Serves a Crowd

Basic Vanilla & Chocolate Cupcakes

September 28, 2015
4.4 Stars
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

A basic recipe for simple vanilla and/or chocolate cupcakes. To dress these up, I like to stuff them with a piece of candy (like caramels or chocolate-covered nougat), a few pieces of fresh fruit, or a tablespoon of jam, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, or ganache. Then I frost them with buttercream, whipped ganache, whipped cream, or a basic chocolate or fruit glaze.

Variation: Rainbow Cupcakes

Divide the batter evenly into 6 bowls. Use food coloring to dye each bowl a color of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Divide the purple batter between the prepared cupcake pan cavities. Then, divide the blue batter, scooping/spooning it on top of the purple. Continue this way, adding the green, yellow, orange, and red. The cupcake cavities should each be about ¾ way full. Bake as directed above. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Watch This Recipe
Basic Vanilla & Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 12 cupcakes (each recipe yields 12 cupcakes)
Ingredients
  • For the vanilla cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • For the chocolate cupcakes:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. For the vanilla cupcakes:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together to combine. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed to combine, and scraping well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla to combine.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the buttermilk into the batter and mix on low speed to combine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix to combine. Repeat two more times, until all of the liquid and flour is added and fully incorporated.
  7. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan using a #16 scoop (or just fill each cavity 3/4 of the way full).
  8. Bake the cupcakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a rack to cool completely before frosting and finishing.
  1. For the chocolate cupcakes:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together to combine.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed to combine, and scraping well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla to combine.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the buttermilk into the batter and mix on low speed to combine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix to combine. Repeat two more times, until all of the liquid and flour is added and fully incorporated.
  7. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan using a #40 scoop (or just fill each cavity 3/4 of the way full).
  8. Bake the cupcakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a rack to cool completely before frosting and finishing.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Patricia González
    Patricia González
  • Erin Jeanne McDowell
    Erin Jeanne McDowell
  • Molloy
    Molloy
  • tdombrow
    tdombrow
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, came out on November 10th, 2020, and my pie merch collaboration with Food52 is out now too: https://food52.com/shop/merchants/manifest-food52/food52-x-erin-mcdowell

8 Reviews

Molloy October 15, 2021
Love your videos and have learnt so much.

Can I reduce the sugar amount? Am from Ireland and we don't use as much sugar as US. Will it change the consistency!?
 
Anna B. October 15, 2021
I've made this multiple times. For the vanilla cupcakes I reduce to 1/2 cup sugar and increase the buttermilk to 2/3 cup. They are pretty dense but delicious and plenty sweet (I usually top with chocolate buttercream frosting).
 
tdombrow July 21, 2021
I love, love, love this recipe. Somehow or another, I started a cupcake business on accident. I get some "interesting" cupcake flavor requests, and these recipes as a base, is perfect every time. I did stray for a bit and tried another recipe, but I will always come back to this one. Now to figure out why I can't get my buttercream to behave!
 
Bethkellum June 25, 2021
Frosting recipe? I watched the youtube video and I'm curious about the blackberry frosting. I can't find anything about it. It's the cupcakes with the blackberries on it.
 
Erin J. June 28, 2021
Hi there! It’s the frosting included in this cupcake recipe, with 1/2 cup (170 g) of seedless blackberry jam added to it.

https://food52.com/recipes/85683-best-white-cupcake-recipe-with-mascarpone-whipped-cream

 
Anna B. April 28, 2018
I have either plain yogurt or powdered buttermilk. Which do you think would be better?
 
Patricia G. April 17, 2017
First time I made this recipe and it turns great. Definittly a keeper.
 
marsha October 21, 2015
COULD I USE REGULAR MILK