This Moist Yellow Cupcake Recipe creates over two dozen bakery-level treats in your own kitchen that everyone will devour in record time!
Yellow Cupcakes Perfect For Any Celebration!
After lots of testing and analyzing ingredients, it’s time to introduce this Moist Yellow Cupcake Recipe! These rich, buttery yellow cupcakes carry a delicious statement of flavor that gives them bakery-level status!
This recipe is slightly adapted from my Yellow Butter Cake, with the biggest difference being the addition of sour cream. From there, I carefully chose eggs with the best yolks and butter with a high-fat content to deliver these cupcakes that are rich and light with a tender crumb.
I’ve done all the testing, and now ALL you have to do is the baking! Top them with my Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting to deliver an elite treat that is over the top delicious yet easy to make right in your own kitchen!
Yellow Cupcake Recipe Ingredients
- Cake Flour
- Baking Soda
- Granulated Sugar
- Salted Butter
- Sour Cream
- Vegetable Oil
- Vanilla Extract
- Large Eggs
- Large Egg Yolks
At the top of the ingredients list, you’ll notice that we went with cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. This easy swap significantly impacts the recipe, creating a better cupcake.
This is because cake flour has just 7 to 9% protein content, forming less gluten when mixing and baking. The less gluten there is, the more tender the crumb, making for a deliciously soft and light cupcake!
The next ingredient to greatly impact these cupcakes is the butter! For the best flavor, use a European-style salted butter such as Kerrygold or Finlandia. The high-fat content in European butter makes for a rich, buttery flavor that stands out in these cupcakes!
Another ingredient that makes a big difference in this recipe is high-quality eggs. This is because the egg quality impacts the color and flavor of the cupcakes. Therefore, you want eggs that have bright orange yolks. For the best yolks, I recommend eggs such as Vital Farms, Nellie’s, or Consider brand.
Substitutions & Variations
- Cake Flour – If you don’t keep cake flour in your pantry, you can easily make this Cake Flour Substitute using all-purpose flour and cornstarch.
- Unsalted Butter – While I have found that salted European-style butter yields the best results, you can substitute it with unsalted butter if needed. To do so, add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the dry ingredients.
- Buttermilk – If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a homemade Buttermilk Substitute with just 2 easy ingredients to use instead.
- Jumbo Cupcake – Instead of regular-sized cupcakes, feel free to use a jump cupcake pan or jumbo muffin tin to bake them in. This would be great to use as a smash cake for first birthdays or just for a fun extra-large treat! Just keep a close eye on the bake time, as they’ll require a little extra time.
- Cake – Feel free to bake a cake using this recipe instead of cupcakes!
How To Make Yellow Cupcakes
Step 1: Whisk cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Then, set it aside.
Step 2: Cream the granulated sugar, salted butter, sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
Step 3: One at a time, add the large eggs and large egg yolks into the large mixing bowl, beating after each addition until just combined.
Step 4: Fold in the dry ingredients in 3 parts using a rubber spatula, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 parts. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Continue to fold gently until there are only very small lumps left. DO NOT use an electric mixer for this step!
Step 5: Portion the cupcake batter out into the cupcake liners in the prepared pans. I find that a scant ¼ cup of batter per liner is just right!
Step 6: Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes back clean.
Step 7: Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting – about 1 hour.
Step 8: Frost the cooled cupcakes with your favorite frosting recipe – here are some of our favorites!
Make these cupcakes exactly what you like by serving them up with your favorite frosting! Chocolate lovers may want a Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting or velvety Chocolate Malt Buttercream.
While others may enjoy them with the taste of this classic vanilla American Buttercream Frosting! However, if you prefer more of a sweet, fruity finish, then I’d recommend this Easy Strawberry Frosting or Strawberry Buttercream Frosting!
And as always, add sprinkles for a fun finishing touch that you can match to your theme or holiday party!
How To Serve Yellow Cake Cupcakes At Your Party
Serve these cupcakes as a great hand-held treat for Birthday Parties when you’d rather skip the mess of slicing and serving cake! They’re also the perfect celebratory dessert for graduations and anniversary parties.
How To Store Yellow Cupcakes
These yellow cupcakes are best when eaten within 3 to 4 days after baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours. After that, transfer them to the refrigerator.
For party planning prep or for longer storage, you can also freeze these cupcakes! However, I do recommend doing so without frosting.
To freeze, bake and cool the cupcakes according to the recipe card. Then, wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap and again with aluminum foil. Next, place the double-wrapped cupcakes into a large freezer bag with the excess air squeezed out of it.
Then, store the bag of wrapped cupcakes in the freezer for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, transfer the bag to the counter to thaw for 30 to 60 minutes. Afterward, remove, unwrap, frost, and decorate as you’d like!
What Is The Secret To Good Cupcakes?
The secret to good cupcakes is to use high-quality ingredients, especially when it comes to butter! For best results, use a European-style butter such as Kerrygold or Finlandia.
In yellow cupcakes, I think the egg quality is also really important. I like using Vital Farms, Nellie’s, or Consider brand. Egg quality is very important in Yellow Cake, as bright orange yolks will help give the cake its color and rich flavor.
The next secret to making good cupcakes is bringing all of the ingredients to room temperature before you begin! I even highly recommend leaving the butter out overnight, as this will make the butter very soft but not melted, giving you the best results.
To ensure the best cupcakes, you’ll also want to accurately measure the ingredients using a kitchen scale. This will prevent too much or too little of an ingredient from being mixed in as that could impact the final result.
Moist Yellow Cupcake Recipe FAQs
When making cupcakes, do you spray the paper liners?
It’s usually not necessary to spray the liners before adding the batter. However, you can lightly spray the liners with non-stick cooking spray to ensure that none of the cupcakes stick to the paper liners. But it’s important to note that the spray can impact the overall texture of the cupcakes.
Why are my cupcakes dense and not fluffy?
Dense cupcakes can occur when the batter is overmixed. To avoid this, only mix the batter until the ingredients are just combined.
How much cupcake batter should I put in each liner?
Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop up the batter and then wipe any excess batter off the sides. Afterward, use a large rubber spatula to scrap over the top, dipping down just a little bit into the cup.
This will put about 1.9 ounces of batter into each liner.
Should I sift the dry ingredients together?
Yes, sifting the dry ingredients together will help remove lumps and aerate the mixture. This will allow it to blend better with the wet ingredients, which will give the cupcakes a light, find crumb after baking.
Why can’t a mixer be used to combine the dry ingredients instead of folding them in by hand?
Folding the dry ingredients in by hand helps keep the texture of the cake light and fluffy. Therefore, I do not recommend using a hand or stand mixer as this will overmix the batter, resulting in denser/gummier cupcakes!
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Yellow Cake Cupcakes
- 2¾ cups cake flour 365g
- ½ teaspoon baking soda 3g
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder 7g
- ¼ teaspoon salt 2g
- 1½ cups granulated sugar 326g
- ⅔ cup salted butter 150g, room temperature – very soft, preferably Kerrygold or other European style butter
- ½ cup sour cream 125g, room temperature
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil 70ml
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk 250ml, room temperature
- Preheat your oven to 300°F and line two 12-count cupcake pans with liners, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 2¾ cups cake flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1½ teaspoons baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream together 1½ cups granulated sugar, ⅔ cup salted butter, ½ cup sour cream, ⅓ cup vegetable oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
- Add the 2 large eggs and 2 large egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition just until combined.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients in 3 parts alternating with the 1 cup buttermilk in 2 parts. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Gently fold until only very small lumps remain. DO NOT use an electric mixer for this step.
- Evenly divide the batter between the cupcake liners, about scant ¼ cup of batter per liner, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick should come clean from the center when done.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely (about 1 hour before frosting).
- Make sure you use cake flour and not all-purpose flour. This will make for a better cake.
- Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before you begin mixing. I highly recommend leaving the butter out overnight before preparing for the best results – you want the butter to be very soft but not melted.
- I tested this recipe with 1/2 oil and 1/2 butter and found that the reduced butter content was very noticeable in flavor. For the best flavor, stick with the recipe as written and make sure to use salted butter, preferably European style such as Kerrygold or Finlandia.
- For the eggs, I like using Vital Farms, Nellie’s, or Consider brand. Egg quality is very important in Yellow Cake, as bright orange yolks will help give the cake its color and rich flavor.
- This recipe is slightly adapted from my yellow cake recipe, the biggest difference is that I replaced 1/2 cup of the buttermilk with a 1/2 cup of sour cream. The cupcakes had a smoother finish and no browning on the edges with this swap.
- We found that a scant 1/4 cup yielded the best results. So we measured by using a 1/4 cup measuring cup and making sure to wipe any excess batter off the sides of the cup, then ran a large rubber spatula over the top, which dipped down just a little bit into the cup, and this was perfect. You’re looking to add about 1.9 ounces of batter to each liner.
- These cupcakes bake low and slow for an even crumb, no browning, and a slightly puffed but flat top that’s perfect for frosting.
- You can frost the cake with your desired flavor and frosting recipe, although I highly recommend my chocolate frosting. Please note that the nutritional information is an estimate that is only for the cake, not the frosting.
- Sifting the dry ingredients helps remove lumps and aerates the mixture, allowing it to blend better with the wet ingredients and resulting in a lighter and finer crumb after baking.
- Folding in the dry ingredients instead of mixing helps keep the texture of the cake light and fluffy.
- Shelf Life: The cupcakes should be consumed within 3 to 4 days after baking. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 24 hours and then should be wrapped and placed in the refrigerator.
- How To Freeze: Bake and cool according to the recipe directions, except for frosting. Once the cake has cooled completely, wrap each layer with plastic wrap, then wrap each layer with aluminum foil, then place each layer in a large freezer bag. Freeze for up to three months. When ready to use, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 30 to 60 minutes while still wrapped. Then remove, unwrap, frost, and decorate as desired.