Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream are a classic dessert perfect for any occasion. Best of all, they are SO EASY to make!
If you read my last post, Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies, then you know John’s birthday was this week. He asked me to bake one of the most straightforward and classic desserts. Yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream. There was no way I was using a boxed mix to make his birthday dessert, so I had to make a recipe that would create a moist, flavorful cupcake. Next, I’d have to make a delicious, chocolatey buttercream to top the cupcakes. Mission accepted!
Before you get started, set the butter, milk, and eggs out and allow them to come to room temperature. The butter should be soft but not melted. It should be soft enough to blend easily with sugar without having lumps. The milk and eggs should also be room temperature, so they mix better with the other ingredients.
Preheat, the oven to 350 degrees and use cupcake liners, to line a muffin pan. This recipe makes 18 to 20 yellow cupcakes, so you’ll need two pans or have to make two separate batches.
Beat the Egg Whites:
Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. I started the mixer on low and adjusted up to high speed in 30-second intervals. Carefully remove the egg whites from the bowl and set aside. Rinse and dry the bowl for later use.
Mix the Dry Ingredients:
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
Mix the Wet Ingredients:
Add the butter to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat until fluffy – about 3 minutes. Next, incorporate the sugar and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes until creamed together. Finally, add the eggs yolks and vanilla and mix just until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed.
Add the Dry Ingredients:
Turn the stand mixer on low and slowly add the dry ingredients and milk, alternating between each. Mix just until incorporated and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed. The batter should be smooth and free of lumps. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and carefully fold in the egg whites.
Make the Yellow Cupcakes:
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and scoop the cupcake batter into the cupcake liners. Take care not to overfill the liners or the batter will rise and overflow onto the top of the pan and stick. Trust me. I know first hand, and it is a mess to clean up.
Place in the center of a preheated oven and bake for 20-22 minutes then remove. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Cool cupcakes completely before adding the chocolate buttercream.
Make the Chocolate Buttercream:
Place the cocoa powder and espresso powder (if using) in the bowl of the stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to break up any lumps. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter. Cream together until well combined.
In intervals, add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla mixing between each interval. Scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle if needed.
Continue to add the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until all are combined. Set the buttercream aside until you are ready to use.
*John and Kale like more of a whipped buttercream, so I turned the mixer on high speed for the last 30 seconds to add more air to the frosting. The longer you mix the buttercream and the higher the speed you use, the more of a whipped consistency you’ll get.
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks, softened)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup milk plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
Use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat the 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Remove from the bowl and set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Use the stand mixer again but this time with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy - about 3 minutes.
Add the sugar and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes until the sugar is well incorporated and fluffy.
Next, add the two egg yolks and vanilla and mix until just combined.
Turn the mixer to low speed and alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk until all are used, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and carefully fold in the egg whites.
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and scoop the cupcake batter into the lined muffin pan. Do not overfill.
Place pan in the center of the preheated oven and cook for 20-22 minutes then remove from the oven.
Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Place cocoa powder and espresso (if using) in the bowl of the stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to break up any lumps.
Change to the paddle attachment and add the butter and beat until well combined.
Next, alternate adding the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until all is incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Make sure to cool the cupcakes completely before decorating. Use your favorite decorating tools to make fun designs and add sprinkles, candles, or other colorful additions.
*Butter, milk and eggs should be room temperature before making the batter.
*Whole milk or buttermilk works best with the recipe.
*The espresso powder will enhance the flavor of the chocolate but it can leave a slight hint of coffee flavor. If 1/2 teaspoon is too much, reduce it to 1/4 teaspoon or leave it out altogether.