Sourdough Vanilla Cupcakes

Craving a super delicious cupcake? Ever thought about adding sourdough discard to it – well I did! I’m all about sneaking sourdough discard into everything possible – it adds a bit of nutrition, some extra moisture, and let’s face it, I hate wasting ingredients. That’s where these sourdough vanilla cupcakes come in. They’re incredibly delicious, with just the right amount of tang, depending on your preference. Quick to whip up, these vanilla cupcakes bake into light and tender cupcake perfection. Sourdough vanilla cupcakes are now a top favorite for birthdays or any celebration. Simple, sweet, and absolutely delicious. Can’t wait for you to give this sourdough vanilla cupcake recipe a shot!

Ingredients in Sourdough Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Sourdough Discard: You can use fresh, bubbly sourdough starter or sourdough discard in this recipe. I prefer a mild to non-existent sour flavor in these vanilla sourdough cupcakes and am mainly using the discard for the moisture and to avoid waste. If you don’t mind a more pronounced sourdough flavor, use refrigerated discard up to a week or two old. I use 100% hydration sourdough discard.
  • Butter and Oil: A combination of butter and oil work together to give the cupcake the best texture. If you leave out the butter, the flavor won’t be quite as rich. If you leave out the oil, the texture will be more crumbly and dry. Do what is best for you, but I prefer a mixture of the two.
  • Eggs: This recipe calls for 4 eggs. They are best used at room temperature.
  • All-Purpose Flour and Cornstarch: I love the combination of all-purpose flour and a little bit of cornstarch to give a tender cupcake. If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, you can leave it out and use an all-purpose flour right around an 11.5% protein content.
  • Buttermilk: If you want a light, tender and moist cupcake, you need to use real buttermilk. I always have buttermilk on hand, but if you don’t, go grab some for these cupcakes. It’s worth it. Promise!
  • Baking Powder: This recipe calls for baking powder as the main leavening agent of these sourdough cupcakes.
  • Salt: Salt balances the flavors in these sourdough cupcakes. Don’t leave it out.
  • Vanilla Extract: Good quality vanilla extract is important for the flavor of these cupcakes. I don’t really want a lot (or any!) sour flavor coming through, and vanilla extract gives these cupcakes delicious flavor. Next time I’m going to add in a touch of almond extract as well because I love that flavor.

Mixing Sourdough Cupcake Batter

Sourdough vanilla cupcakes are easy to whip together, as long as directions are followed. Don’t just dump everything into the bowl and mix together. Cake needs to develop air from the mixing process to make the final product light and fluffy.

First: To the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugar and oil. Mix together until pale in color and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add the sourdough discard and mix again until completely combined.

Second: Add the eggs one at a time to the mixture, whipping and mixing together until completely incorporated before adding in the next egg. Once all the eggs have been added, pour in the vanilla extract and mix again. At this point the mixture is light, fluffy and creamy.

Third: To a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.

Fourth: Pick up a spatula. You won’t be using the mixer anymore. Add half of the flour mixture on top of the butter/egg mixture and use your spatula to stir and gently combine. Pour in half of the buttermilk mixture and stir again until combined. Then add the last of the flour mixture, stirring to combine and finish off with the last of the buttermilk, stirring until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix your batter for light and tender cupcakes.

Filling the Cupcake Tins

I love using these cupcake tins and don’t usually line them for muffins, but for cupcakes I do. You can cut squares of parchment paper or buy cupcake liners. I spray my liners with a little bit of cooking spray and then scoop batter into each cupcake tin, filling them about 3/4 of the way full. Pre-heat the oven to 350℉ before baking.

Mixing the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

While the cupcakes bake, mix up the vanilla buttercream frosting. Using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, whip together softened butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and heavy cream. Mix for 5-7 minutes until silky and smooth. Add a little more heavy cream as needed. This buttercream is easy to pipe and makes enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes.

To switch up your buttercream and give incredible flavor, add 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the buttercream. It’s my favorite!

Baking Sourdough Vanilla Cupcakes

After the cupcakes have baked for about 18 minutes, check them. They should have risen a little above the pan and be baked all the way through. Check them by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. When you pull it out there should be a few moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick, or it will be completely clean. Pull the cupcakes out of the oven and let cool completely before frosting. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover sourdough cupcakes?

If your cupcakes are un-frosted, I stick them in an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze. If they are frosted, I freeze them in an airtight container (but not a bag). Pull them out a few hours before you’re ready to serve them and let them defrost completely. Enjoy!

Are sourdough cupcakes sour? How can I make them taste more or less sour?

The sourdough cupcakes I make are not sour. I use sourdough discard that is young, fresh and hasn’t been in my fridge more than a day or two. This keeps the sour flavor nonexistent or very mild. If you want more tangy flavor, use a discard that has been sitting in your fridge for a week or longer. Sourdough doesn’t have to be sour. Learn more about adjusting the flavor of sourdough here.

Can I long-ferment the cupcake batter for health benefits?

Yes. Cover the just-mixed batter and stick it into the fridge to cold ferment for 24-48 hours. Then portion out into cupcake tins and bake. Add a few minutes to the baking time because the batter is chilled. This long fermentation makes the cupcakes easier to digest and gives them more of the health benefits of sourdough.

Sourdough Vanilla Cupcakes

Amy
Need a quick and delicious cupcake recipe? Sourdough vanilla cupcakes bake up light and tender. Use your sourdough discard and enjoy these moist, delicious cupcakes that are perfect for any celebration!
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 48 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
  

Sourdough Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 113 grams butter softened, 1/2 cup
  • 300 grams granulated sugar about 1.5 cups
  • 120 grams vegetable oil about 1/2 cup
  • 120 grams sourdough discard 100% hydration, about 1/2 cup
  • 4 large eggs about 200 grams
  • 12 grams vanilla extract about 1 Tablespoon
  • 300 grams all – purpose flour about 2 cups
  • 20 grams cornstarch about 2 Tablespoons
  • 12 grams baking powder about 1 Tablespoon
  • 3 grams salt about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 240 grams buttermilk about 1 cup

Cupcake Frosting

  • 226 grams unsalted butter softened, about 1 cup
  • 375 grams powdered sugar about 3 cups
  • 8 grams vanilla extract about 2 teaspoons
  • 3 grams salt about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 50 grams heavy cream about 3-4 Tablespoons, see recipe notes

Instructions
 

Sourdough Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Pre-heat oven to 350℉ and prepare two cupcake pans by lining them with cupcake liners.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugar and oil until pale in color and light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and add the sourdough discard. Mix again until completely incorporated.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with your mixer after each egg is added. The egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before you add the next egg. Add the vanilla extract and whip together to combine.
  • To a small bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Fluff with a fork or whisk together to combine.
  • Add half of the dry mixture on top of the egg/butter/sugar mixture. Do not use your mixer anymore, instead use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk (120 grams) and stir until just combined.
  • Add the rest of the dry ingredients, stirring until just barely combined. Add the rest of the buttermilk. Stir it in until it just comes together. Not over-mixing is key to a light and tender vanilla cupcake.
  • Scoop batter into each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way full, doing your best to evenly divide the batter between the cupcake pans. This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes.
  • Bake cupcakes for about 18 minutes until baked all the way through. Stick a toothpick into the center of a cupcake to test for doneness (all ovens vary a little in temperature). The toothpick should have a few moist crumbs or be completely clean coming out – no batter.
  • Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Enjoy!

Vanilla Buttercream

  • Add the unsalted butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer and whip the butter until light in color. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and most of the heavy cream.
  • Whip together until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Add in the rest of the heavy cream as needed until you get the consistency you like. Continue whipping the buttercream together until it is light and fluffy. The key to a good buttercream is in the mixing. Mix for 5-7 minutes until silky smooth.
  • Pipe buttercream on cooled cupcakes. This recipe yields enough to frost 24 cupcakes with a generous amount of icing. Enjoy!

Notes

Sourdough Discard: You can use fresh, bubbly sourdough starter or sourdough discard in this recipe. I prefer a mild to non-existent sour flavor in these vanilla sourdough cupcakes and am mainly using the discard for the moisture or to avoid waste. If you don’t mind a more pronounced sourdough flavor, use refrigerated discard up to a week or two old. I use 100% hydration sourdough discard.
Cake: This recipe also makes two 8 inch round cakes. Bake in cake pans for about 30-35 minutes.
Buttercream: I like to substitute 5 grams of almond extract in place of 5 grams of vanilla extract for an almond/vanilla flavored icing. If you don’t have heavy cream, you can use milk instead. Milk is not as thick as cream, so use about 20 grams and add a little more at a time as needed.
Keyword easy sourdough cake recipe, sourdough cupcakes, sourdough discard cupcakes, sourdough discard vanilla cake, sourdough discard vanilla cupakes, sourdough vanilla cupakes, sourodugh cupcake recipe
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