cupcakes with blue frosting and sprinkles
Basic Butter Cupcakes (With Variations)
24 Votes
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Prep: 20 min
Bake: 25 min
Yield: 20 cupcakes
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Butter & lightly flour 20 muffin cups or place paper liners in cups.

SIFT Swans Down Cake Flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, sift once; set aside.

CREAM butter & sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

ADD flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

SPOON batter into prepared muffin cups, about 2/3 full.

BAKE about 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan, cool completely on wire racks.

TOP with desired frosting.


Chocolate Cupcakes: Fold 3 ounces of melted semisweet chocolate into batter.
Spice Cupcakes: Sift with dry ingredients ½ tsp. ground cinnamon & ¼ tsp. each ground nutmeg, ginger & cloves.

  • Deborah says:

    Can I please have a recipe for white cupcakes and cake?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Deborah, Here’s one of our favorite White Cake Recipes:

      WHITE CAKE (two 8 inch round layer pans)
      2 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
      ¾ tsp. salt
      1 cup sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      ¾ cup milk
      2 ½ tsp. baking powder
      ¼ cup sugar
      ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
      3 large egg whites

      Preheat oven 350°F. Butter & lightly flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Sift Swans Down Cake Flour once, measure, add 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt, sift again. Beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Add ¼ cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until egg whites form stiff shiny peaks.

      Stir butter to soften, add flour mixture, milk and vanilla. Mix until all flour is moistened; then beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add meringue mixture and beat 1 minute longer. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake about 20–25 minutes or until cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes; then remove from pans and finish cooling on racks.

      Alternate baking pans:

      One 13 X 9-inch pan for 25 minutes
      One 9-inch square pan for 25 minutes

  • Melissa says:

    Where is the recipe? I only see a picture and comments.

  • Erin says:

    Loved the recipe! Do you have any archived white cake recipes?

  • Lynn Rawlinson says:

    These are Amazing. Soft and fluffy

  • Crystal says:

    I love Swans Cake Flour. I discovered it a few years ago when a recipe for chocolate chip cookies called for cake flour (maybe some of you know this recipe? It’s become quite popular and it’s amazing. I think due to the cake flour!)
    I’m looking to make these cupcakes. Wondering if I can use 2% milk as I never have whole milk on hand. I do always have half and half. Appreciate any guidance!

  • Kathy DeLong says:

    Please send me some recipes for a plain white cake.
    Thank you

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Kathy, Your information was forwarded to our Consumer Affairs Department. Someone will be sharing white cake recipes with you. Happy baking!

  • Leslie says:

    These are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. The taste is light, yet fluffy. Oh so good. My new go-to cupcake recipe. It’s also nice to know they are light on the gluten.

  • Pamela says:

    Can you use coconut milk instead of reg milk? And can I use Splenda instead of sugar?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Pamela, You can substitute whole milk with coconut milk with no other adjustments necessary. We have not tested this recipe using Splenda or a sugar alternative. You would have to check with Splenda to see what the conversion would be. We’d love to know the results. Happy baking!

  • Lisa says:

    Would love a true white cake recipe for 2-9inch rounds

  • Pat Read says:

    Could you send me a recipe for just a plain white cake that I can bake in a 19×9 pan. I have the flour and have made other recipes but can’t find a recipe for just plain white cake. Thank you!!

  • Jacque’s HeavenlyTreats says:

    Swan’s is my absolute FAVORITE! I would love to have more of the old recipes, but I use this recipe for caramel cakes and cupcakes! I really would appreciate some coupons and larger quantities of the cake flour in stores! Thanks so much!

  • Shannon says:

    Would this make a 3 layer 9” cake or would I need to double the recipe?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Shannon, This recipe would make 2 8-inch layers. You would almost have to double the recipe to net 3 9-inch layers. Just make sure to not fill the pans more than 2/3 of the way full to avoid overflow during baking. Happy baking!

  • Jeaniece says:

    About 50 years ago my mom had a original Recipe from the first box of swans have been trying to recreate that cake not working can you give me the recipe and pointers

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Jeaniece, We love hearing that Swans Down recipes are traditional family favorites. Please contact our Customer Service Department. They may be able to locate the exact recipe for you. 1-800-535-1961 Happy baking!

  • Cheryl says:

    Can this recipe also be used for a red velvet cupcakes just by adding food color?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Cheryl, Outside of the red food coloring the base for a red velvet cake contains cocoa, buttermilk and both baking soda and powder with vinegar to activate. It’s a very different ingredient combination than that of the Basic Butter Cupcakes. Here’s a link to our delicious Red Velvet Cake. You can certainly bake these in cupcake tins vs 8″ cake pans. Make sure to not fill the cups more than 2/3 way full and test for doneness at 15 minutes. Makes about 24 cupcakes. Happy Baking!

  • Peggy says:

    Years ago used Swan down to make white cake
    2 1/4 cups flour
    11/3 cups sugar
    1 cup milk
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    Crisco ??1/2 cup
    Baking powder??
    Do you have full recipe

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Peggy, I was able to locate 3 White Cakes in the Swans Down archives. I sent them to your email address. Come back and let us know if you try one. Happy Baking!

  • Susie says:

    Hi do I sift the flour separately first and then measure it ? Sorry it’s my first time using it. I would appreciate your feed back.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Susie, Welcome to Swans Down! This recipe does call for you to sift the flour first, then measure. Sift the flour and spoon into measuring cup, then level off making sure not to pack the flour. Please come back and share your experience. Happy Baking!

  • Beckie says:

    I made this recipe, it was good but I felt the texture wasn’t as soft & fluffy as I wanted. It was more like the texture of a muffin.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Beckie, We appreciate feedback from all of our Swans Down users. Will share your comments with our kitchen. Happy baking!

  • MAD Batter Bakery says:

    This is my new go to batter. My unicorn so to speak… i use this as a base for my confetti cupcakes, red Velvet, chocolate, strawberry and every other one I make I simply tweak the recipe and add extra things for the flavor im looking for. Simple quick and easy!

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Mad Batter Bakery! We love hearing from our happy Swans Down users. And thanks for the awesome variations. Happy baking!

  • Keyonda White says:

    This recipe is awesome. It kept me from having to make two different batters. I needed a dozen vanilla and a dozen chocolate. I add the chocolate after making the dozen vanilla. Also they were for an adult party so I added alcohol (Hennessy) they were a hit.

  • Keyonda White says:

    This recipe is aweaome. It kept me from having to make two different batters. I needed a dozen vanilla and a dozen chocolate. I add the chocolate after making the dozen vanilla. Also the were for an adult party so I added alcohol (Hennessy) they were a hit.

  • Osceola Gilbert says:

    I made strawberry cupcakes using this recipe. I simply add a very,very,very small amount of beet juice rather than food color and chopped fresh strawberries rather than use frozen. the frozen berries add moisture to the batter as they thaw. The cupcakes were very good. The frosting was simple buttercream tinted with a few drops of beet juice too.

  • Fiona says:

    What she said: Red Velvet!

  • Katie Voss Mohamed says:

    What about strawberry cupcakes? and Red velvet cupcakes? Is there a variation for these two?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Katie, great ideas! We are working on more variations. Please stay tuned to our site, and happy baking!

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