Have you tried many a vanilla cupcake recipe that doesn't really taste like vanilla? Most of them are great if you want a "white" cake but not vanilla!
However ... these vanilla cupcakes really do taste like vanilla. They are a denser cupcake but with frosting they're definitely yummy!
Add vanilla icing and the whole thing will melt in your mouth! Strawberry icing is really delicious on them too. (And I'm sure chocolate wouldn't taste awful.)
This vanilla cupcake recipe can be made without dairy products and they turn out great! We use egg replacer (a powder product found in health food grocery stores) instead of eggs and Earth Balance Buttery Spread instead of butter.
Another idea is to replace some or all of the butter with coconut oil. If you replace all of the butter, you will probably end up with vanilla/coconut cupcakes, which is fine ... if you love coconut! Be sure to melt the coconut oil first and mix quickly once you add it.
For party cupcakes, add some festive wrappers or picks too. Enjoy!