Basic Yellow Cupcakes

by Elizabeth Skipper | February 10th, 2015 | Ask the Chef

cupcakes (400x400)The cupcake rage has been going on for a few years, and although I’m late, I have decided to try making my own cupcakes from scratch. All of the cupcakes I’ve made previously have been from a box mix.  Is there a basic recipe for a yellow cupcake you could recommend?

Moving on from cake mixes, eh? Good idea. There are lots of simple cake recipes out there, many of which can be used to make cupcakes; and almost without exception, the ingredients and the taste are superior to those found in mixes. These are among the easiest cakes to make; and as long as you measure and follow the directions carefully, you should have good results.

There are endless versions, but what follows is a classic gold cake recipe, gold cake being another name for yellow cake. This refers to the fact that the cake has egg yolks in it rather than just egg whites, hence the color. Note that while the recipe calls for cake flour, you can substitute all-purpose. Use a little less; subtract about 2 TB flour from the recipe if you do.

You can either butter and flour the muffin pans or use liners. If you like crispy edges, butter and flour them. If you prefer a softer result – like the slices from the interior of a cake – use liners. You’ll find this keeps the cupcakes fresh a bit longer, too. The downside is removing the liners if you like a lot of frosting.

This will make about a dozen and a half regular-size muffins. If you make them smaller or larger, the yield will differ accordingly. Decrease or increase the cooking time as needed.  



Classic Gold Cake


  1. 2 cups sifted cake flour
  2. 2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
  3. ¼ tsp. salt
  4. ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  5. 1 cup plus 2 TB granulated sugar
  6. 3 medium egg yolks
  7. ¾ cup milk
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  9. Butter and flour for the tins, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Either butter and flour muffin tins or line them with paper liners
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl
  4. In a large bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, thoroughly cream the butter and sugar
  5. Add the egg yolks and beat until very light and fluffy
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low, and beginning with one-fourth of the flour, beat into the butter mixture, alternating with one-third of the milk and vanilla, until all the dry and wet ingredients are incorporated
  7. Do not overwork; mix just until smooth
  8. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean
  9. Cool in pans on wire rack about 5 minutes, then remove from pans and continue to cool on wire rack
Think Tasty

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