The BEST Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my loves!! As many of you know, I have a tendency to over-celebrate the holidays, even relatively tiny ones, like Valentine’s Day. It’s something I get from my mom. She would always decorate the house in sparkling red hearts, hang up streamers, and give each of us kids a special present to show how much she loved us. In my house, Valentine’s wasn’t really about romantic love, it was about all kinds of love, and it still is today.

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That’s why I made these little babies for all my Valentines at work. I wanted to show how much I love and appreciate them, not just as co-workers, but as friends. And what better way to do that than with the world’s best vanilla cake recipe and a big dollop of strawberry buttercream?

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How festive are these little guys? I love the color combination that these flavors produce. And those little red heart sprinkles? I bought them for a Christmas cookie party and fell in love with them. You can buy you’re own batch right here.

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I also used these flavors because I needed to appeal to a large group of people. I already have two cakes sitting on my counter right now–I don’t need to bring home any cupcakes! This recipe is designed for bulk. This one batch produces somewhere between 2.5-3 dozen cupcakes in one go. Perfect, since I needed to make 60 cupcakes!

The best part about this recipe, though, is how easy it is to make. Those who frequent my blog know that I am a big fan of shortcuts as long as it doesn’t compromise the quality of the product. You still get all your bragging rights even if it is semi-homemade. This recipe uses a cake box mix as its base, but it’s fancied up a bit (I can never leave well enough alone). That being said, I am still very picky about my cake mixes. I prefer Duncan Hines, but will make do with Betty Crocker, but nothing else! Everyone else’s cake mixes are too mystery-meat-esque: you don’t know how much of what ingredient is in there.

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Without any further ado, here is the world’s best vanilla cupcake recipe! Share it with someone you love.

For the cake:


1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines)

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 pinch of salt

3 large eggs

1 cup cold water

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients making sure to break up and large clumps of mix, and then set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine water, eggs, yogurt and vanilla. Mix well. Slowly add wet mixture to dry mixture while beating on medium speed with either a hand mixer or stand mixer.

Once well-combined, divide evenly into cupcake liners or into 2 greased 8 inch pans. Bake from 20-30 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center of the cakes and it come out cleanly.

For the frosting:


1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Few drops of liquid red food coloring

Strawberry flavoring (You can find bottles of these everywhere from Hobby Lobby to Michael’s, or you can get some here.)

* Milk or heavy cream, optional


In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and confectioners’ sugar.  Begin mixing on low speed until crumbly, and then increase to high and beat for 3 minutes.

Add vanilla extract and beat again for another minute until light and fluffy. Add the red food coloring in a little at a time until the desired pink color intensity is achieved. Add strawberry extract or strawberry flavoring oil.

Buttercream can come in a variety of thickness depending on what you need to use it for (piping, spreading, creating flowers and other cake decorations). If it turns out to be too thick, add a little milk or heavy cream slowly until you reach desired consistency.

That’s all I have for you today. Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!


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