Recipe Review

I Tried Preppy Kitchen’s Moist Vanilla Cupcakes (They’re His Most-Requested Recipe)

published Aug 4, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If you’re a fan of baking, chances are you’ve come across Preppy Kitchen. The wildly popular blog is written by expert baker John Kanell, who also hosts baking tutorials on Youtube. I’ve always been eager to try one of his recipes, and our vanilla cupcakes showdown proved to be the perfect occasion. His recipe for moist vanilla cupcakes has a five-star rating from almost 900 votes, so I was excited to give it a try. Here’s what happened when I baked up a batch.

Get the recipe: Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Preppy Kitchen’s Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

Preppy Kitchen’s cupcake recipe is a cinch to make and comes together quickly. You’ll start by combining flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Separate eggs, reserving the yolks for another use. (You’ll just use the whites in this recipe.) In another bowl, whisk together the egg whites, melted butter, vanilla extract, sour cream, and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined. Distribute the batter into cupcake liners and bake.

As the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat softened butter until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar in two batches, followed by milk, cream, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy, then frost the cupcakes and enjoy.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Preppy Kitchen’s Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

These classic vanilla cupcakes were enjoyable, but they didn’t blow me away. Instead of tasting homemade, they actually reminded me of something served at a classroom birthday party, or purchased from a grocery store bakery.

Overall I think these cupcakes are a great basic, simple, no-frills recipe. They had a subtle vanilla flavor and a nice light texture. Out of the four I tried for the showdown, they were the easiest to make. I would say they’re a great base cupcake if you’re looking to add flavor (berries, chocolate, spices, etc.), but on their own they don’t have the “wow” factor I’m looking for.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Preppy Kitchen’s Vanilla Cupcakes, a Few Tips

  1. Add the full amount of vanilla extract. The recipe calls for one tablespoon of vanilla extract, which might seem like a lot. But it gives the cupcakes a pleasant vanilla flavor that is strong but not overwhelming.
  2. Bring your ingredients to room temperature before baking. This will help the batter come together easily and prevent any large chunks of unincorporated butter.
  3. Check for doneness by touching the tops of the cupcakes. These cupcakes are very white, so you can’t tell if they’re done by simply looking at them. Instead, give the tops a feel. If they spring back, they are done. Or just use the toothpick test!
  4. Mix and match different add-ins to make this recipe your own. This recipe would make a wonderful blank canvas for an array of mix-ins. Jams, berries, chocolate, and spices would all work wonderfully.

Rating: 8/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Have you ever made Preppy Kitchen’s vanilla cupcake recipe? Let us know in the comments!