Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

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These soft Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting are a classic feel-good dessert made easy! The cupcakes are moist and tender and the chocolate frosting is rich and creamy! The perfect birthday cupcake!

Looking for more easy cupcake recipes? Try my Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes!

Chocolate Frosted Yellow Cupcakes with Colorful Candles On Them on a white tray

Moist and Fluffy Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a white and yellow cake? Well, there’s a little variation in the color of the cake, which is a result of a difference in the eggs. In a white cake, only egg whites are used. In a yellow cake, you’ll actually have more egg yolks than whites.

The yolks make the cake a little denser, but it can also be more moist and tender, which is exactly the case for these cupcakes! And they still have that irresistibly soft cupcake texture. Pair that with the creamy 6-ingredient chocolate buttercream frosting, and they really are the perfect celebration treat.

An Unwrapped Yellow Cupcake with a Bite Taken Out

Recipe Ingredients

There’s nothing too out of the ordinary when it comes to the cupcake and frosting ingredients.

For the Yellow Cupcakes

  • Buttermilk: The buttermilk helps gives a more tender cake.
  • Eggs: Use one large egg and two additional yolks. The extra yolks contribute to the texture and color of the yellow cake.
  • Vanilla Extract: For flavor.
  • All-Purpose Flour: For the structure of the cake.
  • Sugar: To give you sweet and tender cupcakes.
  • Baking Powder: This will help your cupcakes rise and set up properly.
  • Baking Soda: Using both baking powder and baking soda helps with a lovely texture.
  • Salt: Just a pinch!
  • Unsalted Butter: Bring to room temperature.

For the Chocolate Frosting

  • Unsalted Butter: Room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar: For volume and consistency.
  • Cocoa Powder: Natural, unsweetened cocoa powder will give you great chocolate flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Water: Or cream.
  • Salt

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting on a Cake Stand Next to a Bowl of Sprinkles

How to Make the Yellow Cupcakes

This recipe uses the reverse creaming method. It’s different than a lot of recipes, but so well worth it!

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine Wet Ingredients: Combine the buttermilk, egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract in a large bowl, then separate about 1/4 cup of the mixture into another bowl or measuring cup. About 3/4 cup should remain in the other bowl. Set both aside.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Slowly Add Butter: With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the butter about a tablespoon at a time, allowing it to incorporate before adding the next tablespoon. As you add more butter, the mixture will start to clump together a bit and should end up resembling wet sand.
  5. Add Wet Ingredients: Add the larger of the reserved egg mixture (about 3/4 cup) to the dry ingredients/butter mixture. Stir on the lowest speed until it’s incorporated, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds to a minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the remaining egg mixture in a slow stream until incorporated.
  6. Turn up Speed & Mix: Scrape the sides of the bowl, then turn the speed back up and mix until well combined, about 10-15 seconds.
  7. Bake: Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Let Cool: Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 2-3 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

How to Make the Chocolate Frosting

You can throw together this frosting in fewer than 5 minutes once your cupcakes have cooled completely. It’s so simple yet so rich, thanks to your trusty cocoa powder.

  1. Beat Butter: Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Add Half of Powdered Sugar: Carefully pour in about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add Cocoa, Vanilla, Salt & Water: Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and 2-3 tablespoons of water/milk to the frosting. Mix until well combined
  4. Add Remaining Powdered Sugar: Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional milk or water as needed to get the right consistency.
  5. Pipe Onto Cupcakes: Pipe the frosting onto your cooled cupcakes and serve!

A Platter Full of Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Frosting the Cupcakes

Need help creating a beautiful frosting swirl on top of your cupcakes? This quick and easy tutorial for Frosting Cupcakes will change your decorating game! Learn how to make all sorts of cute frosting designs using different techniques and piping tips. You’ll pass as a professional baker in no time!

Tips for Success

This recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips to keep in mind when making these cupcakes.

  • Use cream for Frosting: If you want the creamiest possible frosting, use cream instead of water.
  • Bring Ingredients to Room Temperature: Room temperature ingredients are so much easier to combine, which ensures success at every stage of cupcake making.
  • Wait for Cupcakes to Cool: Before you pipe on your frosting, make sure the cupcakes have finished cooling. This will prevent the frosting from melting on the cupcakes.
  • Avoid Overfilling Liners: Your cupcake liners should be about 3/4 of the way full. If you pour in too much batter, you’ll end up with cupcakes that look more like muffins. Still delicious, just not what we’re going for.

Yellow Cupcakes Topped with Chocolate Frosting and Rainbow Non-Pareils

How to Store Homemade Cupcakes

Leftover cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container. You can keep them in the fridge or on the counter, but do serve them at room temperature. Enjoy leftover cupcakes within 3 days.

Can I Freeze These?

If you want to store your cupcakes in the freezer, hold off on making the frosting. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 3 months, if stored properly. Wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap, then place them all in a freezer-safe container. Thaw your cupcakes out in the fridge and bring them to room temperature before frosting and eating.

Print
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An Unwrapped Yellow Cupcake with a Bite Taken Out
Recipe

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 14 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These soft Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting are a classic feel-good dessert made easy! The cupcakes are moist and fluffy and the chocolate frosting is rich and creamy.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Yellow Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups (155g) sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup(112g) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp (445g) powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp (44g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 45 tbsp water or milk
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the buttermilk, egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract in a large bowl, then separate about 1/4 cup of the mixture into another bowl or measuring cup. About 3/4 cup should remain in the other bowl. Set both aside.
  3. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the butter about a tablespoon at a time, allowing it to incorporate before adding the next tablespoon. As you add more butter, the mixture will start to clump together a bit and should end up resembling wet sand.
  5. Add the larger of the reserved egg mixture (about 3/4 cup) to the dry ingredients/butter mixture. Stir on the lowest speed until it’s incorporated, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds to a minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the remaining egg mixture in a slow stream until incorporated.
  8. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then turn the speed back up and mix until well combined, about 10-15 seconds.
  9. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Remove cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. When cupcakes are cool, make the frosting. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  12. Carefully pour in about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  13. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and 2-3 tablespoons of water or milk and the salt to the frosting and mix until well combined.
  14. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional milk or water as needed to get the right consistency.
  15. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Notes

Makes 12-14 cupcakes.

Keywords: yellow cupcake recipe, homemade cupcakes, chocolate frosting recipe, how to make chocolate frosting, best cupcake recipes, best vanilla cupcake recipe, easy cupcake recipe

Enjoy!

A Collage of Two Different views of Yellow Cupcakes

Other Classic Dessert Recipes

Moist Vanilla Layer Cake
Best Chocolate Cake
Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes
Best Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
Homemade Strawberry Cake

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Recipe rating

49 Comments
  1. Heather @ Shards of Lavender

    Your upcoming trip to South Africa sounds like the trip of a lifetime! I’m sure your husband and you will have so many great memories:) Wishing my mom lived closer because she’s great at cleaning up my messes like yours is…

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Thanks Heather! I can’t wait for the trip! I was joking with my mom that I need to pay her to do it regularly, haha.

  2. Tina Vlerebome

    I will clean for cupcakes… Your mom and I are so much alike it’s scary!!! This combination is Pete’s favorite – guess I will be baking these soon!!

  3. Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    I think I’ll celebrate….I have no idea what. But I just need these cupcakes in my life this weekend. Mmm….
    Pinned.
    Happy Friday Lindsay!

  4. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    These look so Yummmy and fun! 😉 I love the classic yellow cake and with chocolate frosting = perfection! Beautiful!

  5. Mir

    Is there any way I can borrow your mom? Seriously. I need to. My mom is cool, but she has never cleaned my kitchen.
    South Africa? WOW. So jealous!
    These cupcakes look amazing! And that frosting looks dark and delicious. Double wow!

  6. Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector)

    I love yellow cake with chocolate frosting. This was one of the first cake combos I remember baking as a child. How exciting that your mom did all that stuff for you!

  7. Sharon @ What The Fork Food Blog

    PLEASE send your parents to my house next! I’m terrible at cleaning and organizing… it’s SO not my my thing. Especially the organizing, ugh. These cupcakes look fab though 🙂

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12