Vanilla Cupcakes (with secret ingredient)

These vanilla cupcakes are easy to make and feature a secret ingredient that helps give them their extra moist vanilla flavor! You’ll love this recipe for birthdays and special occasions!

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Have you heard of using ice cream for an ingredient in baking? I know! So cool. It adds the dairy ingredient, sweetener, and flavor all in one ingredient.

Plus, it is just so dang fun! This is a fun cake recipe for kids to make. They love trying to taste the ice cream, after.

Try swapping out the flavors of ice cream and see what it does to the flavor of the cake, itself. Let kids get creative!

What is the difference between vanilla cake and white cake?

Mostly, white cake uses only the whites of the eggs to keep the color clean and vanilla cake uses the entire egg.

Can I use butter or oil in cake?

Use melted butter! The flavor is much, much better then the oil will be. Technically, yes you can use oil instead of butter. But don’t. You’ll be glad you used butter.

Note: If you don’t want to use either butter or oil we have a list of substitute ideas you can find here: Butter and Oil Substitutes.

When baking cakes and cupcakes over-baking is the worst thing you can do. This is how you’ll get dry cakes. You are better off under-baking your cake, instead.

What is the purpose of vanilla extract in baking?

Vanilla, like salt in savory foods, brings out the flavor of all of the other ingredients. In this recipe, a vanilla bean is used rather than extract so that the vanilla, itself, becomes a stand-out flavor and not just enhancer.

Although, have you ever tried almond in cake? Not this recipe, for sure. But try using almond extract in your next white cake. Sooo good! This is one of the flavors wedding cakes use so often. Yummy!

Note: Find other great tips for baking cake in THIS POST with tips and tricks for cake.

Because this is a simple vanilla cake recipe I didn’t include a frosting recipe. These are a perfect landscape for any of your favorite frostings. Some of my fave:

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Whiskey Frosting
Cherry Frosting
Coffee Buttercream
Cinnamon Frosting
Strawberry Frosting
Chocolate Frosting
Peanut Frosting

Give this vanilla cupcake recipe a try and see if it becomes a new favorite in your recipe box. I’m betting that you pull this recipe out several times a year for a birthday or other special reason.

Ice Cream Vanilla Cupcakes

| 12 cupcakes
Prep Time | 15 minutes
Cook Time | 20 minutes
Total Time | 35 minutes
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The secret ingredient to these yummy vanilla cupcakes is ice cream! Vanilla ice cream makes these full of flavor and moisture. You’ll love them!


  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat or oat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean split and seeds removed
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream melted (not hot!)
  • egg room temperature
Check out our Kitchen Reference Guide for help with unfamiliar terms.


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin pan, set aside.
  • In a large bowl sift together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In another large bowl mix together vanilla bean, ice cream, butter, and egg. Mix well.
  • Add the flour mixture to the ice cream mixture and mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the muffin tin dividing equally amongst the tins.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool. Frost with your favorite frosting.

Other Cake Recipes to try:

the best homemade chocolate cake from scratch recipe you'll ever make. And then make again and good!

The BEST Homemade Chocolate Cake

the BEST Homemade White Cake! Srsly…so good!

This Maraschino Cherry Cake and Frosting is amazing!! Perfect for a family gathering.

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