Mini Vanilla Cupcakes are ultra fluffy and flavorful! They’re topped with a silky brown butter cream cheese frosting and colorful sprinkles. Make these mini treats for a birthday party or any celebration!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Fluffy Vanilla Mini Cupcakes – These mini cupcakes have a super fluffy texture, and are packed with vanilla flavor!
- Brown Butter Frosting – Brown butter frosting elevates the flavor of these cupcakes to a whole new level! Vanilla buttercream isn’t even on the same playing field as this frosting.
- Perfect for a Crowd – This recipe makes 34 mini cupcakes, making it perfect for a party! You can also double the recipe to make 68` cupcakes.
- Butter – I prefer salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter if that’s your preference.
- Egg Whites – Use large eggs at room temp.
- Milk – I used 2% milk, at room temp.
- Sour Cream – Use full-fat at room temp for best results.
- Cake Flour – This gives this cake a lighter, more tender crumb than all-purpose flour, so I highly encourage you to use it here. See a substitution note below.
- Vanilla Extract – Since the flavor in this cake comes from simple quality ingredients, be sure to use real vanilla instead of imitation for the best flavor.
- Vegetable Oil – Using a combination of oil and butter gives this cake the best of both worlds – oil keeps the cake tender and moist, and butter adds flavor.
- Cake Flour – To make a substitute, measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tbsp, and replace that with 2 tbsp of corn starch. Whisk together then use as directed.
- Sour Cream – Full fat greek yogurt at room temperature works instead.
- Gluten-free – I have not tested a gluten-free version of this recipe.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite dairy-free products to make this recipe dairy-free.
How to Make this Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make the Cupcake Batter. Beat together your butter and vegetable oil with an electric mixer or stand mixer. Then, add the sugars and beat on high speed for two full minutes. Beat in the eggs, then the remaining wet ingredients, then the dry ingredients last.
Step 2: Bake the Cupcakes. Fill your mini cupcake liners and follow the baking time as directed in the recipe card below.
Step 3: Make the Frosting & Frost the Cupcakes. Brown your butter in a sauce pan – this step takes just 5 extra minutes and adds incredible depth of flavor! Cool the brown butter (for about 15-20 minutes in the freezer) and beat it with cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Pipe the frosting onto your cooled cupcakes and add rainbow sprinkles – they’re the only decoration these cuties need!
These sweet treats will steal the show anywhere you take them! This bite-sized treat is the perfect addition to any party or celebration where you need to feed lots of people, or where there will be a variety of desserts.
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Store frosted cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-3 days. Let come back to room temperature for 30-60 mins or so before serving.
Expert Success Tips:
- Cold Ingredients – Be sure that your refrigerated ingredients all come out from the fridge ahead of time so they can come to room temperature.
- Read through the Recipe – Baking a white cake from scratch doesn’t need to be difficult – just be sure to read through the recipe once before you begin to familiarize yourself with all the steps.
- Don’t over mix – When adding the dry ingredients, mix on low until there are just a few streaks of dry ingredients remaining, then fold that last bit in with a spatula to avoid over mixing.
- Oven Thermometer – An oven thermometer will tell you if your oven is actually running at the temperature you set it to. Your oven may not be accurate. Accurate oven temperature is crucial for most bakes, so I leave an oven thermometer in at all times to keep an eye on my oven’s calibration.
- Kitchen Scale – A food scale is the best way to make sure your flour is at the proper weight, since amounts will vary SO widely based on how you measure it, as well as the measuring cup you use, as they are not standardized.
Yes! You can double this recipe to make 64 cupcakes.
Yes you can.
Yes! You’ll get 8-9 regular cupcakes from this recipe.
It cuts through the sweetness of traditional all butter frosting, so you don’t get that tooth-aching feeling that some frostings give.
Yes, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temp 15-30 minutes the next day, and re-mix before using to get it creamy again.
No, I’d guesstimate that they are about 1/3 of the size of a regular cupcake.
I’d recommend two per person, since they are quite petite. But, if you’re serving these at a party that has other desserts, you could get away with fewer.
- Chocolate Frosting – Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of cocoa powder to the frosting!
- Almond Cupcakes – Add 1-2 tsp of almond extract to the batter when you add the vanilla to make an almond flavored cake. This is perfect for weddings!
- Lemon Buttercream Frosting – Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a tablespoon of zest to the frosting.
- Caramel Frosting – Add 2-3 tablespoons of my salted caramel sauce to the frosting, after you’ve added the powdered sugar.
- Piping Bag – I like to use a reusable piping bag like this one.
- Piping Tip – I used a Wilton 4B piping tip, but you can also use a Wilton 2A tip or a Wilton 1M tip.
- Cupcake Pan – You’ll need a mini cupcake pan for this recipe.
- Mini Paper Liners – You’ll need mini cupcake liners.
- Scale – A food scale ensures your flour is at the proper weight, since measuring cups are not standardized and vary widely. Spoon & level your flour if you don’t have a scale – these are both more accurate options than scooping your measuring cup into the flour and leveling it.
More Cupcake Recipes to Love:
- Yellow Birthday Cupcakes with Malted Chocolate Frosting
- Nutella Cupcakes
- Peach Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Maple Bacon Cupcakes
- Samoa Cupcakes
- Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting
For the Cupcakes
- 1/4 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature 4 tbsp or 57 grams
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar 70 grams
- 2 and 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed 33 grams
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste – my personal favorite here!
- 1/4 cup full fat sour cream, at room temperature 60 grams
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp milk, at room temperature 75 mL
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour, spooned & leveled 106 grams
- 1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
For the Frosting
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp salted butter 2 sticks + 2 tbsp, 254 grams
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 4 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for those little vanilla flecks!
- pinch salt
- Prep: Let your cold ingredients come to room temperature for 30 mins to 1 hour before starting (this will depend on the temp in your home). Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two mini cupcake pans with mini cupcake liners.
- Make the Cupcakes: In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the softened butter for about 30 seconds on high speed. Add the sugars and beat on high speed for 2 full minutes. The mixture will be fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl down throughout, ensuring everything is combined. Add the egg, mixing on medium speed for 45 seconds until combined & fluffy. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix in on medium low speed until just combined.Slowly pour in the dry ingredients while the mixer runs on low speed. Mix just until the last streaks of flour are disappearing into the batter, then turn off the mixer and use a spatula to make sure everything is folded in. Finally, slowly pour in the milk while the mixer runs on low speed. Mix until just combined – don't over mix!
- Bake: Spoon batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake 1 pan at a time or two small pans side by side, for 8-9 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out moist crumbs. Pop the cupcakes out with a butter knife as soon as possible, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Brown the Butter: Do this while the cupcakes bake. This step is optional and you can skip it if in a rush! In a nonstick pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter – stirring lazily. The butter will get foamy, then turn golden, then start to turn brown and develop a nutty/caramely aroma. Once it reaches a deep golden color, remove from the heat and pour into a shallow bowl. Pop in the freezer to cool quickly – 15 to 20 minutes. It can remain in liquid form – it just needs to be room temperature, not hot when using.
- Make the Frosting: Cream the browned butter and cream cheese together in a large mixing with an electric mixer – it will smooth out after a minute or two. Ad the powdered sugar, 2 cups at a time, mixing between each addition. Add the vanilla and salt, and mix until just combined. If your frosting is weepy or too soft to pipe, pop the whole bowl in the fridge or freezer for a bit to firm things up. See special tools in blog post for piping tip used.
- Serve & Store: Top frosted cupcakes with sprinkles & enjoy immediately! Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Let sit out at room temp for a bit before serving. These are best on the first day.