Rachel's Vanilla Cupcakes

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins

For posterity. Open to some flavor variations and fun with food dye, so I included some tips from other recipes and my own experiments. I based the cake part off both a Food Network recipe plus one of my cake recipes. Yields 24 cupcakes, two 9" layer cakes, or one 13 x 9 cake.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cream the butter, applesauce, and sugar together with an electric mixer. (Note that you can still use a whole stick of butter for a richer flavor and lighter texture but I find that the batter is less manageable that way.).
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Beat in the flour and baking powder at the same time.
  5. If the batter is really thick and you're unable to get it into the muffin papers, loosen it with just a little milk, no more than a tablespoon or two. I just eyeball it. Any kind of milk works, 1% is just what I usually have in my house.
  6. Pour this batter into lined muffin tins, filling the cups about halfway; same with the baking pans-- no more than halfway! Or else there'll be spillage. If making cakes with the round or rectangular pans, be sure to grease them with cooking spray first and lightly dust with flour for easy extraction.
  7. For cupcakes, bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. For round cakes, about 20-25 minutes. Rectangle cake-- 25 minutes. This is what works in my convection oven. Just bake them until lightly golden brown on top.
  8. Let cool for about 15-20 minutes prior to frosting.
  9. FOR RAINBOW CUPCAKES: Divide the batter into separate bowls depending on how many colors you want. Add the food coloring to each bowl, according to the box instructions or your own method. Carefully spoon the different colored batters into the muffin tins, but don't mix. Fill the muffin tins about halfway. They should bake in pretty rainbow colors!
  10. FROSTING: put the butter, salt (if necessary), vanilla, and about 1 cup of confectioners sugar into a deep mixing bowl. Beat them all together with an electric beater or food processor.
  11. Note about the butter- for best results without lumpiness, soften it for at least 1 hour prior to making the frosting.
  12. Add the milk and more confectioners sugar alternately, mix until creamy and spreadable. I just eyeball the two, but 3 cups sounds about right.
  13. If you want to add food coloring to the frosting, follow the directions on the box or use your own method that works. Separate the plain white frosting into different bowls/containers to dye them different colors.
Most Helpful