Mini Vanilla Cupcakes
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Mini Vanilla Cupcakes




There's nothing as magical as your child's first birthday party. I'm sure that Chloe won't remember much from her big day, but I'll certainly remember every moment.

We decided to do something simple to celebrate -- just a bunch of babies Chloe's age lounging around on blankets, musical instruments scattered about for playing, pink and white balloons hovering in the trees above, bubbles drifting through the air and of course, some delicious weelicious food! The party was called for late in the afternoon, so I figured light snacks seemed appropriate: Benedictine Sandwiches, Fruit Kabobs, Chewy Granola Balls and finally, these Mini Vanilla Cupcakes. For the cupcakes, I really wanted something white, light, airy and tiny in size. I literally spent weeks working on the perfect recipe, which also had to be simple enough to be weelicious. I first tried using agave to sweeten them, but that was a big ol' flop. Then I experimented with different combinations of eggs, flours and sugar, but still nothing tasted quite right until I arrived at the balance for this version.

I love making miniature cupcakes for kids' birthday parties, because they're the perfect size for small hands, and even if your little one goes back for seconds (or even thirds), it's still won't equal the amount of one regular size cupcake. Plus, I've tried so many vanilla cupcake recipes over the years and I'm always taken by how overly sweet they are. These came out sweet -- but not too much. Just the perfect amount in my opinion.

When you're looking for an unforgettable cupcake recipe that will only add to the magic of your little one's special day, try these minis and experience maximum deliciousness.

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes  (Makes 36 Mini Cupcakes)

  • Prep Time: 5 mins,
  • Cook Time: 15 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
There's nothing as magical as your child's first birthday party. I'm sure that Chloe won't remember much from her big day, but I'll certainly remember every moment. We decided to do something simple to celebrate -- just a bunch of babies Chloe's age...


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • cream cheese frosting (makes 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. 3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  4. 4. Add the eggs one at a time and vanilla and beat on low speed until combined.
  5. 5. Slowly add some of the flour mixture and then some of the milk, alternating until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you go.
  6. 6. Pour the batter into mini muffin cups (I like to use a mini ice cream scooper) lined with paper or foil liners until 2/3 full.
  7. 7. Bake for 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
  8. 8. Cool and frost.
  9. *Refrigerate cupcakes after frosting

  10. To make the cream cheese frosting:
  11. 1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat for 30 seconds on low to medium speed using a hand mixer.
  12. 2. Add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla and continue to beat for 1 minute or until frosting is smooth and creamy.
  13. 3. Frost the cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Mini Vanilla Cupcakes

Nutrition Information

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  2. Rebecca

    April 10, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Is there an easy way to make the frosting strawberry flavored? Could i defrost frozen strawberries and just add them to the mix before i beat it?

  3. Deyoni

    February 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Oh MY!!! this is so beautiful, happy and deiuliocs looking!!! I saw Someone post about a cake like this once (forgot who it was),, I love it and would love to make one,,, better yet= Eat One or 10 :)xoEdyta

  4. Kari

    January 17, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I tried making these tonight. And they just crumbled in your hand when you picked them up (I didn’t use liners because usually don’t have to). A Pretty big disappointment :(

  5. adrimolina

    December 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I am making these today for my son’s 3rd bday party tomorrow morning. Do I refrigerate them before or after frosting? Or should I leave them out? I am just not sure if I’ll have time to frost them tomorrow…

    • Catherine McCord

      December 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Refrigerate the unfrosted cupcakes and the frosting separately. Then frost before the party!

      • adrimolina

        December 17, 2013 at 8:25 pm

        Great! Ill do that, thanks so much! The cupcakes came out soo good! Yum :)

  6. Katie

    November 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I made this in a 9×9 pan yesterday for my daughter’s birthday (with chocolate frosting, because that’s what she wanted). The cake was delicious!

  7. Meghan

    July 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    My daughter will be turning 3 in a month, and I’m planning to make these. I have made them every year so far, and everyone loves them! I do add some finely grated zucchini for a little hidden veggie. You should have seen my nephews’ faces last year when I told them what I had added (I didn’t tell them until after they had their cupcakes.) It was priceless! Thanks for an awesome recipe!

  8. Tara

    July 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    These are the perfect cupcake for kids! I also made them for my daughter’s first birthday party. They were enjoyed by both the kids and adults. I used a bit of beet juice to make the icing pink. Turned out perfect. Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  9. Stacy

    June 25, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Also, do you have another frosting recipe that doesn’t call for cream cheese? My daughter doesn’t like cream cheese. This would be the same frosting that I want to color naturally, pink that I posted about below.


  10. Stacy

    June 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Any suggestions for how to naturally color the frosting? I want to make these for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party this weekend but she wants pink frosting. I saw you used rasberries for some other pink cookies you made. What would work with this frosting?? Thank you as always!!

    • catherine

      June 26, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Raspberries or their juice would work! Blueberry juice will make a bright purpley color, and beet puree works to turn things pink, too!

  11. jarica

    June 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I’m looking for a sugar free cream cheese frosting recipe. Any ideas on how to make a really good sugar free cream cheese frosting?

    • Gail

      April 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Try it with Truvia. Truvia tastes good and smells good. They also have a baking version, which has a tiny bit of sugar in it for texture.

  12. Trish

    May 29, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    This is a fantastic recipe! With a 17 month old running around I don’t have time for complicated recipes – I had everything I needed already in the house! Made these as a thank you for daycare so perfect for toddlers and adults. I added a touch more milk as the batter seemed a bit thick but otherwise both cupcake and icing recipes were easy and delicious – thanks so much! :)

  13. Kim

    May 18, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Do I have to use little cupcake liners? I only have big ones, but I don’t have a 12 cupped pan. I have a 36 mini muffin pan.

    • catherine

      May 20, 2013 at 11:35 am

      You can grease your pan well instead of using cupcake liners if you don’t have them!

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  18. Nicole

    March 1, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Thank you for a truly delicious recipe! Only problem is they are so light and fluffy I’m not sure they’ll hold together enough for frosting and to be eaten by guests at my daughter’s birthday party. We’re at nearly 8k feet in elevation, not sure if that could have something to do with it. Any suggestions for adjustments? Really appreciate any advice you can give…

    • catherine

      March 5, 2013 at 11:08 am

      There are several adjustments to make when baking at high altitudes! Here is a recipe with high altitude instructions!

    • Nicole

      March 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      I’m replying to my own post here, but perhaps less butter would help?

      • Nicole

        March 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm

        Okay, here’s what worked (and it worked beautifully!): Slightly reduced the sugar, did 3/8 cup milk plus 1/4 cup full fat greek yogurt instead of the 1/2 cup milk called for, reduced baking powder by 1/2 teaspoon, They taste the same but have the form/structure that myself and some others here didn’t just didn’t get from the original recipe. Thank you!

  19. Jessica

    February 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Also, when I frosted them, the tops of the muffins just kept peeling off. What’s ruining the form?

  20. Jessica

    February 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I just made these. The taste is amazing, but I have some questions.
    1. It made about 48 cupcakes, but they were kind of flat on the top. What did I do wrong?
    2. If I want to make a cake in a 10 x 2 round pan, what should I do with the recipe (leave the same, double, etc.)?
    3. My cream cheese frosting looks quite yellow. Taste is fine, but I was wondering why it didn’t come out as white as yours.
    Thanks for taking the time to answer.

    • catherine

      February 26, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      The color of the frosting could be due to the type of butter you used or the brand of cream cheese or powdered sugar. I think this recipe could make one round cake as is, and you’d probably need to bake it a bit longer (until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). These cupcakes do come out a bit flat, which I prefer because it makes for easier frosting!

  21. brieanna

    February 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    how many cupcakes does this recipe make?

    • catherine

      February 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      36 mini cupcakes! Or about 12 regular sized cupcakes!

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  23. Deanne

    January 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    What size pan would you used if you wanted to double the recipe?

    Do you have a chocolate cake recipe?

  24. Alyssa Brigandi

    November 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Do you think I could make this recipe into a round cake? Should I make any adjustments doing so?
    Thank you,

    • catherine

      November 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Yes this is easily adaptable to a cake! Just add about 10 minutes onto the cooking time!

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  26. Candice

    October 4, 2012 at 2:22 am

    i just made this tonight, followed the recipe exactly. its for my son’s 3rd bday party at his school tomorrow so i made about 50-60 mini cupcakes. my husband couldnt stop eating them! a bit too sweet for my personal taste. but my husband said they were the best cupcakes…better than store bought.

  27. Meredith

    September 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Do you think that I could successfully halve this recipe?

    • catherine

      September 20, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Yes, this recipe is easily halved or doubled!

  28. Lindsey

    September 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    have you ever tried with whole wheat flour? I have white wheat flour and would love to substitute for the AP

    • catherine

      September 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      I haven’t tested this recipe with whole wheat. It will give the cupcakes a different texture, but I always think experimenting is worth it!

  29. Lindsey

    September 18, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Could I use this recipe as a base for strawberry cupcakes? Do you recommend chopping the strawberries or puree? How much? Thanks!

    • catherine

      September 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Yes, that would be delicious! I would add 1-2 cups chopped strawberries!

  30. Amie

    August 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Hi! Going to try these cupcakes for my sons birthday. Does anyone know how many regular cupcakes this will make, and would they still taste good if I made them the night before.

    • kristi

      August 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

      I am wondering the same thing! Help!

      • catherine

        August 20, 2012 at 11:53 am

        Just don’t frost them until closer to the time you plan to serve them!

        • kristi

          August 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm

          Great! Should I refrigerate them un-iced?

        • catherine

          August 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

          You can refrigerate them iced! Especially if you’ll be serving them the same day!

      • catherine

        August 20, 2012 at 11:53 am

        It makes about 18 regular-sized cupcakes and yes, you can make them the night before!

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  33. Amira

    June 28, 2012 at 8:51 am

    What is the best egg substitute for this recipe?

    • catherine

      June 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

      People seem to like flax as the best egg replacer. 1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons water equals 1 egg!

  34. Emma

    June 11, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Me and my best friend made these for my mom and dad! They loved them but I was wondering if you knew a good buttercream frosting resipie?!? 😀

  35. catherine

    May 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Yes! Freeze unfrosted! Place the cupcakes on a baking sheet in the freezer until they are frozen through, about 1 hour, then move to a freezer bag or other freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months.

  36. Leonore

    May 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    can these cupcakes be frozen? If so can they be frozen with the frosting? Thanks so much

  37. Megan

    April 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Can I add pink food coloring to the frosting without any negative consequences? Thanks!

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  40. LKC

    March 22, 2012 at 11:39 am

    These cupcakes rock! This is definitely going to be my go-to recipe for mini-vanilla cupcakes when I need to whip up a batch for the little ones. They came out light and delicious and the recipe is so basic. I also got exactly 36 out of it!

    I doubled the cream cheese frosting recipe (and tinted it pink!) since I was making these for 4 year-olds and wanted to make sure there was a good dollop for each. I ended up with about 1/3 cup left over, but wouldn’t have had enough unless I doubled.

    Thanks so much!!!

  41. Shelley

    March 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    My mom and I were looking for a recipe to make for my nephew’s first birthday and we decided to test these. We frosted them with homemade buttercream frosting ( a family favorite) and everone loved them, so this will be the birthday treat for his party! My mom says this is the best from scratch vanilla cake recipe she’s tried in a long time and I agree. The cupcakes were so light- especially right out of the oven! Thanks for a great recipe!

  42. Suzanne

    March 7, 2012 at 1:08 am

    I made full size cupcakes and they were great just after baking, however the next day they were very dense and somewhat hard. Any ideas for what went wrong? Did I overbake them?

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  44. Mel

    January 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Could you make the cake chocolate by adding cocoa? If so, what amount would you estimate? I’m looking forward to making these for my son’s 2nd Birthday!

  45. andrea

    January 28, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Can I use raw sugar?

  46. andrea

    January 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Can I use raw sugar? How much?

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  49. adri

    November 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Would heavy cream make it too rich? I don’t have any whole milk on hand. Thanks!

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  51. Tiffany Lee

    October 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I just made these today, wow! Super delicious! Thank you!

  52. Allie

    August 22, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I live in Colorado above 5000 ft. What changes should I make for high altitude?

  53. Emily

    August 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Out of all the mini vanilla cupcake recipes I made, this one DEFINATELY tops them all!

  54. Michal

    July 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Best cupcakes ever!! Light, fluffy, and delicious!

  55. Heather

    June 27, 2011 at 1:05 am

    Could you use this batter for a two layer 6-inch cake? If so, how much batter to use? And what would be the cooking time? I want to make a little cake all her own for my baby girl’s birthday, but still want it to be weelicious!


    • Emily

      August 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      This recipe is far to small for a six inch cake. You could always try and double the recipe, but whenever I double a recipe when baking, something usually goes wrong. So I would find a different recipe. Hope that helps! :)

      • Michelle

        August 30, 2012 at 6:41 pm

        Instead of doubling, make the recipe twice; Less chance of something going wrong

  56. Nikki

    May 19, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Do you think I could add banana to these? If so, how much?

    • Emily

      August 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      This recipe would be great to add banana to. You should add about a 1/4 of a cup of smashed banana. That would make it really moist. Hope it helps. :)

      • Reno

        October 2, 2011 at 5:15 am

        Just do me a favor and keep writing such trenchant alnasyes, OK?

  57. Amy

    March 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Made these twice now & are a big hit with kids & adults. Thank you!!

  58. Catherine

    February 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    For the frosting can i use arrowroot and agave instead of powder sugar? If so, how much of each you think?

  59. Johanne

    February 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Hi there!
    I was wondering if Almond milk would work in this recipe?

    • Emily

      August 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      You could really use any type of milk you wanted, the density may be a little lower with milks containing lower fat. Hope it helps.

  60. Olga

    January 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Is it possible to substitute eggs in this recipe for something else if I wanted to make this for a child with egg allergies?

    Thanks in advance.

    • catherine

      January 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      Unfortunately no because it is the binder and helps make them fluffy. :(

  61. Alena

    December 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Would you think it would be ok if you used just normal butter instead of unsalted??

    • Emily

      August 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Salted butter is fine, but you just might want to use 1/8 of a tsp instead of 1/4. Hope it helps! :)

    • Luna

      January 23, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Salted butter may make the cupcakes taste slightly salty.

  62. LYG

    December 10, 2010 at 1:50 am

    I tried out a different recipe for vanilla cupcakes first, and they were a disaster, so I was rather panicked when I found yours. What a relief when these turned out so beautiful and tasty. Just what I wanted for my daughter’s classroom birthday celebration (although I did end up adding a couple extra tablespoons of milk because the batter seemed too thick). Thank you!

    • Emily

      August 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm

      The batter may have seemed thick, but you don’t need to add any more liquid to make it thinner. The only difference of consistencies is the baking time. Hope it helps! :)

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  64. stacie

    December 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Do you think it would come out ok if I used coconut milk instead of whole milk?

    • catherine

      December 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm

      I’m sure it would be fine but coconut milk is a lot thicker than whole milk and you would get the coconut flavor in the cupcakes which is not bad at all. I love coconuts! I would just water down the coconut milk to get it to the right consistency of whole milk and use that :)

      • Dalia

        December 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm

        Is there a dairy-version possible for this one?

        • Dalia

          December 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm

          I meant dairy-free

        • Lori

          February 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm

          Coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk are not considered “dairy” because they do not come from animals. They also do not contain lactose, a sugar found in animal milk. Although if there are any nut allergies in your family, I would try soy milk which comes from soy beans. However, I don’t know how any of these would change the texture or flavor of the cupcakes. I have yet to make cupcakes with one of the alternatives to cow’s/goat’s milk. I hope this helps, although a little late!

        • Emily

          August 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm

          Dairy free version? You should just find a different dairy free recipe.

  65. Lisa

    November 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Also, how long would I cook if I’m making regualar sized cupcakes and not the mini kind? Thanks again!

    • catherine

      November 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      I would leave them in 5 minutes longer or until a toothpick comes out clean :)

  66. Lisa

    November 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Do you think the cupcakes would turn out okay if I used sucanat in place of the sugar? Thanks for all you do. We love your recipes.

    • catherine

      November 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      Unfortunately this is White cupcake so you need the sugar – it will change the cupcake if you add sucanat. You can still use it but it will be different. :/

  67. Stephanie

    September 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Any idea what the cooking time would be for a six-inch cake? If not, we’ll just do a few test runs :)

    • Emily

      August 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      For a six inch cake, the time would be estimated about 45 to 50 minutes. But it really depends on the density of your cake. Hope that helps! :)

  68. Vanessa

    August 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    what if I don’t have any whole milk on hand, can I use 1% milk? I would love for you to post more cupcake recipes or a cake recipe I want to make my son something yummy for his 3rd B-day and I love all ur recipes;)

    • catherine

      August 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      You can use 1% milk – using whole milk just makes it richer :)

  69. Genevieve

    August 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I added a little cinnamon to this frosting recipe and used it on banana cupcakes for my twins’ first birthday. It turned out great. Definitely want to try the vanilla cupcakes too!

  70. DC

    July 4, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I just added blueberries and chopped strawberries to the batter for a fun 4th of July treat! Love it.

    • Jay

      January 9, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Lovely cupcakes but even without frosting, a bit too sweet for me. Can i have the sugar? Do I need to halve butter? Thx

      • Jay

        January 9, 2016 at 4:33 pm

        Sorry.. *halve* the sugar

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