This small batch cupcake recipe makes 5 delicious vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream frosting. For those times that you’re craving a cupcake, you need a quick dessert, or you’re baking for just a few people – this is the recipe to have on hand.
Five cupcakes, made from scratch, ready in minutes. It doesn’t get much better!
These cupcakes are
Quick and easy: Only about 15 minutes of hands on time. No special equipment or techniques needed.
Soft and moist: These cupcakes have a fantastic texture. They bake up soft, moist, and flavorful.
Packed with vanilla: A generous amount of vanilla extract in the cake batter as well as in the frosting gives these cupcakes a classic flavor.
Perfect for small gatherings: If you’re low on ingredients, or only need cupcakes for a handful of people, this is the perfect recipe.
Small batch cupcake recipe overview
*Full recipe below in recipe card*
Whisk egg and sugar until well combined.
Add melted butter and vanilla extract.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) with the milk.
Whisk until fully combined but be careful not to overmix. Transfer the batter into 5 lined muffin cups and bake.
Cool completely before topping with frosting.
- Make sure your ingredients are measured properly. When making a small batch recipe this is especially important.
- Don’t overmix the cupcake batter, this can make the cupcakes heavy and dense.
- Try not to open the oven during bake time. For even baking and a nice rise, it’s best not to move the pan around too much.
- Prefer a different frosting? You can make a half batch of Strawberry Buttercream or you can add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a of splash of milk to the vanilla frosting recipe to turn it into chocolate frosting.
Serving and storage
Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or at cool room temperature for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature for the best flavor and texture.
Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes
- ½ cup (60g) all purpose flour, see note
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ¼ cup milk, preferably whole or 2% milk
- 5 tablespoons (71g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1¼ cups (156g) powdered sugar, plus more if needed
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon milk, plus more if needed
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 5 liners in a muffin pan.
- In a small bowl, combine flour (see note), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg and sugar for about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla extract and melted butter and whisk until well combined.
- Add half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Add the milk, and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk until combined (being careful not to overmix).
- Divide the batter evenly between 5 muffin cups (each cup will be between ⅔ and ¾ full). Bake for 14-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
- Beat powdered sugar and butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of milk. Beat on medium speed for several minutes, until light and fluffy. If the frosting appears too thick, add a little milk, if it appears too thin add a little more powdered sugar.
- Frost the cupcakes using a piping bag and pastry tip; I use an open star tip. Top with sprinkles, if desired.
Nutritional Information is an estimate based on third-party calculations and may vary based on products used and serving sizes.