Classic Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


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Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

Classic Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

At the beginning of the year, I made it a goal to post some classic recipes on my site. Goal fulfilled.

In this very Pinteresty world, there’s always another Nutella-swirledbrown buttered, bacon crumbled, bourbon-infused recipe for everything from cookies to cakes. But sometimes you don’t want potato chips in your cookies or pretzels in your salted caramel.

Sometimes you just want a classic yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting like you remember eating at birthday parties as a kid. These are those cupcakes.

Sure, you could use cake mix. Duncan Hines makes an almost unbeatable yellow (I ate plenty when I toured their test kitchen last month), but I just had to make these from scratch. And they really don’t take any more time to make than using a mix.

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

I used melted butter and so there’s nothing to cream, making it a fast, whisk-together cake batter, just like making muffins or quick bread.  A bowl of wet ingredients, fold in the dry, pour into liners, and bake. I used melted butter not only for ease, but for color, and most importantly for flavor.

Often I prefer oil in cakes, muffins, and quick breads because it keeps them so soft, but only in recipes where there are other dominating flavors, like chocolate or pumpkin, which will mask the butter flavor anyway. But with yellow cupcakes, that buttery flavor is instrumental.

In addition to the butter, the other ‘fat source’ is 6-ounces of nonfat honey Greek yogurt. If you can’t find honey flavor, use vanilla.

I tinkered around with various combinations of 1 egg, 2 eggs, 1 egg plus 1 yolk, and a popular Cook’s Illustrated The New Best Recipe (a cooking Bible, best $22 bucks you’ll ever spend on a cookbook) calls for 1 egg plus 2 yolks.

Although I try hard not to use partial eggs in recipes because it’s just annoying, I found that 1 egg plus 1 yolk gives the right amount of  moisture and thickness to the batter. Yolks add moisture, whites dry things out, and having extra moisture insurance in cupcakes is nice since they’re prone to being dry. The extra yolk also helps add a more golden hue.

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

To top the yellow cupcakes, I made a simple chocolate buttercream frosting. One stick of butter, cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, dash of vanilla. That’s it. If you want to add a splash of cream or milk to thin it, feel free but I didn’t.

It’s dense, uber-thick and fudgy. It’s not too ‘dark’ of a chocolate flavor. We didn’t have 72% chocolate on birthday party cupcakes when I was growing up, and this frosting tastes like my childhood.

Piping bags and I don’t generally get along, but I tried my best with a Wilton 1M tip and disposable piping bag.

I garnished with Wilton Chocolate Jimmies. The sprinkles taste more like real chocolate, and not like corn syrup made to taste like chocolate, compared to any other brand of chocolate sprinkles I’ve tried.

These from-scratch yellow cupcakes are soft, moist, springy, light, and are what I’d want to see on a big spread at a birthday party, graduation party, or shower. Or on any old Wednesday afternoon.

The chocolate buttercream frosting for the cupcakes is rich, creamy, and has a perfect chocolate intensity. Not too bold and dark, or too light and wimpy, and not cloyingly sweet.

It’s piled on sky high. The only way to enjoy a cupcake.

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

What’s in Yellow Cupcakes & Chocolate Buttercream Frosting? 

To make the homemade yellow cupcakes, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Greek yogurt
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda 
  • Salt

And to make the chocolate frosting for the cupcakes, you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cream or milk
  • Chocolate sprinkles 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

How to Make Yellow Cupcakes

To make the classic yellow cupcakes, melt the butter then stir in the egg plus yolk, sugar, yogurt, and vanilla. Next, stir in the dry ingredients. 

Place about 2 tablespoons of batter per cupcake into your muffin cups so they’re solidly 3/4 full. Bake until the tops are golden, set, slightly domed, and springy to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.

You need to let the yellow cupcakes cool completely before frosting. 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

How to Make Chocolate Frosting for Cupcakes

This chocolate buttercream cupcake frosting recipe is so simple! To make the best cupcake frosting, add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy (it’ll take about 5 minutes). 

Add the cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla to the butter and beat for another 5 minutes. 

Once the yellow cupcakes have cooled, pipe the chocolate buttercream frosting on top and garnish with sprinkles, if desired. 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

Can I Freeze Yellow Cupcakes? 

Yes, the yellow cupcakes should be baked and then allowed to cool completely before being stored in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen cupcakes, place them on your counter to thaw. Note that you should freeze the cupcakes before they’re iced. 

Can I Freeze Frosting? 

Yes, the homemade chocolate buttercream frosting for the cupcakes can be prepared and frozen separately from the cupcakes. When you’re ready to eat the frozen cupcake frosting, place it in the fridge to thaw. 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

Can I Make This Recipe as a Regular Cake? 

Possibly, but I haven’t tried it before so I can’t say for sure. If you’re looking for a classic yellow cake recipe, I recommend making my Easy Yellow Cake and topping it with the chocolate buttercream icing I used for these yellow cupcakes. 

Can I Make This Recipe as Mini Cupcakes? 

I bet you could, although you’d need to drastically reduce the cook time. If you make mini yellow cupcakes with this recipe, please leave me a comment below letting me know how they turned out! 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

Tips for Making the Best Yellow Cupcakes

If you don’t have yogurt on hand, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream will work as well, but you’ll miss out on a bit of sweetness and sour cream adds tons more fat. I’m very pleased that I got the cupcakes to stay soft and moist without piling in mindless fat grams.

Also, be sure to sift the cocoa powder into the butter mixture when making the chocolate buttercream frosting. Sifting the cocoa powder will ensure that no lumps form while the frosting is being whipped up. 

Lastly, don’t overbake these yellow cupcakes. In my oven, just over 18 minutes is ideal, and by 20 minutes, while they don’t appear to be too dark, they taste dry. You’ll have to find your own oven’s sweet spot.

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

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Yield: 12

Classic Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Classic Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

These from-scratch yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting taste just like the kind you grew up eating at childhood birthday parties!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


Yellow Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces (about 1/2 cup) Greek yogurt (I used nonfat honey Greek yogurt; vanilla or plain Greek yogurt, or sour cream may be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softenend
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted is ideal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • splash cream or milk, only as needed for consistency
  • chocolate sprinkles, optional for garnishing


    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a Non-Stick 12-Cup Regular Muffin Pan with paper liners; set aside.

    For the Cucpakes:

    1. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
    2. Allow the butter to cool momentarily (so you don’t scramble the eggs), and add the egg plus yolk, sugar, yogurt, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
    3. Stir in the flour, baking powder, optional salt, and mix until just combined and free from large lumps; don’t overmix or cupcakes will be tough.
    4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, place about 2 tablespoons of batter per cupcake into each of the 12 cavities so they’re solidly 3/4 full. There will likely be enough batter for a 13th cupcake, and either lick the bowl or discard it; or I placed a large paper liner inside a mini loaf pan, and fit the mini pan on the rack next to the main muffin pan.
    5. Bake for 18 to 19 minutes, or until tops are golden, set, slightly domed, and springy to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
    6. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. While they cool, make the frosting.

    For the Frosting:

    1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on medium-high speed until pale, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes). Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
    2. Add the cocoa (sift it, or you will have a hard time getting the lumps out of the frosting), 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
    3. Based on texture and taste preferences, optionally add 1/2 cup additional sugar (for 3 cups total), which I find necessary to achieve a thick consistency with my ingredients. If your frosting seems thick enough, refrain from the additional sugar and/or add a splash of cream to thin it.
    4. Transfer frosting to a piping bag and frost the cooled cupcakes. I used a Wilton 1M tip . Or simply spread frosting on with a knife.
    5. Optionally, garnish each cupcake with a pinch of sprinkles (do it over the sink because they fly around when they hit the frosting).


  • Cupcakes will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days. I personally am comfortable storing buttercream-frosted items at room temp, but if you prefer to store in the fridge, that’s fine, but note the fridge will dry them out more quickly.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 622Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 107gFiber: 1gSugar: 90gProtein: 8g

More Classic Dessert Recipes:


Funfetti Cake with Funfetti Frosting — This Funfetti Cake recipe is as close to store-bought Funfetti Cake Mix that I’ve been able to replicate at home. I have no shame in admitting my love for that stuff, but it’s nice to be able to pronounce all the ingredients and make a scratch cake in literally 5 minutes!

Funfetti Cake with Funfetti Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache — Try this recipe if you need a from-scratch, easy, one bowl, no mixer chocolate cake (or cupcakes). Works perfectly every time and very popular with readers! 

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting — This is the easiest, from-scratch yellow cake and it tastes like a million bucks. This yellow cake recipe always turns out supremely moist, springy, soft and fluffy cake thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil.

Easy Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Easy Glazed Pound Cake – Finally a pound cake that isn’t dry!! This EASY, buttery, velvety pound cake will be the star of your next party or celebration!

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The BEST Triple Chocolate Cake — This is the chocolate layer cake to beat out all others. It’s rich, decadent, and everything you want in a triple chocolate cake! 

The BEST Triple Chocolate Cake

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake— This upside down cake is super moist thanks to the combination of sour cream, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. It’s so easy to make, and the caramelized banana flavor is impossible to resist! 

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting — If you’ve ever wanted to make red velvet cupcakes from scratch that are as good as those you’d find in a bakery, try this hassle-free recipe!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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  1. This was the easiest cupcake recipe I’ve ever made. Normally I make a huge mess, but this time I didn’t!!! It was amazing!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad these were the easiest cupcakes you’ve ever made!

  2. Hi, I want to make these cupcakes for my friends up coming birthday party. I was wondering if you have to use Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream as an ingredient. So excited to try this recipe!!.

  3. Made these for my daughter’s sleepover this weekend and they are amazing. We are lactose-free so I used pea protein-based “yogurt” in the cake and chocolate oatmilk in the frosting. The cakes rose like a dream despite only being stirred, not beaten. The chocolate frosting came out perfectly – could just eat that with a spoon!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that these turned out great even with the pea protein based yogurt! Glad they rose like a dream and yes I could eat this frosting with a spoon too :)

  4. I love your cake and cupcake recipes. Just a quick question though… Why not list the recipes with weights as well as measures? I switched over to using my kitchen scale and I will NEVER go back to measuring. Save people like me the time from doing the conversion ourselves. Thanks for sharing 😁

    Rating: 5
    1. I am glad you love my cake and cupcake recipes!

      The honest answer is that I cook with cups and teaspoons and don’t weigh things so I don’t know what the weight was if it was say 1 cup of light brown sugar. But my hat is off to people who write out both the cups/gram measurements but I am not that person….not yet anyway.

  5. Update: Cupcakes completed and omg they are the best I’ve ever had. Perfectly moist and yellowy. They actually taste amazing without even needing frosting (and I don’t say things like that…)

    1. So glad to hear they are the best you have ever had! That is a strong statement, love hearing the praise!

  6. Averie, how do you know whether to not overmix (resulting in toughness) like in this recipe or to mix for a long time (to make light and fluffy like other cake recipes)? Your knowledgeable answers are truly appreciated! 🙂

  7. These were very good. I liked using melted butter. I liked not having to use cake flour. I liked that this recipe uses less sugar in both the cake and the frosting than others I’ve seen. Also fewer eggs. You don’t even have to use your mixer, just stir cake batter by hand, who ever heard of that (thank you, Averie!). For the frosting I didn’t sift or beat as long as suggested (didn’t have time) and it was still super delicious. My Hamilton Beach hand mixer has silicone coated beaters, which is fantastic for not beating up my new mixing bowls. But beyond that, it’s super powerful and my frosting wound up lumpless (is that a word?) and fluffy in no time. Amazing, considering the organic powdered sugar I use is notoriously lumpy. YUM!

  8. I made these cupcakes with 1/2 cup oil and 6 oz coconut greek yogurt because my mom and nephew can’t have any dairy. They turned out *perfectly*. Best cupcakes I’ve ever made. Right up there with Cupcake Royal in Seattle and Pushkins in Sacramento, my fav cupcake makers.  Thank you Averie :)

    1. I don’t know either. I think it’s one of those recipes you really can’t halve or if you do, it’s tricky because of the egg situation. You could possibly halve and just use 1 egg total but that extra yolk provides nice color and adds to the texture….

    2. Thank you!! I will probably keep the extras to myself ?

      I really do appreciate how you reply so quickly! ?

  9. I made these and they taste AMAZING but my darn pregnancy brain put in 1/4 c of Greek yogurt instead of 1/2 so they were a little small and dense :'( oh well, can’t win them all.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad that the little preggo brain slip up wasn’t too major :)

      1. In case anyone else is wondering I got 4 dozen mini cupcakes from this recipe. I cooked them for 10 mins at 350 degrees. Also, I used whole wheat pastry flour and I used an extra t. of vanilla because I used plain greek yogurt. I made the chocolate frosting to go with these but I needed at least 1/4 C (if not more) heavy cream to get the frosting spreadable. Very yummy!

      2. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you as mini cupcakes and with w.w. pastry flour!

  10. I doubled the recipe and divided it between two 9 inch pans and the batter was really really thick like it needed more liquid. I used sour cream instead of yogurt. The taste was great though, I am just trying to figure out what I did wrong. Did the batter turn out that way because I doubled the recipe or was it because I used sour cream.

    1. Some recipes just don’t double well. I don’t know if that’s the case here b/c I haven’t tried doubling it. I sense not, though.

      I think given you said the batter was really thick and seemed like it needed more liquid that it was indeed the sour cream which can be thicker than Greek yogurt (depends on brand) but if you remake, I’d use a touch less sour cream just so that batter doesn’t get as thick and/or add a bit more buttermilk or oil. Just something to thin it out a hair. Or even less flour. Many ways to approach the problem but I haven’t tested any so can’t speak for sure but you can tinker. Have fun and happy cupcake eating :)

  11. These cupcakes look delicious. I plan on using this recipe for my birthday cake. I was wondering if I could double the layers and use two 9 inch pans?

  12. You said in the recipe that the cupcakes would dry out faster in the fridge – but if I were to frost the cupcakes the afternoon before, and then store it in the refrigerator, would it dry out? How could I prevent drying out from happening? Freezing isn’t an option, no space. Thanks, and love your blog!

    1. I personally would keep the unfrosted cupcakes at room temp in a covered container and then just adjust my schedule to frost them the day-of, doing whatever I needed to do to make that happen.

      I just really advise against refrigerating these…the frosting will dry out, the cupcakes will dry out, not good. Cupcakes aren’t the easiest make-ahead recipe, I won’t lie! I have tons and tons of recipes where refrigerating for a day or a week won’t matter but with these it will. Just being honest.

  13. This was a hit! I made it as an 8×8 cake and baked about 22-23 minutes. It was perfect, but I did have “too much” icing. That’s not a REAL problem, is it? :-) And I put some sprinkles on (chocolate ones) and was like “those aren’t fun enough” so then I put rainbow ones on. They made me smile.

    1. Thanks for trying it, glad it was a hit, and you’re right, one can never have too much icing :) Probably though because with cupcakes, you generally pile it on thicker/taller/higher and also so much is lost to a pastry bag when decorating cupcakes vs. just spreading it on pan-style.

    1. I haven’t ever tried this with cake flour. It’s a different type so the measurement may be different; not sure because I haven’t tried. I don’t sift the AP flour, never found a need to. Try the recipe as written – we love it!

  14. These cupcakes look to die for! I am planning to make these for my cousin for her birthday, but her birthday in the middle of the week and I don’t have time to make cupcakes then. Will the cupcakes be good 4 days later or can I just make the batter and refrigerate it to make them later? Thanks so much for the recipe Averie!

    1. You cannot refrigerate cake/cupcake batter and in fact, the minute you mix it up, you need to get it into the oven to get the most of the chemical reaction with the ingredients, baking powder, etc. so they rise properly. I also wouldnt really want special bday cupcakes to be 4 days old. Two days would be my other limit. If you want to make something for her, either you pretty much have to adjust your schedule OR pick another dessert but neither 4-day old cupcakes or refrigerating batter will work. Sorry!

  15. These are the best cupcakes! Thank you for sharing! A big hit for my family! Perfect combination with chocolate buttercream!

  16. I made these yesterday and I just have to say they are wonderful. I will definitely keep this one, my kids were really impressed. I am making more today for a school fundraiser tonight. Thank you a bunch, I did not want to use a mix…

    1. So glad that you love these enough to make a batch yesterday and another one today! And yes to the whole mix thing, I understand :)

  17. I made these yesterday and they are very dense, more like a muffin. Wondering if I overcooked them or overmixed? My 2-year-old “helped” to mix, so i wonder if we overdid it. The flavor is delicious and we will definitely try again! I love it when you share “basic” recipes like this.

    1. I’ve never had them come out dense or like a muffin. They’re not ‘dry and airy’ but I wouldn’t call them dense like a muffin. I suspect your 2 year old probably was helping stir a little too much and they got overmixed. I don’t think their density is a result of baking time (if anything, that could mean they’re on the raw/heavy side and maybe you underbaked?) but I actually think it’s overmixing as the culprit here.

  18. How could I turn this into a 9×13? My husband is against all things cupcake .. hes a MAN AND MAN NEED CAKE PAN .. or so he says, thank you! Ive been looking for a good easy cake to make, and honestly if something makes me whip egg whites and use 14 bowls im not gonna make it Id stick with box since its easier and everything in my kitchen doesnt get dirty .. Im excited to try this out and hopefully this is THE ONE for me and my family!! Thank you again!

    1. I would just make the batter, eyeball it, and if you think it will fit properly in a 9×13, than bake it that way. Otherwise maybe use 2 8-inch rounds? You have nothing to lose by trying & experimenting.

  19. Hey!
    These look good, but would it be fine if I make it into a layer cake? What changes would I need?

  20. It’s so refreshing to find good, old cupcake recipe among many cupcake flavor combination which overflow the internet these days.I’ve featured this recipe on my blog, hoping that you don’t mind, but if you do, please contact me and I’ll remove it. All the best.

    1. Isn’t that the truth! Which is why I made a classic – not something that no one makes or makes once. Back to basics is sometimes a good thing! Thanks for the feature!

  21. Hey, is it fine if I use a pic of your cupcake for my pic on Bloglovin’?
    If you don’t want to, I understand. I just want to ask you first. I’m not selling it or anything, duh. I just want to represent my name as “LoverOfAnythingChocolate”

    1. Thank you for asking, but no, I don’t want you to use my images as your profile pic or for any other pictures/images you want to post. They are mine, I worked very hard on them, and I don’t want you to use them for your personal use. Thanks for understanding.

  22. This is a lovely post, Averie, because you are absolutely right. We don’t always want insane, balls to the walls recipes. Sometimes what we crave are the old standards, like your beautiful yellow cupcakes. Heck, making something this classic is usually harder than the over the top recipes because here, so much can go wrong. That’s why I rarely make white or yellow cupcakes – they’re either too dry, not enough flavour, etc. These looks beautifully moist and fluffy and they’re gorgeously golden. I can’t wait to try this.

    1. “making something this classic is usually harder than the over the top recipes because here, so much can go wrong” — AMEN! Yes it is! It’s easy to make some brownies or cookies and dump in half the kitchen sink with add ins and candy, etc. and people ooh and ahh because it’s over the top, but do they get made in others’ homes? Hard to say. But with a classic like this, they will always get made. But…yes…cupcakes are tricky. So much can go wrong, mostly dryness and not golden enough!

  23. These look so good and as your recipe differs from my normal vanilla cupcake I am going to try these this weekend. You are so right, sometimes you want a straightforward vanilla cake with chocolate on top – there is a reason why the classics become classics! Or shall I just make your chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, after all I have only made that once so far this week (but 6 times in the last month….)!

    1. Thrilled that you’ve made the choc cake 6-7 times in a month! That’s incredible. Love stories like this! So glad you really love that cake.

      And if you try these cupcakes, LMK what you think. Thanks Anna!

    1. Your vanilla cupcakes got me off the dime. I had been wanting to do these for like…oh, 2 years? and seeing yours was enough to give me the nudge :) And thanks for the pin!

  24. Yup, my hubby likes the classics…Nestles Tollhouse cookies, plain brownies AND yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I’m going to make these for him soon :)

  25. These look fantastic. What I love most is how moist these cupcakes look. A lot of yellow cupcakes are dry. Nice use of the sour cream.

  26. Gorgeous! You should make cupcakes more often. :D I love a good yellow cake – I have yet to find one that measures up to the luscious box version. *shhh* Please don’t tell anyone how much I love that beloved box cake from childhood. ;)

    1. I should, but they’re a pain. If it was just for us, not a biggie, but when you’re making something to take pics of it, you know it’s a way different situation :)

      And nothing can ever replaced boxed yellow mix. It’s the best, I love it, and always will. But these come close!

  27. Sometimes simple and classic cupcakes are the best! I worked at a bakery earlier this year, and when we would have yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting, they were ALWAYS the first cupcakes we ran out of. These cupcakes look absolutely perfect! I also love that you get into the science of it all. Love this post!

    1. I love the details and story that the yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting were the first to sell out at the bakery. That was my whole rational for making these – that I KNEW people want classics. When googling for a recipe, the avg person does not type in something exotic or fancy; they type in white cupcakes, or yellow cupcakes, and go from there. Glad you like the science, too!

  28. Please continue to post classic recipes. I guess I am just an old-fashioned girl-
    simple, comfort foods are the best! Can’t wait to try the cupcakes, they look delicious!

    1. I am glad you like the classics. It’s very hard b/c people want ‘new and fresh’ and there’s nothing new and fresh about yellow cupcakes but it’s a staple and I think everyone should be able to make them, from scratch, at least once. So now I have a recipe for that! :)

  29. Averie – these cupcakes are GORGEOUS! And that frosting – such a perfect piping job! My hands shake too much to do what you do. PINNED of course :)

    1. I tried to make them as pretty as I could but I really don’t consider myself an expert at all and it’s sort of random how I add the frosting. Sometimes they’re uniform and looking good, and otherwise it’s just random splooges with no design strategy. lol

      Thanks for pinning!

  30. Wowwww they look so….fluffy and grrr bite-worthy, lol. That’s exactly how I feel! :D I think these sound much much better than boxed cake mix as I’ve never actually liked those–they taste way too sweet and not homemade at all. Great job with the frosting, too!

  31. Thank you for another recipe to try on my quest to replicate the boxed variety. These look like a great contender!

    1. There’s something about mixes that no matter what, they are not duplicate-able, but these are very, very good!

  32. I would absolutely rather go to the trouble of making these in my own kitchen as opposed to buying a boxed mix. I know what you are saying about not wanting to divide eggs up, but in this case, it would be worth it. I love how your bare cupcakes almost look like cornbread muffins. They look so delicious and my husband absolutely loves yellow cake/muffins. I will have to make these for him!

    1. Cornbread muffins – you’re right! And yes dividing eggs is the pits but had to for these and if your hubs loves yellow cake and you try these, LMK what he says!

  33. We call this combination bronco cake at our house. My sister went to WMU where the mascot is the bronco.. and the colors are brown and gold. So my sister always needs this combination for her birthday :)

      1. Oh no I know! I should have wrote that better, sorry.
        I was referring to the mention of Duncan Hines in your post.
        Yes, I love that these are from scratch.
        Mybad, written at night while tired!

      2. No worries girl. I type comments and then go back and re-read them AFTER I hit enter that I wish I could re-write them b/c what I said isn’t conveying and/or I was half asleep :)

  34. These look so good! I love basic, simple recipes. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from complicated and/or nonbasic/out of the ordinary recipes.

    1. When people google for cupcakes, they generally want some basic staples..not something with potato chips and pistachio pastry cream in it :)

      1. Yup, I know!! Sometimes, I just want a plain old cupcake, with no add-ins, with chocolate frosting on top, and just enjoy the basicness of it!

  35. These look so fantastic. It’s so true that sometimes you just need to go back to basics — especially when your basics look so fabulous :) Loved your comments on which fats to use and how many eggs (I can’t help but use partial eggs sometimes too!) And you can’t beat that chocolate buttercream. Thanks so much for posting! I’ll have to make these sometime.

    1. Thanks Laura and I know you make all yours from scratch AND I know your icing work is always perfect!

  36. Fantastic! I’m very excited to see this recipe as it reminds me to much of when I was little and I would eat these at every single birthday party! Great classic recipe!

    1. Greg you are so kind! After I got done reading your interview on Sylive’s site (excellent btw and I learned so much about you!) but I didn’t know you were a professional commercial photographer before you were a blogger – so any photography compliments coming from you are super nice. And I would love a savory (any!) cocktail right about now :) Congrats on your book!

  37. Every year yellow cake with chocolate buttercream is my birthday cake of choice. :) Love these classic flavors in your cupcakes!

  38. Back to the basics is the best way to go. These cupcakes look divine. I love the combo of yellow cake and chocolate frosting and yours look perfect. I too can never get frosting to go right on cupcakes, its never thick enough and always seems to “melt” right off. But yours looks thick and perfect and I can’t wait to try it!

    1. That’s why I didn’t add any cream/milk to the frosting. Butter, sugar, chocolate. That’s it. So it’s super thick and very little chance to slip off, melt, or turn soft. It’s nice and thick and I think most frosting is just too soft to begin with and then after working it and putting it thru the piping bag, with the heat of your hands and really smooshing it thru the tip, it just is so soft it ends up melting off. I know what you mean – this is not like that at all!

  39. Classic!! I cannot frost cupcakes to save my life, I mean really , if my life depended on it I would die. Maybe I should get a tutorial from you, yours look awesome

  40. This is my favorite cupcake flavor! I agree that are many over-the-top recipes, but sometimes we all just want a classic :)

  41. Tooooooootally classic! Your yellow cake looks so squishy soft! I actually never make yellow cake with chocolate frosting but I kind of love it so…. I guess I’m adding this to my ever-growing Averie cooks list.

  42. These look beyond fantastic, Averie! Yellow cake > white by a mile. :)

    Sorry for the substitution question, but if I were to use plain/unsweetened Greek yogurt, do you think I should add a couple more Tbsp of sugar, or perhaps a few drops of stevia?

    1. Stevia in baking, meh, not a fan so much but do as you wish on that :) I would probably just add another 2 tbsp sugar, give or take. I mean, they’re cupcakes so they’re supposed to be sweet so no harm in adding a lil extra sugar is my thought :)

      And thanks for the pin!

  43. You made cupcakes! Yay! And you say you don’t do piping the frosting. Look how gorgeous these turned out! Pinned!

    1. Thanks for pinning and what can I say, beginner’s luck :) No really though, it’s not my strong suit just b/c I don’t practice. I probably should!

  44. I agree wholeheartedly—Sometimes you just want to back to the simple classics. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is one of my favorite classic treats—I love how moist these cupcakes look, so I will definitely have to try these!

  45. While I am really not a cake fan, I can truly appreciate the simplicity of a recipe like this. Finding the perfect balance of crumb to tender to moist isn’t easy and cakes are fickle! But if you screw it up, just add more frosting. That’s my favorite part anyway!

    1. But if you screw it up, just add more frosting. That’s my favorite part anyway! <---- AMEN! I know you don't really love cake and cupcakes are almost as fussy of a baking project to blog about as is yeast bread :) so I don't do many b/c it takes time - but as the year is winding down, I have been revisiting my mental checklist of baking goals and CLASSIC recipes need to be made, more. Period.

  46. These are a classic for a reason, and one of my favorites. I love that you used greek yogurt, and that frosting looks to die for!

    1. Thanks Natasha. I tried to keep the cake a little lighter to make up for the copious amt of frosting :)

  47. you’re so right – sometimes, something classic & timeless like this is all you need :) and i think your piping looks fantastic – far better than anything i could do, i assure you!

    1. Thanks, Holly! It’s just that I don’t practice piping things very much, but I want to – and should!

  48. Uh huh. This is my love language right here. Classic yellow cupcakes with chocolate buttercream. Mmmmmm…..

  49. You can NEVER go wrong with the classics….especially something as wonderful and timeless as yellow cake and chocolate buttercream!!

  50. Beautiful cupcakes, Averie! The 1M is my favorite tip to use. The frosting looks like soft serve. :) You can’t beat a classic yellow cupcake. You just can’t! I have no doubt in my mind that the extra egg yolk is totally worth the tossed egg white. Just that little extra brings so much tenderness to baked goods. I love using Greek yogurt in cakes and cupcakes. Its moist and light tasting – simply unbeatable.

    1. Thanks, Sally. I know you do a ton of cupcakes and I know you use your 1M lots, too. You have a fudgy frosting that you piped with a rounded tip that looks so good. Can’t remember the details, but in my mind I can see the images still!

      And yes, the extra yolk is key. Color, flavor, moisture – a must. And I nuked the egg white and made the smallest egg white ‘pancake’ in 32 seconds flat. Skylar loves them and I do that whenever I have an oddball egg situation.

      Your profile/icon picture changed!!! I need to go to your site and see you, bigger. Right now you’re 1/2-inch :)

  51. When I was little the yellow box mix was my favorite AND it had chocolate icing!! 8 year old Katrina is jumping up and down for this flavour and 25 year old Katrina LOVES that the cake is homemade…totally trying this!

    1. When I was 8, I felt the SAME way! Loved yellow cake mix cakes w/ choc frosting! If you try these, lmk!

  52. Sometimes simple really is best! But you know, I do not think I have actually ever made a vanilla cake or cupcake. Always straight chocolate cake + chocolate frosting! I think it is time I change change that ASAP! These are gorgeous and I love using oil in my cake recipes too, but i do miss the flavor of butter! I love that you used melted butter. These really do sound perfect!

    1. I do not think I have actually ever made a vanilla cake or cupcake. <-- I haven't either. Just plain white cake or cupcakes, no, I haven't. I know Sally has a great looking very vanilla recipe. And there are tons of nice white cake recipes I see but let's be honest, they get trumped and passed over for choc, nutella, pb, etc. And as bloggers, we tend to give our readers what we think they want and you KNOW something chocolaty, gooey, etc will trump the stats of plain white.

  53. YUM! These do bring it back old school and that makes me happy. :) Classic recipes are the best!!! My favorite cake and frosting combo is peanut butter cake with chocolate/peanut butter frosting. YUMMMM!

  54. This is my hubby’s FAVORITE for his birthday and I’ve always wanted to make yellow cake from scratch but didn’t know where to start.

    Thank you for posting something classic…I miss recipes like this.

    1. I’m really glad you and like the recipe and post. It’s always a gamble b/c I want my site to be fresh, modern, creative and there is nothing ‘new’ about yellow cupcakes (although I did lighten them up with Greek yog) but sometimes the classics really are the best! If you make these, LMK!

  55. My favorite pic in this post is the one of the “naked” cupcakes, before they’re frosted. There is something so classic and comforting about a simple yellow cake! I bet the flavor of these cupcakes on their own is incredible…and then you go and add chocolate buttercream frosting. Heaven :)

    1. I almost didn’t put that pic in but thought, well, you know, naked is good :) Glad you like the classic flavor of yellow cake – me too!

  56. I actually only made a yellow cake recently for my bother’s in laws birthday cake. I fell in love with the yellowness and tenderness of the crumb, So addicted right now.
    I agree while in a world of crazy, wild desserts the classic never lose their charm. While I do not always make frosting for cupcakes (unless it is special occasion ), I can not go past the fluffy royal icing frosting. Makes everything look so prefect and pretty.

    1. That’s great you made a yellow cake recently. I honestly don’t think I ever have or just a plain white cake. They get trumped for Nutella, Pb, choc, etc. The classics are nice to come back to!

  57. Classics never go out of style and this looks like a great “go to” cupcake! I haven’t used a boxed mix for anything in a very, very long time (and with your blog and recipes at my fingertips, I don’t even need to consider it), but anyway, I would much rather get extra fat and moisture from yogurt and an extra egg yolk instead of from shelf stable stuff in a mix. Yummy looking buttercream too–I think you did just fine with the piping bag. I’m wishing I could swipe a big index finger full of it from my screen!

    1. I would much rather get extra fat and moisture from yogurt and an extra egg yolk instead of from shelf stable stuff in a mix. <-- Amen. And so glad you view my site as a resource and wouldn't even need to consider looking at the other options, or that they're even options anymore. What a compliment, thank you, Paula! And yes swiping that buttercream was the best part of making these...that bowl was swiped clean :)

  58. Classics build the foundation for all the crazy stuff. It’s good to see back to basic recipes

  59. I often miss classic or traditional baking. These days cupcakes and cakes are filled, piled high with frosting and then decorated with all sorts of things, which isn’t always necessary. Having said that, your “Marshmallow Candy-Stuffed White Chocolate Cupcakes” look divine ;)

    1. Those were fun cupcakes but like you said, I miss traditional baking, too. Feel the need to always one-up the last recipe to ‘compete’ with what’s out there. Gah!