it adds a beautiful rich flavor and is less processed.

Egg: Needs to be at room temperature before making your cupcakes. Having your cold ingredients at room temperature makes them blend and emulsify more appropriately with the remaining ingredients. 

Milk: This also needs to be at room temperature before making your cakes. If it’s too cold, it will alter the consistency of the cake batter and final product. Using cold ingredients in cakes will make them crumbly and not soft or fluffy. 

Olive oil: I recommend using a good quality extra virgin olive oil as it results in the best and most subtle flavor. 

Icing sugar: This is also known as confectioners sugar or powdered sugar. There is no need to sift this for the buttercream frosting.

🥣 Step By Step Instructions

1) In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Set aside. 

Whisking together the dry ingredients

2) In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl.

3) Beat butter for a few seconds to break it up and it begins to turn creamy. This makes it easier on your beater when the sugar is added. 

4) Add sugar and beat with the butter for 1 minute until pale and creamy. Scraping down the sides as needed. 

Creaming together the butter and sugar

5) Add egg and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides as needed. 

Beating in egg

6) Pour in milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 20 seconds until well combined. Scrape down the sides again.

Beating through the liquids

7) Add the dry flour mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Ensure not to over-beat, just until the flour has combined then turn off the beater. If some excess flour is still visible around the sides of the bowl, gently fold it in with a spatula. If you over-beat, the cakes can turn tough and dense after baking. 

Beating in dry ingredients

8) Spoon and evenly distribute the batter into the paper cups, filling each 3/4 of the way full. The batter will make 6 even cupcakes. NOTE: I use a small ice cream scoop and place 2 scoops full into each cup. 

Spooning batter into paper cups

9) Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and they’re lightly golden and look set. 

10) Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Showing how much to fill the cups and how the cakes look after

11) In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl. Beat butter for a few seconds to break it up and it begins to turn creamy.

12) Add icing sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined, creamy and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scraping down the sides as needed.

Making the icing

13) Prepare a piping bag fitted with a medium sized closed star nozzle. Fill the bag with the buttercream and pipe it onto the cupcakes. Serve and enjoy!

Piped buttercream frosting on each cupcake

💭 Top Tips

Make sure to measure your baking ingredients accurately to achieve the best results. Check out my helpful guide on how to measure basic ingredients.

Ensure your cold ingredients come to room temperature before making your cupcakes and frosting. The butter, eggs, and milk. Using cold ingredients in cakes will not emulsify and blend appropriately with the rest of the ingredients, which results in problems with the final product. 

Do not over-mix this cake batter as it will result in a tough cake texture after baking. 

Store cupcakes in an airtight container, in a dry dark pantry for 2-3 days. If it’s humid, store it in the refrigerator to help them stay fresh. 

Close up image of one made cupcake with frosting
Small batch cupcakes featured image

Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes

Samantha Pickthall
These Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes are perfect for when you only need a recipe for 6 cupcakes. Topped with a whipped vanilla buttercream frosting.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 6 cupcakes
Calories 446 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Vanilla Cake

  • 115 g (3/4 cup) plain all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of fine salt
  • 70 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup golden or white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, approx. 55g-60g in shell, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Buttercream Frosting

  • 40 g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups icing/confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Vanilla Cake

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC (356ºF). Line a muffin/cupcake baking pan with regular sized paper cups. This recipe makes 6 regular sized cupcakes.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl.
  • Beat butter for a few seconds to break it up and it begins to turn creamy. This makes it easier on your beater when the sugar is added.
  • Add sugar and beat with the butter for 1 minute until pale and creamy. Scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Add egg and beat for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Pour in milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 20 seconds until well combined. Scrape down the sides again.
  • Add the dry flour mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Ensure not to over-beat, just until the flour has combined then turn off the beater. If some excess flour is still visible around the sides of the bowl, gently fold it in with a spatula. If you over-beat, the cakes can turn tough and dense after baking.
  • Spoon and evenly distribute the batter into the paper cups, filling each 3/4 of the way full. The batter will make 6 even cupcakes. NOTE: I use a small ice cream scoop and place 2 scoops full into each cup.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and they’re lightly golden and look set.
  • Remove from oven and allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Buttercream Frosting

  • In a large mixing bowl, using either electric hand beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attached, add softened butter to the bowl.
  • Beat butter for a few seconds to break it up and it begins to turn creamy.
  • Add icing sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined, creamy and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Prepare a piping bag fitted with a medium sized closed star nozzle.
  • Fill the bag with the buttercream and pipe it onto the cupcakes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Make sure to measure your baking ingredients accurately to achieve the best results. Check out my helpful guide on how to measure basic ingredients.
Ensure your cold ingredients come to room temperature before making your cupcakes and frosting. The butter, eggs, and milk. Using cold ingredients in cakes will not emulsify and blend appropriately with the rest of the ingredients, which results in problems with the final product.
Do not over-mix this cake batter as it will result in a tough cake texture after baking.
Store cupcakes in an airtight container, in a dry dark pantry for 2-3 days. If it’s humid, store it in the refrigerator to help them stay fresh.

Nutrition

Calories: 446kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 4gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 20mgPotassium: 129mgFiber: 1gSugar: 46gVitamin A: 522IUCalcium: 60mgIron: 1mg
Keyword 6 cupcakes, cupcake, small batch, vanilla, vanilla cupcake
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