The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake, with Sprinkles’ Candace Nelson

There are only a couple of food personalities that I’d get truly starstruck meeting in person: Martha Stewart, Ottolenghi and Ina Garten (and maybe even her husband Jeffrey), to name a few. Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles cupcakes, is one of them, too: I’ve been a huge fan of hers ever since having my first fluffy, perfectly frosted cupcake several years ago, and now my kids can’t get enough of her cupcakes either.

I had the opportunity to meet Candace when we were both in Sun Valley this summer, and she was gracious enough to come in the kitchen and show me a couple of her favorite recipes. This one is her signature vanilla cupcake, which is the exact recipe they serve at Sprinkles locations! These classic confections are perfect for kids’ birthday parties, bake sales, or wedding or baby showers—and guess what? The frosting isn’t as intimidating as it seems.

Check out the video to see how the cupcakes are made, then let me know how your baking goes in the comments. Enjoy!

Sprinkles Vanilla Cupcakes

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp fine sea salt

2/3 cup whole milk

1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 large egg whites

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to medium-low, slowly add the egg and egg whites one at a time, and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add half the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beating until just blended after each addition.  

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake until the tops are just dry to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting with vanilla frosting.

*For high altitude baking make the following adjustments:

Decrease baking powder to ½ tsp baking powder

Use 1 less Tablespoon sugar

Baking time may be a few minutes less. Check your cupcakes early.

Vanilla Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened but still cool

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

5 teaspoons whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium, add the milk and vanilla, and beat until fully blended, 1 to 2 minutes, making sure not to incorporate too much air into the frosting.

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  • Jam

    Love this ❤❤

  • Cris

    Thank you,I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Kasandra’

    Love it ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Kamryn Sieger

    Hi Gen,
    My name is Kamryn Sieger I’m 17 years old and I just wanted to thank you. My father has been ill over the past two years with terminal brain cancer. He passed away yesterday and I just wanted you to know that you and your husband have helped and continue to help me through all of it. I know you probably won’t see this but I just felt it was right to send thanks to the people who have helped hold me up ❤️ thank you for being consistently inspiring and motivating and Jared too ♥️ your blog and supernatural have been my saviours. Again thank you so so much ❤️

  • Sarah

    Perfect! Just in time for my daughter’s first birthday!

  • Annette Wilder

    YUM 🙂

  • Cindy

    Yum! Will definitely try making this! Wish me luck, my baking skills are not the best…..

  • Toni

    That is awesome! Can’t wait to try it! Gen! You did a Fabulous job!???

  • Stacy Huntington-Graham

    I am a huge fan of Candace & Sprinkles, I’ve begged her to make a “Peaches & Cream” cupcake with a fresh caramelized peach cake with cinnamon & peach cream cheese frosting! I love the fruity cupcakes so much!

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