White Cupcakes – Sugar Spun Run

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My white cupcake recipe makes beautiful, snow white cupcakes with a fluffy and tender texture. Top them with my whipped vanilla buttercream, or use your favorite frosting! Recipe includes a how-to video!

White Cupcake Recipe

My white cupcakes have been carefully engineered to be soft, light, tender, perfectly fluffy and white as snow. While some technique is involved in order to achieved the perfect texture (and a cupcake that doesn’t collapse on itself), I’m confident even beginner bakers can master this one.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Pure white color! You’ll likely spot some light golden coloring on the very exterior (much like you will with my white cake) but the inside should be pure white. And most of that golden crumb on the outside will peel away with the cupcake wrapper anyway 😊
  • Moist and tender with a springy texture. They are so light and lovely, it’s hard to eat just one!
  • Makes 12 cupcakes, but doubles easily for 24 (or more!). These would be so elegant and pretty as wedding cupcakes!
  • Pairs well with many frostings. I include a few additional ideas below, but really you can get creative with it–Oreo frosting, fruity pebbles frosting, and white chocolate buttercream would all be divine here. Note that you may want to skip the almond extract in the cupcakes if you plan to use a frosting that will clash with it.

Ingredients

Let’s review a few key ingredients for these white cupcakes before we get started.

Overhead view of labelled ingredients including buttermilk, oil, clear vanilla, and more.
  • Cake flour. Using cake flour means our white cupcakes will have a lighter crumb and fluffier texture. You can use all-purpose flour in a pinch, but your cupcakes won’t be as fluffy. I talk more about this and include substitution instructions below.
  • Almond extract. This is optional, but it adds such a subtle, yet bright flavor. It’s also a classic flavor for white wedding cupcakes, if that’s what you’re using this recipe for!
  • Clear vanilla. Clear vanilla is key to the pure white color in my white cupcake recipe. Something to know about this ingredient is that clear vanilla is an imitation vanilla with artificial flavoring and is not a pure extract. Pure vanilla extract does not exist in a clear form. While you absolutely can use regular vanilla extract (or homemade vanilla extract), it’s important to know that your cupcakes will have a slightly golden/yellow color.
  • Butter and oil. The combination of these two ingredients works for a number of reasons and you’ll find me using this combo often (like in my key lime cake). The butter adds flavor that the oil cannot, and the oil adds moisture that the butter cannot (and helps the cupcakes stay softer even if stored in the fridge). A particularly yellow butter can tint your white cupcakes a bit golden, but we use a small amount and cream it well before beginning, which helps keep the final crumb nice and pale. For the oil, I personally like to use avocado oil, but canola or vegetable would also work.
  • Buttermilk. I use this ingredient in my vanilla cake and chocolate cake and many other recipes because of the wonderful depth of flavor and tender texture that it offers the final product. In a pinch, you can make a simple buttermilk substitute, but the cupcakes are best when made with real buttermilk.
  • Egg whites. We skip the egg yolks and use only the whites, which we’ll whip to fluffy, stiff peaks before folding into the batter. This creates a beautiful white color and gorgeous fluffy texture. Avoid carton egg whites, which may not whip properly for you.

SAM’S TIP: Don’t want to toss those egg yolks? My lemon cheesecake, key lime cheesecake, and fruit tart all use exactly three egg yolks!

This is just an overview of the ingredients I used for my white cupcake recipe and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!

Cake Flour vs. All Purpose Flour

Comparison of a white cupcake recipe made with cake flour vs all-purpose flour.

I know not everyone keeps cake flour on hand, but I wanted to show you the difference it makes in this white cupcake recipe.

If you take a look at the top cupcake, you can see that the crumb is lighter (in texture and color). It makes for a much fluffier cupcake that, to me, is also prettier.

All-purpose flour will still yield tasty white cupcakes, but the texture won’t be quite the same and the cupcakes a bit heavier. You can definitely use this and still have great results though! Note that if you are not using a scale to measure, this won’t be an even 1:1 substitution; I provide instructions to properly substitute in the recipe card.

How to Make White Cupcakes

Collage of four photos showing white cupcake batter being prepared.
  1. Cream the butter until smooth, then beat in the sugar, oil, and extracts.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together, then gradually fold in about a third of the mixture. Switch to a spatula for this, otherwise you could risk over-mixing your batter.
  3. Add half of the buttermilk and fold to combine, then fold in half of the remaining dry ingredients. Repeat until you’ve added everything and the batter is just combined.
  4. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks in a separate bowl. You’ll know they are ready when they are thick, fluffy, and hold their shape.
Collage of four photos showing cupcake batter being divided into a pan, baked, and frosted.
  1. Gently fold the egg whites into your batter. Try not to be too rough at this point–we want to maintain that fluffy texture!
  2. Portion the batter into a lined cupcake tin. Don’t overfill your liners, or you may end up with sunken cupcakes! I like to use an ice cream scoop for this.
  3. Bake until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Let your white cupcakes cool in their pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Removing them from the pan at this stage prevents those soggy cupcake liners we all despise!
  4. Pipe frosting on the cooled cupcakes and enjoy! I use the Ateco 846 tip to pipe the frosting in these photos.

SAM’S TIP: Make sure you use a clean, dry, and grease-free bowl and utensils for your egg whites, or your they may not whip properly. I also recommend avoiding silicone, rubber, or plastic when whipping your eggs (all tips that apply to my meringues and macarons as well — egg whites can be finicky things!).

A Note on the Frosting

I used my vanilla buttercream in these photos, but with a few slight modifications. Swapping in clear vanilla (instead of pure vanilla) keeps the color whiter, and gradually whipping in 3-4 Tablespoons of heavy cream both lightens the color and texture. This version pairs so well with these cupcakes!

Vanilla frosting being piped on top of a white cupcake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make a cake with this recipe?

While you could, I’d recommend using my white cake recipe (or Funfetti cake recipe) instead.

In fact, I often use my white cake to make white cupcakes, but structurally that recipe is better suited for cake. When used for cupcakes, that recipe is more likely to sink after baking. This why I wanted to develop a more sturdy, standalone white cupcake recipe.

How are these different from vanilla cupcakes?

Since we are using vanilla extract here, you could technically call these vanilla cupcakes too. But compared to my actual vanilla cupcake recipe, this white cupcake recipe yields cupcakes that are much lighter in color. This is due to both the ingredients used and the technique (like whipping the egg whites). If you’re looking for a good cupcake to dye, this one works better as the food dye won’t have to compete with a yellow color.

Can I use a different frosting?

Absolutely, feel free to use any frosting (I have a whole library of frosting recipes, if you’d like to peruse)! I used these white cupcakes to showcase my blueberry frosting (coming soon!) and that was a great pairing. I think they’d also be lovely with other fresh-flavored fruit frostings like my lemon frosting, strawberry frosting, or raspberry frosting.

White cupcake sitting in its wrapper with one bite missing.

Over the years, so many of you have asked how to turn my white cake into white cupcakes, so I am absolutely thrilled to finally share this with you today 🤍. Let me know what you think!

Enjoy!

Let’s bake together! Subscribe to my newsletter to be notified of all the newest recipes, and find my free recipe tutorials on YouTube 💜

White cupcake that's been unwrapped to show a snow white crumb.

White Cupcakes

My white cupcake recipe makes beautiful, snow white cupcakes with a fluffy and tender texture. Top them with my whipped vanilla buttercream, or use your favorite frosting!Recipe includes a how-to video!

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Course: cupcakes, Dessert

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 17 minutes

Total Time: 32 minutes

Servings: 12 cupcakes

Calories: 183kcal

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

  • Place butter in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) and use an electric mixer to beat the butter until smooth and creamy.

    3 Tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter

  • Add sugar and oil and beat until creamy and well-combined.

    ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar, ¼ cup (60 ml) neutral cooking oil

  • Add vanilla and almond extract and stir until combined.

    1 ½ teaspoons clear vanilla, ¼ teaspoon almond extract

  • In a separate, medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    1 ½ cups (172 g) cake flour, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt

  • Add a portion (about a third) of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and use a spatula to gently fold into the batter until just combined. Add about half of the buttermilk and fold again using a spatula. Repeat, gently mixing by hand until all of the flour mixture and buttermilk have been added and the batter is just combined.

    ½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk

  • In a separate mixing bowl (see note), use an electric mixer to beat egg whites on low-speed, gradually increase to high speed and continue to beat until stiff peaks form (batter will be thick, voluminous, fluffy, and the peak that forms when you remove the beater from the mixture will hold its shape and not fold in on itself).

    3 large egg whites

  • Use a spatula to gently fold the egg whites into your batter. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so all ingredients are thoroughly combined, but take care to not over-mix.

  • Evenly divide the batter into the prepared cupcake tin, filling not more than ¾ of the way full.

  • Bake in center rack of 350F (175C) preheated oven for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean or with a few moist crumbs.

  • Allow cupcakes to cool completely before decorating with frosting (I used my vanilla buttercream frosting).

    ½ batch vanilla frosting

Notes

Vanilla flavoring

Clear vanilla flavoring, rather than pure vanilla extract, is used here to give the cupcakes the most pure-white color possible (real vanilla is brown and can color the cupcakes). If that doesn’t concern you, feel free to substitute real vanilla extract.

Cake flour

I recommend cake flour for best, lightest results. All-purpose flour could be substituted in a pinch (you would use 1 ⅓ cup + 1 Tablespoon or 175g) but the cupcakes won’t be as light and fluffy.

Egg whites

I recommend avoiding store-bought egg whites (the kind sold in cartons) as readers have reported mixed results when attempting to whip these to stiff peaks. When separating your eggs, make sure to separate the whites into a clean, dry, grease-free bowl and make sure not even a little bit of yolk is mixed with them.

Note for egg whites mixing bowl

Use a completely clean, dry, and grease-free mixing bowl and beaters. I recommend avoiding silicone, plastic, or rubber when beating egg whites as well.

Doubling

This recipe doubles well for 24 cupcakes.

Storing

Store in an airtight container at room temperature (frosting permitting) for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. These cupcakes may also be wrapped and frozen for several months.

Vanilla Frosting

For the cupcakes in these photos and in the video, I made a half-batch of my favorite vanilla frosting but substituted clear vanilla for the extract. I piped the frosting with the Ateco 846 tip (you can find all of my favorite cake supplies in my Amazon shop).

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 104IU | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.



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