Fluffy, tender, buttery and with a soft, light crumb...these classic yellow cupcakes are a staple recipe that will come in handy for years to come. There is something so timeless & classic about a delicious yellow cupcake with sweet, buttercream frosting. Sweet and buttery in flavor, tender and moist in texture. Ladies and Gents I give you a completely from scratch, classic yellow cupcake recipe.
I have been working so hard on these cupcakes. Seriously. In the last 2 weeks I've probably made at least 10 batches. Most of them tasted great, but the texture would be off and vise versa. I was looking for the whole cupcake package. I wanted fluffy, puffy, slight domed shaped cupcakes. I also want a moist, light crumb with a yellow hue. These are yellow cupcakes after all. Well after trying various heating methods, cake flour vs. all purpose vs. a combination of both, egg yolks and egg whites and everything else from sifting, separating, scooping and taste testing I think I've finally found my own version of delicious, glorious yellow cupcakes.
So here it goes...
Do you guys have a go to cupcake recipe? Cupcakes have been on my mind so much lately. I have plenty of cookies, brownies, bars & blondies on here so I felt it was time to throw some cupcakes into the mix. I do have a delicious red velvet recipe that I put up back in February but I wanted a tried and true classic. So naturally, yellow cupcakes came to mind. I love yellow cupcakes, probably too much. I always opt for a buttery vanilla or sprinkled funfetti version. Now that I've tackled classic yellow I'm hoping funfetti will be in my future.
As fun as cupcakes are, creating them from scratch can be an adventure & challenge all in itself. Rising, sinking, puffy, flat, after taste, no taste, not enough taste...oh the cupcake problems you can have! I wrestled with cake flour, all purpose and a combination of both. I used cake flour in my red velvet recipe and loved the result. When using all cake flour with yellow cupcakes they were coming out too pale for my liking. I didn't want white cupcakes, I wanted yellow. And what about eggs, to separate the yolk from the egg white or not, do I use 2 or 3 eggs?
Well here is what I've learned along the way:
Flour: For these classic yellow cupcakes, use All Purpose Flour. And sift it. Very, very important to sift. I have a rotary sifter that I use and what I do is measure out the 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, the 2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and the ½ teaspoon of salt and pour it into the sifter over a bowl. Then I sift away. That way all the dry ingredients are incorporated together.
Butter: Unsalted and room temperature. Always. To achieve room temperature I take the butter out of the fridge and leave it on the counter for an hour. An extra step I take is that i like to cut it into smaller cubes before I start making the recipe. Is cutting the butter up necessary? Probably not, but having it at room temperature is crucial.
Creaming (butter & sugar): A very important part of the cupcake making process is creaming the butter and sugar together. When butter and sugar is mixed together is creates a light, fluffy base that's very important for cupcakes. In this recipe I cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes. Yes, 5 minutes. It may seem like a long time while your doing it but this creates air pockets into the butter and sugar which will later give us a light, fluffy cupcake.
Dry and Wet Ingredients: Once you've mixed all your wet ingredients together you want to slowly add in your dry ingredients with a liquid. For these cupcakes, I highly recommend whole milk or buttermilk. Anything else may alter the taste or texture of the final result. When making these the first time I made my own butter milk with whole milk and vinegar. And then in a separate batch I used only whole milk. I like the result with whole milk best. Buttermilk works well too but may have a slight after taste. Or maybe I'm just super sensitive to it.
One special ingredient: Along with pure vanilla extract I also throw in a little bit of butter extract. Butter extract is something you probably don't have lying around, I never use too until I started this quest, but when I stumbled upon it at the grocery store I wanted to give it a try and I really like it! Vanilla and Butter extract are a must in this recipe.
This recipe makes roughly 20 cupcakes. As usual, you want to fill your cupcake liner only ⅔ of the way. I found that these babies brown pretty quickly so I only bake them for 16-17 minutes as compared to typical 18-20 minute baking times.
Now, on to the frosting, because the only thing better than homemade cupcakes is homemade butter cream frosting. Homemade frosting is one of the best & the easiest things to make. If you've never made frosting from scratch be prepared to experience a life changing moment. Butter cream frosting is sweet, thick & fluffy and cannot be compared to store bought. It's the only thing worthy of any good cake/cupcake recipe.
For our milk chocolate buttercream frosting you'll need powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, a little salt, a little vanilla extract and some whole milk. I highly recommend using whole milk, heavy cream or half & half as the liquid for your frosting for flavor and texture. I chose milk chocolate frosting to go with these yellow cupcakes because it's a classic combination. A fluffy yellow pillow-y cake covered with fluffy, sweet chocolate-y frosting. You just can't beat it.
Classic Yellow Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 12 tablespoons Unsalted Butter softened at room temperature
- 1 and ¾ cup Sugar
- 2 large Eggs room temperature
- 3 teaspoons Vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Butter extract
- 1 and ½ cup Whole Milk
- 2 and ½ cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 and ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
Milk Chocolate Frosting
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter room temperature
- 3 cups Powdered Sugar
- ½ cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3-4 tablespoons Whole Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl combine butter and sugar together and cream together on medium to high speed for 5 minutes. This allows air to be pushed into the butter/sugar mixture and will help give the cupcake a fluffy texture. During the 5 minutes you may want to stop mixing and scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl to make sure everything is thoroughly combined. After 5 minutes has passed, lower the speed to "stir" or the beater lowest speed. Add in the eggs one at a time, fully beating each egg into the batter before adding the next one. Add in vanilla and butter extract and continue mixing. Slowly add in the dry ingredients with a little bit of milk, mixing thoroughly in between each addition. Continue mixing just until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and the cupcake batter is formed. Do not over mix your batter.
- Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop batter into each liner filling about ⅔ full. Bake in the oven for about 17-18 minutes. Cupcakes are down when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over bake the cupcakes to avoid them drying out.
- Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting: In a bowl combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk ingredients together until evenly mixed and free of clumps. In a separate mixing bowl, add in butter and start to blend on medium speed. Slowly add in sugar/cocoa mixture to avoid sugar flying everywhere. Add in vanilla extract. Add in milk a little at a time. Once frosting starts to come together whip on high speed for five minutes. Use a knife or piping bag to frost cupcakes.
- *The 2 hours of total time indicated above includes prep time, baking time, allowing the cupcakes to cool completely and frost.