Perfect Yellow Cupcake with Fudge IcingOne of my most favorite desserts in the whole world is a yellow cake with chocolate icing. On the surface it seems so simple, yet do you realize how many different ways there are to make a yellow cake? I will admit I long for the taste, texture, and color of yellow box cakes but I can deal without all the extra unpronounceable ingredients. So, every few months I try to find a recipe that brings me back to the taste and texture of my favorite yellow box cakes. Over the years I don’t know how many recipes I’ve tried, but it’s been a bit ridiculous. Each cake I get a bit closer to what I am and the rest of my family are looking for in a cake. This particular recipe was inspired by The Best Vanilla Cake Recipe from (see in my Construction/Trucks at Work Cake), and from techniques and recipes in the Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book*.

The other great thing about this recipe is that they can be regular, or mini-size cupcakes. I chose to serve mini cupcakes as a dessert one evening to family. This is great because it’s basically a “choose your size dessert adventure.” I sent in about three dozen mini-cupcakes into work with Dave, and the response to the mini cupcakes was overwhelming! You can enjoy a taste of dessert, without going way over the top.

What I wanted to change

The Best Vanilla Cake is indeed very very good, but it misses ever so slightly on two things. The cake is a bit dry, and the vanilla/buttery flavor just needs a tiny extra punch. I made this recipe a few months ago and it was beyond amazing! So I went to make it again for a Teacher Appreciation luncheon, alas, I could not decipher my own changes and guessed on my changes to the egg content. It tasted alright, but not amazing. So, I just had to try again, and well I nailed it! Many tears of joy!

Change the fat, ditch an egg white, and easier mixing

I looked to the Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake and Fluffy Yellow Cupcake recipes in the Baking Book* for some ideas. First, by making changes to the types of fat used, I could increase the moisture content of the cake. Instead of all butter, I substituted some oil in place of butter. America’s Test Kitchen suggested melting the butter as well, so I incorporated that technique as well. You might be able to substitute applesauce for oil (which is a favorite thing of mine to do, but I have not tried it in this recipe.)

For the final recipe, I decided to leave out a white instead of ditching the yolk. When I made these cupcakes a second time I couldn’t remember how I did the eggs, so I tried three eggs and one white figuring I would get some extra fluffiness that way. I did, but the flavor was not as rich. So the final time I made it with very clear directions I decided to skip a white and go with the yolk. The color and flavor were much better. (The yellowness of your cake depends a lot on how yellow your yolks are.)

Finally, Cook’s Illustrated noted an easier method for mixing cupcakes which I am all about since it does not require you to alternate wet and dry ingredients. Mix all the dry ingredients, followed by all the wet type ingredients. Voila! Sweet perfection!

Perfect Yellow Cupcake with Fudge Icing

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Perfect Yellow Cupcake with Fudge Icing
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A buttery, sweet and fluffy cupcake with fudge frosting. Excellent cupcake or cake base for your favorite frosting. Fudge Frosting inspired by Betty Crocker.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 48 mini
Yellow Cupcake
  • 1½ cups cake or pastry flour
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 12 tablespoons of Butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 tablespoons Oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs + 1 yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted.
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
Fudge Icing
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Bowl of ice and water
Vanilla Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Sift cake flour and measure, sift all-purpose flour and measure.
  3. Sift both flours together, with baking powder and salt. Gently whisk, or place in mixer to aerate more.
  4. Add sugar to dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
  5. Combine melted butter and oil. Mix gently to combine.
  6. Add vanilla extract to butter/oil mixture.
  7. Mix butter and oil into dry ingredients.
  8. Add eggs and yolk one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  9. Slowly add evaporated milk. Mix to combine.
  10. Portion into mini-cupcake tins or regular size cupcake tins. Fill to about ¾ full, or ⅔ for a slightly shorter rise.Tap pans gently to release air bubbles.
  11. Bake 13-14 minutes for mini-cupcakes, or 15-20 minutes for regular size cupcakes, or until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.
  12. Remove pans from oven and let rest for five minutes. Gently turn out cupcakes onto wire rack to cool.
Fudge Frosting
  1. In a medium sized pot, mix all ingredients together except vanilla.
  2. Heat frosting ingredients to a rolling boil, and stir occasionally.
  3. Boil for one minute without stirring.
  4. Place pot in bowl of ice and water.
  5. Beat frosting until smooth and spreadable. Add vanilla.
  6. Frost as desired.
  7. *IF icing becomes stiff or gritty, put back on heat for a 30 seconds to a minute and whisk until the gloss just starts to come back.,cupcake,desserts,frosting,yellow cupcakeOne of my most favorite desserts in the whole world is a yellow cake with chocolate icing. On the surface it seems so simple, yet do you realize how many different ways there are to make a yellow cake? I will admit I long for the taste, texture, and...Misadventures and fun in the kitchen and beyond