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Cupcakes from Scratch: Yellow Cupcakes With Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Favorite Yellow Cupcakes With Chocolate Frosting

Favorite Yellow Cupcakes With Chocolate Frosting

Cupcake Recipe for Regular or High Altitude Cupcakes

Cupcakes are one of our favorite desserts--that is, homemade cupcakes so moist and tender they practically melt in your mouth. Who enjoyss a dry cupcake? Or worse yet, a cupcake that is sunken or raw in the center? I've tasted my share of bad cupcakes.

I used to struggle with cupcake making even at sea level. After we moved to a town 9,000 feet in the Andes Mountains, I almost gave up on making my favorite dessert.

That was until I developed this recipe. Especially important for high altitude baking, fat proportions must be just right in comparison to flour and wet ingredients. And this one fits the bill. It's never failed me. And even when I don't have enough room in my little oven for all the cupcakes, the leftover batter waits dutifully on the countertop and produces fluffy, moist cupcakes when it finally gets a turn in the oven.

The best news is this recipe works at both sea level or high altitude, with only slight adjustments. In part, that´s due to the lower percentage of fat in these cupcakes. But don't let that fool you! A little less fat doesn't mean dry, flavorless cupcakes.

We use double-acting baking powder in this recipe. If you only have single-acting baking powder, double the amount. Be sure to carefully follow the mixer speeds indicated in the instructions section. I prefer to use convection for baking, but even in a standard oven you will bake perfect cupcakes every time.

So gather your ingredients and let's get baking!

cupcakes-from-scratch

More cake recipes





Tips:

  • Bring all ingredients to room temperature before assembling the cupcake batter.
  • Use real butter, not margarine or vegetable shortening.
  • Salted butter works well in this recipe. If you have unsalted butter, increase kosher salt to 3/4 teaspoon.
  • Instead of sifting flour, use a whisk to aerate the dry ingredients.
  • Carefully follow the mixing speeds indicated in the instructions. If you whip too much air into the batter, the cupcakes are more likely to fall.
  • Baking times vary greatly depending on whether you are at sea level or high altitude. At high altitude, the cupcakes will probably need an extra 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If using a convection oven, cupcakes may be ready in 15 minutes.
  • Be carful not to overbake!
  • Use high quality chocolate and cocoa for the frosting such as Ghirardelli or Trader Joe's.


Tender & Moist Yellow Cupcakes

Tender & Moist Yellow Cupcakes

Yellow Cupcakes With Chocolate Frosting

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

20 min

40 min

14 cupcakes

Beat butter and sugar

Beat butter and sugar

Add eggs and beat well

Add eggs and beat well

Alternate dry ingredients...

Alternate dry ingredients...

...and wet

...and wet

Batter is ready to go

Batter is ready to go

Baking cupcakes

Baking cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached flour, whisked
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, double acting
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 + 3 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature

* For 6,500-9,500 feet: reduce butter to 1/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons

* For 6,500-9,500 feet: reduce baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line tin with cupcake papers.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk unbleached flour and baking powder until well combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter and sugar on high speed with a hand or stand mixer until creamy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue beating on high speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Add salt and vanilla extract. We love Nielsen Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste. Beat a few seconds longer.
  6. Reduce mixing speed to LOW. Add flour and milk alternately, in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
  7. Spoon batter into cupcake liners, only filling them 3/4 full. Be careful not to overfill them.
  8. Slide cupcake tin into the hot oven. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until a toothpick tests done.
  9. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them.
cupcakes-from-scratch

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces good quality dark chocolate, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
cupcakes-from-scratch

Instructions:

  1. Place chocolate in microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Slide into a microwave and heat on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted.
  3. Allow chocolate to cool.
  4. Beat butter with a hand or stand mixer until fluffy.
  5. Add chocolate and cocoa. Mix well.
  6. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating well until thick and fluffy.
  7. Frost cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!
Warm Cupcakes

Warm Cupcakes

Cupcakes cooling on the windowsill

Cupcakes cooling on the windowsill

14 cupcakes ready to eat!

14 cupcakes ready to eat!

Comments

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 10, 2017:

Yummy! I love eating and baking cupcakes. They look so delicious, especially with that chocolate fudge frosting. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 06, 2017:

Please let me know what you think marleyjustine. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

M from Canada on March 05, 2017:

Those look delicious. I'll have to try this recipe next time I bake cupcakes!

Moumita Dasgupta from Kolkata on March 27, 2014:

Gosh, I really need that help, newly married often want this scratch to robust things...

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 18, 2014:

PegCole17, I'm glad you're going to try these moist and fluffy cupcakes. Thanks so much for the pin and share!

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on March 18, 2014:

Right from the first picture of that yummy homemade cupcake you had my attention. Your instructions are easy to follow and the pictures are wow. I'm going to try these. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is the hubby's favorite in cupcake form. Pinned and sharing.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 12, 2014:

RTalloni, please let me know how this comes out with lactose alternatives. Thanks for your comment!

RTalloni on March 12, 2014:

Fresh ingredients make homemade so much better than boxed and with such an easy recipe to use celebrating Saint Patrick's Day should be a piece of cake! :) Looking forward to trying this out with cow milk alternatives.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 04, 2014:

Thanks for the pin, Moonlake!

moonlake from America on February 03, 2014:

These look so good. Have to pin them to my cake board. Voted up.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 26, 2014:

DeborahNeyens, that's a good idea. I would love to do a cookbook someday!

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on January 26, 2014:

Have you ever thought about doing a high altitude cookbook? I don't know that I've ever seen one and you have so many yummy looking recipes to include.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 21, 2014:

Suzanne Day, I'm glad you like the looks of these cupcakes. They're fun to make and even more fun to eat. : ) I appreciate your support.

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 20, 2014:

OMG I always wanted to make chocolate frosting that looks like this - melt in the mouth and gorgeous! The cupcakes underneath are quite cute and I like all the helpful instructions and photos you have provided so that the reader can make cupcakes from scratch. Delightful, rated and voted awesome ;)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 10, 2014:

Janderson99, cupcakes are a favorite of kids. Thanks for your comment!

Dr. John Anderson from Australia on Planet Water on January 10, 2014:

Excellent recipe, my kids will love those.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 09, 2014:

mylindaelliott, cupcakes are one of my favorites, too!

mylindaelliott from Louisiana on January 09, 2014:

Cupcakes are my favorite.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 09, 2014:

GlimmerTwinFan, thank you for all your support. I hope you can try this easy cupcake recipe next time you´re in a baking mood!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 09, 2014:

CraftytotheCore, we agree!

Claudia Mitchell on January 09, 2014:

Oh boy do these look wonderful. I always love your new recipes and this is no exception. Last night I really wanted something sweet, had I seen this I would have made some.

CraftytotheCore on January 09, 2014:

These look so good. There is nothing like a homemade cupcake with homemade frosting!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 09, 2014:

randomcreative, I appreciate your kind words! These cupcakes are as fun to eat as they are to make. I hope you enjoy the rest of the week.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 08, 2014:

I always get excited when I see a new recipe article from you in my feed! Cupcakes from scratch are so inspired. Thanks for all of the tips about high altitude cooking. I know that a lot of people will benefit from them.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 08, 2014:

AliciaC, thank you for your enthusiastic comment!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 07, 2014:

These cupcakes sound lovely. I love the extra tips that you add, too! They are very helpful. Thanks for sharing another great recipe, vespawoolf.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2014:

Dde, thanks for coming by!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2014:

Lindacee, thank you for the kind words. I'm glad this inspired to you spend a couple of hours in the kitchen. Enjoy!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2014:

Eiddwen, cooking is such a nice creative outlet for anyone. I hope you get to benefit from your granddaughter's cooking lesson! : )

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 07, 2014:

Awesome recipe these cupcakes loos so delicious!!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on January 07, 2014:

I am a lover of cupcakes and this all-purpose recipe is just the thing to get me off my duff and into the kitchen! Can't wait to try them. Your recipe, ingredient list, photos and directions make it easy to follow even for those of us who don't often bake. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration! :)

Eiddwen from Wales on January 07, 2014:

My young granddaughter Krystal is going through a phase where she wants to cook all the time so I shall keep this one for a weekend cooking lesson. Enjoy your day.

Eddy.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2014:

ChitrangadaSharan, thank you for coming by!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2014:

Suzanne Day, be sure to only double the baking powder if yours is single-rise. Otherwise, the cupcakes may rise too much and then fall. Thanks for the vote and stars.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2014:

Greatstuff, I hope your daughter in law enjoys making and eating the cupcakes. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2014:

FullOfLoveSites, enjoy the cupcakes and thanks for your comment.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 07, 2014:

M K Paul, thank you for the kind words.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 07, 2014:

The picture gives the sense that it is a yummy cupcake!

Thanks for sharing the detailed description and helpful pictures. Voted up and pinned!

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 06, 2014:

What wonderful frosting! And I love the idea of double baking soda to make the cupcakes rise. Thank you for this delicious recipe! Voted & rated.

Mazlan from Malaysia on January 06, 2014:

I am forwarding this to my daughter in law. She loves cupcakes and hopefully your recipe and tips will help her in her 'baking experiment'. Thanks for sharing.

FullOfLoveSites from United States on January 06, 2014:

These look really yummy!!! I'm glad this recipe also works on sea level, will try. Thanks for sharing.

M K Paul from India on January 06, 2014:

Wow, lovely..Thanks for sharing..Ur pics are too Good

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 06, 2014:

FlourishAnyway, we also enjoy our cupcakes with a tall glass of cold milk. Thanks for the stars!

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 06, 2014:

How delicious. 5 stars and I sure wish I had some with a tall glass of milk.

Ravi and Swastha from London, Canada on January 06, 2014:

mmmmm. What a yummy recipe. Very great at look. Sure it would be very delicious. Thanks for the recipe Vespawoolf.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 06, 2014:

Suzie HQ, it's so nice to see you around! I hope you're well rested and ready for the new year. Thanks for all your support.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on January 06, 2014:

Hi Vespa,

What a great recipe and love the frosting of chocolate. I would never have realized altitude makes a difference to ingredients, how clever of you to show the tweaking for both. A definite winner from the Vespa kitchen of excellence!! Great job, and intend on making these a.s.a.p. Votes, shared and pinned, 5 stars all the way my friend.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 06, 2014:

Jackie Lynnley, thanks for your loyal support!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 06, 2014:

These look so yummy! I always have to see what you are cooking cause it is always something fantastic! Up and sharing.

Beth37 on January 06, 2014:

Cupcakes... they're like a batlight.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 06, 2014:

Beth37, thanks for being the first to visit this cupcake recipe. : )

Beth37 on January 06, 2014:

This is why you're awesome.

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