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Easy Vanilla Glaze for Cupcakes

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Easy vanilla glaze is perfect for topping cupcakes, a bundt cake, or a simple quick bread for that finishing touch. Just add sprinkles for a stunning dessert.

A vanilla cupcake in a white wrapper has white vanilla glaze and rainbow sprinkles on top. More cupcakes are in the background.

I love cupcakes with sky-high piles of frosting just as much as the next girl, but what happens when you have to bundle up the goodies to take to a party?

If you've ever tried to travel with cupcakes, you know how tricky it can be to get them from Point A to Point B without the frosting getting smooshed and messy.

We recently ran our own little cupcake delivery service to several friends' houses for Little Pea's virtual birthday party. We dropped off cupcakes, a couple of birthday candles, and some party supplies for our friends to enjoy while we met together on Zoom.

I covered each care package with aluminum foil to keep the cupcakes clean since I was leaving them on the front step of each house.

To make sure that each cupcake was just as clean and pretty as it was when I frosted it in my kitchen, I decided to make "Vanilla Donut Cupcakes" with birthday party sprinkles.

You can check out how we hosted an awesome virtual birthday party with friends here.

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This vanilla glaze is perfect for frosting cupcakes, a bundt cake, or an easy quick bread. You only need a few ingredients:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Softened butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Kosher salt

The softened butter helps the vanilla glaze to keep shape and adds a lovely shine to the finished cupcake.

The Easiest Cupcakes

First, I baked up a batch of vanilla cupcakes from a box mix.

Yep. The author of a baking book for kids used a BOX MIX for this batch of vanilla cupcakes. Not every treat has to be overly complicated! Shh. . . box mixes are actually quite tasty!


When you want to save time, use a box mix for the cake but always make your frosting from scratch.

The frosting is the part that makes the biggest difference in the final flavor and it only takes a few minutes!

Make the Glaze

A bowl of vanilla glaze has a whisk and is sitting next to a muffin pan filled with vanilla cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes were totally cooled, I whisked together a super easy, super thick vanilla glaze.

This easy glaze recipe features just a tiny bit of softened butter to help it hold shape and give it some extra shine.

How to Glaze the Cupcakes

The cupcakes are lined up on the counter next to the bowl of glaze.

The final vanilla glaze texture is very thick and spreadable. Once it has set and dried, the texture and appearance look just like the frosting you'll find on a bakery donut!

Making the vanilla glaze only took a couple of minutes to measure and whisk together.

I spread it with a butter knife over the top of the vanilla cupcakes and immediately added a pinch of rainbow sprinkles to mimic the look of vanilla sprinkled donuts.

If you wait to add the sprinkles, the glaze will dry and the sprinkles will just bounce off. Make sure to add them immediately while the glaze is still wet.

Travel Tips for Cupcakes

I let the glaze on the cupcakes set for an hour while we got other party supplies ready.

When I was ready to deliver them to our friends, I placed the cupcakes onto a double-layer paper plate and then loosely covered with aluminum foil. 

The sprinkles definitely helped to protect the glaze from the aluminum foil covering. If you want just plain cupcakes without the sprinkles, I would consider adding a birthday candle as a "tent post" to prop up the foil.

The frosting sets pretty firm, but even donuts can get crackles in the glaze if they get knocked around too much.

These easy-bake treats were a huge hit with our friends. They are especially perfect for kids who don't like too much frosting.

There's just enough of the glaze to make the sprinkles stick so the focus is on the light and fluffy cake of the cupcake.

Save this recipe as a perfect option for your next bundt cake or coffee cake, too!

More Easy Frosting Recipes

Looking for more easy ways to ice your cupcakes, cake, or cookies? Don't miss our favorite frosting recipes here:

๐Ÿ“– Recipe

A vanilla cupcake in a white wrapper has white vanilla glaze and rainbow sprinkles on top. More cupcakes are in the background.

Vanilla Glaze

4.69 from 19 votes
This easy one-bowl vanilla glaze takes just a couple minutes to whisk together and is perfect for topping "vanilla donut" cupcakes. Add a dash of sprinkles for the perfect treat that travels well.
TOTAL TIME 5 minutes
PREP TIME 5 minutes
YIELD 24 servings


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of kosher salt


  • Add all the ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk them together by hand. If the butter clumps, just tap the whisk against the bowl periodically. Keep whisking till smooth.
  • If the mixture is still too thick, add additional milk, 1/2 tbsp at a time.
  • If the mixture is too thin and runny, add additional powdered sugar, 1 tbsp at a time.
  • Final consistency should be thick but smooth. Spread the glaze onto your prepared cupcakes with a butter knife and add sprinkles immediately. Let set for 1 hour before serving for a dried donut-style cupcake.

Recipe Notes

This glaze cannot be made ahead of time or it will set. Prepare it just before topping your cupcakes.
Be sure your cupcakes are completely cool or the glaze will drizzle more than you want it to.

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  1. Super Delicious! I would highly recommend this recipe! I added some more butter, and powdered sugar and used a mixer and this made the perfect frosting for my birthday cake! Thank You!

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  3. Pingback: How to host a virtual birthday party for kids safe at home

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