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!

Super-moist Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting by Finally the perfect homemade yellow cupcake recipe!

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?

Super-moist Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting by Finally the perfect homemade yellow cupcake recipe!

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.

Super-moist Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting by Finally the perfect homemade yellow cupcake recipe!

(The return of my fave polka dot plates.)

Before you go reaching for boxed mixes and canned frosting (eww), 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

Sally's Baking Addiction Classic Yellow Cupcakes - 100x better than a box mix!

A few things I urge you to read before beginning:

(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.

Super-moist Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting by Finally the perfect homemade yellow cupcake recipe!

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.


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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!

Yield: 16 cupcakes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes


  • 2 and 1/3 cups (292g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons (180g) unsalted butter, softened too room temperature*
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature and separated
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk*

 Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
  • 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


Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. This recipe only makes 16 cupcakes, so you will have 4 cupcakes to bake in a 2nd batch.

For the cupcakes: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

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. (Set the egg whites aside.) 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. Whisk or beat the 2 egg whites until thick and foamy, about 3 minutes. See photo below the recipe for a visual. Fold into cupcake batter. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling 1/2 - 2/3 of the way 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 mites, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

For 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.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 5. The baked cupcakes (without frosting) may be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.


*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.

*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. 

*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.

*FOR A CAKE: You may easily turn this into a yellow layer cake. Simply pour batter into two 9-inch cake pan and bake for 27-35 minutes. Cakes are done when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Frost as desired.

*FOR MINI SIZE: bake as directed, but using a mini cupcake pan. Same oven temperature, about 8-10 minutes bake time.

© 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.

Yellow Cupcakes Recipe by


Finally, the perfect yellow cupcake recipe!

Super-moist Yellow Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting by Finally the perfect homemade yellow cupcake recipe!




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

  1. #
    Maryposted August 31, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Hey Sally – what’s your method of seperating eggs?


    • Sallyreplied on September 1st, 2014 at 9:39 am

      I have an egg separator, but simply cracking the egg white into 1 bowl while holding the egg yolk in the shell works just fine here.


  2. #
    Heatherposted September 1, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Hey Sally – all I have on hand is vanilla bean paste. Can I use that in lieu of the vanilla extract?


    • Sallyreplied on September 2nd, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      That would be just fine Heather.


  3. #
    Sharde [The Lawful Kitchen]posted September 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Yellow cake + chocolate frosting is a heavenly combination. Can’t wait to try your new recipe!


  4. #
    Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugarposted September 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    These cupcakes look so perfect! I’ve been on the hunt for a yellow cupcake recipe, I just might have to try yours!! Pinned!


  5. #
    Priyaposted September 4, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Hi Sally,
    These look amazing. Just 2 questions I have.
    1) while the first batch is baking should I keep the batter in tHe fridge?
    2) once iced, should I keep the cupcakes in the fridge overnight cos of the milk in the frosting?
    Thanks so much. I love your blog. Wishing you the best for your big day.


    • Sallyreplied on September 4th, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      The batter may be left at roomy temperature. Please see storing instructions in my recipe for the cupcakes. Enjoy!


      • Priyareplied on September 4th, 2014 at 8:27 pm

        Thank you for your quick reply. I’ve got my butter and eggs out softening to room temp right now!

      • Priyareplied on September 6th, 2014 at 7:48 am

        Just thought I would follow-up. I made these for a picnic with a few families attending. I managed to get 18 cupcakes out of the batter, and I halved the icing as we only like a thin layer. It was so great. Demolished by adults and kids. A really yummy yellow cupcake, and the icing complemented it great. Thank you Sally. I love the fact that all your recipes work so well.

  6. #
    nishita gandhiposted September 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    hi sally, this frosting looks delicious <3 i have one doubt the frosting..
    you've mentioned "Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla and cream"
    but in india heavy cream isn't available easily.. so i should the milk instead of cream, right?
    awaiting your reply.
    thanks, nishita


  7. #
    Cassieposted September 12, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I just made these, and I wasn’t super thrilled with them. They were fine, just not as excellent as lot of other recipes. The cupcakes were whiter than I expected from a yellow cake, and they were very fragile. I wouldn’t recommend trying to travel with these cupcakes. They had a great flavor though, and the icing was awesome. If you’re looking for a very light and airy cupcake, this is a good choice. If you’re looking for something for a kids’ birthday party, I recommend trying a different recipe.


  8. #
    Haleemaposted September 13, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Hi, love your recipes!
    One question though, does granulated sugar mean castor sugar (uk) or normal everyday sugar?
    Thank you


    • Sallyreplied on September 13th, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      Granulated sugar is just everyday white sugar. What you would spoon into coffee. Castor sugar is much more fine.


  9. #
    Mayaposted September 16, 2014 at 6:35 am

    These cupcakes look amazing! I can’t wait to try them
    How much batter goes into each cupcake?


    • Sallyreplied on September 16th, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Hi Maya – that is in the instructions.


  10. #
    Ileana Keltzposted September 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    These look amazing! I am a classic dessert kind of gal, and these definitely rank as a classic. My sister-in-law is coming to visit for a few days, and I think I’ll have a batch of these yummy, beautiful, cupcakes waiting. I love that everything is from scratch, cause that’s how I roll.


  11. #
    Heatherposted September 25, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Oh, these are GOOOOD! I made them just the way you wrote the recipe, and they are delicious! Thank you for sharing.


  12. #
    Denise Smithposted September 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Soooooo a tip…don’t over fill the cupcakes! I’m making them now for my daughter’s first birthday party!


  13. #
    Stefanieposted October 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    So I just made these today and I followed the recipe to the T! I was able to get 24 standard size cupcakes from the recipe. I’m not a fan of these, which made me sad cause i love the other recipes on here. Mine came out a little too sweet tasting for me. I’m not sure if I did something wrong or if they should be sweet. help?

    Question: can you substitute the milk for sour cream? Im just wondering if the sour cream will help keep it moist and maybe help with downplaying the sweetness.


    • Sallyreplied on October 13th, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Hi Stefanie. Yep, these cupcakes are supposed to be sweet. However, feel free to reduce the sugar to your liking. It’s an easy recipe to adapt to fit your tastes. I don’t suggest 1 whole cup of sour cream. The cupcakes may be a little heavy tasting. How about 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup milk.


  14. #
    Mayaposted October 12, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Can you freeze these cupcakes after making them?


    • Sallyreplied on October 13th, 2014 at 11:46 am

      The baked cupcakes (without frosting) may be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.


  15. #
    Fayeposted October 15, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Hi Sally, welcome back – congratulations on your marriage! Your honeymoon sounds fantastic! I wanted to let you know that I have made this cake several ways, mostly as 9-inch cakes; frosted with icing, crusted with sliced almonds & currants (awesome “plain” cake with coffee), swirled with Nutella etc. This is a keeper recipe for a yellow cake – it is moist and flavorful and simply yummy! I love it best with buttermilk in lieu of the whole milk. Thank you for yet another killer basic recipe!


  16. #
    Kimberly Annposted October 15, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    I always halve a cupcake recipe when I try it for the first time, just in case they are sub-par. I halved this one, and I went against my better judgement and filled 8 cupcake liners (since that is half of 16, and that’s what the recipe says), even though the batter could have filled 9 or even 10 liners. They were a little over-filled and came out of the oven a little over the sides of the liners. But they are cooling and smell divine – I added a little extra vanilla in the form of vanilla paste. I’ll let you know how they taste! :)


    • Kimberly Annreplied on October 15th, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      They tasted great! Not what I thought a yellow cake would taste like – I thought it would be more dense and buttery and a little more yellow, but a very delicious cupcake. Moist, soft, fluffy, and delicate. :) Next time I will use whole milk – all I had was our standard household 1%. :P


  17. #
    Zeineposted October 16, 2014 at 2:53 am

    I’m an amateur and totally loving this new world of baking (thank you for all the inspiration) .. so I’m wondering why my egg whites haven’t become fluffy and thick like yours??? What could I be doing wrong?


    • Sallyreplied on October 16th, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Are you using a mixer? Make sure you are beating on high and using room temperature eggs.


  18. #
    Kristinaposted October 17, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Hi Sally,
    I love many of your recipes. I made these cupcakes today. I love the flavor, but they stuck so badly to the liner, I only got about 1.5 bites out of it. I feel bad because I sent them to my son’s preschool class before realizing this problem! Is this due to an error I made with the batter? Or bad liners? If I had known, I would have sprayed them, but I don’t typically have to spray liners for cupcakes. Just wondering what you think. Thanks for sharing your recipes!


    • Sallyreplied on October 17th, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Hmm. I don’t think the cupcakes are the issue – I’ve never had this problem and I use all sorts of liners. So sorry Kristina. I would spray them next time. Thank you!


  19. #
    Samposted October 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you for this frosting recipe! Needed something a bit more richer than just some chocolate buttercream; this tastes like frosting out of the can, which I love!!


  20. #
    Maddieposted October 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I just made these cupcakes, the cake part was SUPER good ! They were very moist, however the frosting wasn’t that great, I only added a 1/4 tsp of salt because I thought 1/2 tsp of salt was way to probably only needed a PINCH of salt, I think taking out the salt completely would make the cupcakes overall taste much better.


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