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Yellow Cupcakes Recipe & Video

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I find cupcakes so appealing as they are your own little cake that you do not have to share. These Yellow Cupcakes are one of my favorites. They have a sweet vanilla flavor and a dense yet soft texture. They pair beautifully with a creamy smooth Chocolate Frosting. Great with or without candy or chocolate sprinkles.


While you don't have to line your cupcake pan with paper liners, they do make the cupcakes easy to release from the pan and clean up is a breeze. When I found this Yellow Cupcake recipe in Baking Illustrated by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine, I immediately knew it was a keeper. This cake batter is unusual in that you simply 'dump' all the dry ingredients into your mixer, then all the wet ingredients (all at room temperature), and beat them together. That is it. The result is a wonderfully dense and moist yellow cupcake.

This chocolate fudge frosting recipe is adapted from the excellent cookbook Chocolate Bar by Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson who run a chocolate boutique in New York that they call a "candy store for grown-ups". It is the type of chocolate frosting my mother always used to cover cakes. Made with butter, confectioners (icing or powdered) sugar, vanilla extract and unsweetened chocolate, it is perfect for covering cupcakes. It uses unsweetened chocolate which is also known as baking, plain, or bitter chocolate. This is chocolate in its rawest form. Chocolate liquor that has been refined and contains 50-55% cocoa butter. Since no sugar has been added to the chocolate it has a strong, bitter taste that is used in cooking and baking but is never eaten out of hand. When used in this frosting it imparts a deep chocolate flavor.

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 Chocolate Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes

Yellow Cupcakes: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined. Add the butter, egg, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and sour cream. Beat the wet and dry ingredients together, at low speed, until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then increase to medium speed and beat until the batter is smooth and satiny, about 30 to 60 seconds.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18 - 23 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. (Rotate your pan front to back about halfway through baking.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Then you can either spread the Chocolate Frosting on the cupcakes with a small spatula or, if piping, use a large Wilton 1M open or closed star tip to make lovely swirls.

These cupcakes are best the day they are made, but they can be covered and stored for a few days at room temperature.

Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Then in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the melted chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes).

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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Yellow Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

3/4 - 1 cup (150 - 200 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) fine kosher salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature (cut into pieces)

1 large egg (50 grams), at room temperature

2 large egg yolks (36 grams), at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (120 ml/grams) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature

Chocolate Frosting:

4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups (160 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) pure vanilla extract

Garnish: (optional)

Colored Sprinkles or Chocolate Sprinkles

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