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Perfect White Cupcake: Recipe for Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cupcakes

Last week I was all about finding the Perfect White Cupcakes for a certain someone’s fourth birthday party that we had this past Saturday.

It was a week long adventure for sure!

There were several batches baked and tweaked, frustrated phone calls to Jamie from My Baking Addiction, and more tweaks.

It turns out I had a high altitude dilemma on my hands.

I don’t bake cupcakes a lot and depending on the recipe, I often get lucky, but this time around it did not work out so well.

vanilla bean sour cream cupcakes

Circus Tent Cupcake Decorating Tips

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We had an adorable Circus/Carnival themed birthday party for Madeline (more details to follow later this week) and I knew that I wanted a moist, Vanilla Cupcake recipe for the party so I could do two-toned frosting in the party colors on top so they would somewhat resemble a Circus tent.

I used a combination of red, yellow, and turquoise striped cupcake wrappers and frosted each with a coordinating color combo: white and red swirls, yellow and white swirls, and turquoise and white swirls.

Decorating Tools Used:

perfect white cupcake vanilla bean sour cream cupcake recipe

The final cupcake recipe turned out delicious! Everyone, including perfectionist me, loved them. It was well worth the effort.

I love the slight tang that the sour cream offers the cupcakes and how incredibly moist they are.

These Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cupcakes will definitely be my new go-to Perfect White Cupcake Recipe.

Please Note:

I have not personally tested this recipe at sea level.

I live at around 5,300 feet elevation and made tweaks to the original recipe, which you can find credited in the recipe’s print box.

More Yummy Cupcakes

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perfect white cupcake vanilla bean sour cream cupcake recipe

Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cupcakes

Yield: Makes approximately 18-20 cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

I love the slight tang that the sour cream offers the cupcakes and how incredibly moist they are. These Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cupcakes will definitely be my new go-to Perfect White Cupcake Recipe.


For the Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (to maintain the bright white color)
  • 1 ½ pounds (24 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk


For the Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the racks in the center position. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, sour cream, and egg whites. Set aside.
  4. Fit a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or use a hand mixer (I got a better dome with the hand mixer). Add the butter, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light. Scrape the sides as necessary.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and one third of the flour mixture while beating on medium speed, again scraping the sides as needed. Beat in half of the sour cream mixture. Alternately add the remaining flour mixture and sour cream until all the wet and dry ingredients have added, beating until the batter fully incorporated and smooth.
  6. Use a large scoop (about 3 tablespoons), evenly divide the batter between 18 lined muffin tins filling each about 2/3 of the way full.
  7. Bake for 15-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centers come out clean. Cool on wire rack.

For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the butter and vanilla bean seeds. Beat until fluffy. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the confectioners' sugar while continuing to beat.
  2. Once well blended, add in the vanilla and 4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk. Mix on low speed until well combined and moist. If desired, an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until your desired consistency is reached. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  3. Pipe or decorate as desired. See Two Tone Frosting for Cupcakes and Cupcake Piping Tricks for piping tips.


cupcakes heavily adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

Vanilla Buttercream via Jamie

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Nutrition Information
Yield 18 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 318Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 57mgSodium 157mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 0gSugar 16gProtein 4g offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Kristin Nelson

Thursday 27th of May 2021

Can this be a cake?! And if so what size and bake time? These are so darn good I can’t get enough. I have a friend that makes me make her 1/2 a week!!!!!


Tuesday 1st of June 2021

I have made it as a cake before (years ago!) but I'm so sorry I don't remember all of the details and I didn't think to make note of it. I believe I doubled the recipe for a 9x13 pan rectangular cake and filled the pan 2/3-3/4 of the way full. For the baking time, I just kept an eye on it and checked the center with a tooth pick at intervals.

Kristin Nelson

Friday 5th of February 2021

Can you use carton egg whites?

Kristin Nelson

Tuesday 27th of April 2021

@Katie, These are just the best. What do you think of using it for a cake?

Kristin Nelson

Thursday 1st of April 2021

@Katie, It worked!

Next question. I’ve made dozens of these now there wonderful. I’ve been asked to make them gluten free! Do I just use gluten free flour and for the cake flour use gluten free flour and take out 2T and add cornstarch back in????


Monday 8th of February 2021

I haven't personally substituted that to test it, but assuming there are not additives and it is pure egg white and you use the correct amount of carton egg white to equal the number of egg whites the recipes calls for I don't see why this wouldn't be an adequate subsitute.

Sheri L Amos

Friday 13th of April 2018

Awesome recipe! Beautiful domes and just right on the texture! I have tried a lot of high altitude cake and cupcake recipes and this one is a winner! I substituted some Oregon Chai Concentrate for the milk and added 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp chai spice and topped with vanilla bean frosting with the same spices and amounts used in the cupcakes...tasted just like a chai spice latte! Yum! I am at 4100' and it was a beautiful little cupcake. Thank you for sharing!


Saturday 14th of April 2018

Sounds wonderful! I'm so glad it was a winner for you. :) Thanks for stopping by to let me know!


Thursday 8th of March 2018

I've been going crazy trying to find a good cupcake recipe for the last week. After 3 failed attempts, these are it! Thank you, thank you!!


Monday 12th of March 2018

So glad it was a winner! Thanks for stopping by :)

Michelle Duncan

Wednesday 7th of February 2018

Thank you for posting! I made these at the 3,500’ level and finally made a good cupcake! I’ve been having trouble with crumbling and dry cupcakes. I’m going to write it on a recipe card now!


Thursday 8th of February 2018

Glad I could help!

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