Moist Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting.

These super moist yellow cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting reign supreme in the dessert world. Soft, fluffy, and bursting with buttery flavor. Homemade tastes 1,000x better than a box!

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes

It’s been a few years since I made classic yellow cupcakes. If you click over, you will see that I clearly used an iPhone in the first few months of my blog’s life. My eyes hurt.

Nothing, and I mean nothing beats a classic yellow cupcake topped with milk chocolate frosting. And I know I’m pretty biased because sprinkles is my middle name (not really but it should be), but yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting taste 1,000x better when there are rainbow sprinkles on top. Am I right or amIright?

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes Recipe on

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes Recipe on

To celebrate the wedding getting sooo close, I set out to make a brand new recipe for yellow cupcakes. Though my original recipe is quite impressive, sometimes change is a good thing. And I clearly need some updated photos.

Yellow cupcakes are about as classic as apple pie. As iconic as chocolate chip cookies and as supreme as chocolate cake. I can’t remember a single birthday without a yellow cupcake covered in creamy chocolate frosting.

The homemade yellow cupcakes I remember from growing up are rich, tender, moist little versions of yellow sheet cake. Covered with mounds of whipped, luscious chocolate frosting. Each bite seemed to completely melt in my mouth – though most of it ended up on my face and fingers. All good desserts are messy.

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes Recipe on

Before you go reaching for boxed mixes and canned frosting, take 2 seconds to read this sentence: NOTHING beats the flavor of a homemade yellow cupcake. If you’re shaking your head doubting your cupcake baking skills, let me tell you that it is not impossible to make a buttery, rich, moist yellow cake from scratch! And you can do it with everyday ingredients like milk, flour, sugar, and eggs. You can! You can.

These yellow cupcakes taste quite similar to my very vanilla cupcakes, but have a fluffier texture. Less vanilla flavor, more buttery flavor. They’re darker in color and richer in taste (thanks to the egg yolks). My yellow cupcakes require a little more patience and a few more steps, but once you take that first bite – it is soooo worth it.

Let’s dive in. ↓

Homemade Milk Chocolate Frosting - smooth, velvety, and rich! Recipe by

A few things:

(1) The butter and sugar are creamed together. I find this creates a cakier tasting cupcake with a lighter crumb. Make sure you beat the butter and sugar together until they are nice and fluffy. At least 3 minutes. It seems like a long time, but trust me. You are beating air into the mixture which produces a lighter textured cake.

(2) Separate the eggs. I tested a few methods these past few weeks and went through nearly 1 dozen eggs in my yellow cupcake mission. I found the fluffiest texture is produced when the egg yolks are mixed with the creamed butter/sugar. And the egg whites are whipped to a foamy, thick texture and then folded into the batter right before baking.

See photo of whipped egg whites below the recipe for a visual.

(3) Use whole milk. Not skim, almond, coconut, 1%, 2%, etc. If you want a rich taste and a moist texture, whole milk will get you there. I rarely have whole milk, so I know it’s annoying to go out and buy it for one recipe. But luckily you can use extras to make these pancakes, this quiche, this cake, and this french toast. If you want your cupcakes to taste like mine, use whole milk. **Buttermilk would be the only other acceptable liquid.

(4) This milk chocolate frosting is a reader favorite. It makes several appearances in my cookbook and is one of my personal favorites. Plus, it’s so easy to make. I give some suggestions for other frostings you may use in the recipe notes, so take a peek.

No piping tip for these cupcakes, just a simple swirl of milk chocolate frosting using a knife. I suggest this cupcake icing knife. Inexpensive and easy to use.

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes Recipe on

In addition to the 4 notes above, I wrote lots of helpful notes for you at the bottom of the recipe. Be sure to read them before beginning. I want your cupcakes to be a huge success! I also took a few step-by-step photos for you as a guide. See them below the recipe.

Enjoy, cupcake lovers.


Moist Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting

Yield: 16-18 cupcakes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Print Recipe

These super moist yellow cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting reign supreme in the dessert world. Soft, fluffy, and bursting with buttery flavor. Homemade tastes 1,000x better than a box!


  • 2 large eggs, room temperature and separated
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) sifted all-purpose flour1
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (180g) unsalted butter, softened too room temperature2
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, room temperature3

 Milk Chocolate Frosting4

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature2
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk
  • rainbow sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. This recipe only makes 16-18 cupcakes, so you will have 4-6 cupcakes to bake in a 2nd batch. Please read notes about mini cupcakes.
  2. Make the cupcakes: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat 2 egg whites on high speed in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. See photo at the bottom of this post for a visual. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes until creamed together fairly well. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add two egg yolks and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the whole milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. Fold whipped egg whites into cupcake batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling halfway full. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't overbake; your cupcakes will dry out. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  6. Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 2 full minutes. This creates a creamy base for the frosting. Turn speed to low and slowly add 3 cups of confectioners' sugar, the cocoa powder, and salt. Beat until sugar/cocoa are absorbed into the butter, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla and cream. Once added, turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add the last 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar if you'd like to increase the frosting's thickness. Pipe or spread the frosting onto cooled cupcakes. I used this cupcake icing knife. Decorate with sprinkles.
  7. Make ahead tip: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Decorate/assemble cupcakes immediately before serving. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Additional Notes:

  1. Readers have asked if cake flour can be used instead of all-purpose flour. Yes, absolutely! I recommend 2 and 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (you'll need a little more than if you were using all-purpose).
  2. Do not try speeding up the process of allowing your butter to come to room temperature by microwaving. I never suggest doing this! Butter must be softened, but not melty in the slightest. You should be able to press your finger into the stick of butter and make an indent easily, without your finger sliding anywhere. Firm, but not cold. Like this. Simply set out 1 hour before beginning.
  3. If you want your cupcakes to taste like mine, use whole milk. Not skim, 1%, 2%, almond, soy, etc. Buttermilk would be the only other acceptable liquid.
  4. Instead of milk chocolate frosting, try my dark chocolate frosting, coconut frosting, vanilla frosting, Nutella frosting, peanut butter frosting, or chocolate peanut butter swirl frosting.

Layer cake: You can easily turn this into a yellow layer cake. Simply pour batter into two greased and (lightly) floured 9-inch cake pans and bake for 27-35 minutes. Cakes are done when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Frost as desired.

Mini cupcakes: For around 40 mini cupcakes, line mini cupcake pans with liners or spray with nonstick spray. Prepare cupcakes and frosting as directed. Bake mini cupcakes for 12-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


Make sure your egg whites are thick and foamy after beating and before folding into the cupcake batter. Like this:

How to make Homemade Yellow Cupcakes


The cupcake batter is smooth, velvety, and slightly thick. It is very easy to spoon into the cupcake liners.

How to make Homemade Yellow Cupcakes


The yellow cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and when the tops of the cupcakes spring back when gently touched.

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes Recipe on




283 Responses to “Moist Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting.”

  1. #
    DJposted July 31, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    This recipe is my absolute go to! Its so versatile, I’ve used it for the normal yellow cake, the base for cookies dough cupcakes, orange creamsicle cupcakes and just finished some watermelon cupcakes! It is SO perfect every single time. I always use almond milk with a splash of heavy cream in place of the whole milk and it is just as great. I look forward to trying more of your suggestions, thank you for sharing!!


  2. #
    Hollywoodposted August 3, 2015 at 9:13 am

    I was so looking forward to these cupcakes for my daughters baby shower yesterday.  I made them on Saturday following the recipe exactly as written and they were a disaster.  They were not only flat, they stuck to the cupcake liners and were extremely greasy.  I could not use them at all.  I wondered if the ingredient measurements are off.  What a disappointment not to mention a waste of time.  Luckily I was able to locate a similar recipe in my King Arthur cookbook which saved me.  The King Arthur cupcakes turned out fine so I know it wasn’t my baking powder.  So, I guess I just wonder what could have been wrong with this recipe?  I’ve made other things from this website and have been pleased.  Any ideas on what the problem could have been would be appreciated so I can avoid this from ever happening in the future.


  3. #
    Misty Sposted August 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Another homerun, Sally! I had to make cupcakes for a luncheon for the children getting promoted at church & instantly thought of yellow cupcakes with chocolate icing. Like you, they take me right back to my childhood. They were a huge hit with the children & adults alike!
    Your recipes never disappoint!


  4. #
    Udayaposted August 4, 2015 at 6:38 am

    It sounds lovely!!!


  5. #
    Carolynposted August 4, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    BEST cupcakes ever! Sally, thank you so much for this recipe. I made two batches last weekend for a birthday party and several people asked me for the recipe. I love how soft the cupcakes are. And the flavor is outstanding.


  6. #
    Clareposted August 12, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    These were sooooooooo good slight question though: am I the only one who got WAY more then 18 cupcakes? I ended up with 30 cupcakes and 20 mini cupcakes! (Not that I’m complaining) I would recommend to anyone else to make half batch if you actually want 18 haha


  7. #
    dianaposted August 15, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    hi, sally! I made this cupcakes yesterday and even though they tasted beautiful, the had a crack in the middle and it didn’t rise evenly. it always happens to me with cupcakes. is it because the oven is too hot? i’ll try to buy an oven thermometer. thank you and have a lovely day!


  8. #
    PinkTaliaposted August 16, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Hi Sally,
    I love these cupcakes but am looking to make a sheet cake in the same combination.  Do you think this recipe would work for that? 



  9. #
    Laineyposted August 16, 2015 at 11:30 am

    I forgot to tell you Sally, that we made these cupcakes on Friday night! It was my niece’s birthday and the birthday girl herself wanted to help out in the kitchen. We all had a ball making these from scratch. The cupcakes are moist and light as your describe. Thank you for sharing this one!
    I saw one commenter say the cupcakes turned out greasy. Ours weren’t like that at all but I wonder if her softened butter was melted. I mean even the smallest bit melted. I like to only have butter out for 30 minutes before creaming it. Any more than that and the creamed sugar/butter becomes greasy. 


  10. #
    Amandaposted August 19, 2015 at 12:09 am

    These cupcakes are divine! They are defintely going to be my go-to cupcakes. I frosted them with the leftover orange buttercream I had and ran out of frosting midway, but that’s okay because these babies taste delicious on its own. In fact, they are so wonderful that I’m planning to make another batch next week with your salted caramel frosting recipe! 


  11. #
    Nitposted August 20, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Hi Sally,

    I love this recipe! The cupcakes come out fluffy and moist every time. I do have a lot trouble with the frosting though. My frosting always comes out very light brown which ruins the presentation. Any idea what I might be doing wrong? Also there is always a slight salty aftertaste with the frosting. Am I not mixing it long enough? 


    • Sallyreplied on August 21st, 2015 at 8:10 am

      Hi Nit! Mixing wouldn’t be the issue. You can try adding more cocoa powder and, as a result of the extra, you can add an extra Tablespoon of cream. Or you can switch out some of the confectioners’ sugar for cocoa. And feel free to leave out the salt.


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