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Vanilla Buttercream Cupcakes

When you're planning a party for a larger crowd cooking and baking up a killer menu can become a challenge. You need foods that feed a bunch of people, yet don't empty your party budget or take a ton of time to prepare.

Though we love to bake our cupcakes from scratch as much as any baker, it's often not possible when the big party day draws near. So, too keep things more simplified, but also delicious we usually combine a little store-brought with a little homemade.

Below, a recipe for vanilla buttercream cupcakes that uses a store-brought mix but an easy homemade icing.


1 box of butter cake mix (plus the listed ingredients on the back)
1 pound of butter, softened
Vanilla extract (we use about 1 tablespoon)
Box of confectioner's sugar (the 1 pound box will be more than enough)
Candy garnishes (optional)


First, preheat your oven to 350F. While it gets warmed up, prepare your cake batter.

Rather than using oil (some store brought boxes will advise this) we used 1 stick of butter. Place the stick of butter in the microwave and heat in 15 second intervals until the butter has softened, but not melted completely. Add to your cake mix along with the required water and mix using a whisk.

Add the eggs your batter and whisk. Don't over mix your batter! Whisk lightly for about 45 seconds or until the eggs have been combined. This will keep your cake light and fluffy.

Set the batter aside and line your cupcake pans. Using an ice cream scooper, fill each liner with one scoop of batter. We recommend baking one pan of cupcakes at a time in the middle of the oven. This will avoid the bottoms or tops overcooking.

Bake for about 18 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back with a light touch from a finger.

Once your cupcakes have baked, remove them almost immediately from the pan and place on cooling rack.

Now, while your cupcakes cool, prepare your frosting. Take the remaining 3 sticks of butter and place them in a mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low for the first few minutes, then increase the speed for another 2 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low and add your vanilla extract. Allow to mix for a few seconds, then begin adding your powdered sugar.

We recommend sifting your powdered sugar before incorporating as this will produce a much creamier, lump free frosting. Add your sugar 1/4 cup at a time (or about 3 hefty tablespoons). You're free to add as much or as little as you like! Simply taste-test as you go. If you like it sweeter add more, if you like it more buttery add less.

Once you're happy with the frosting, fit into a piping bag and cut the tip off. Then, Plop dollops onto each cupcake (just make sure they're cool or frosting will slide off!).

Garnish with candies like we did, or with whatever you'd like and you're done!

Prep Time

Cupcakes - 10 minutes

Frosting - 20 minutes


18 - 24 cupcakes

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