The Perfect Yellow Cupcake

Notes about the recipe: I did this for my wedding cake so that cutting would be easy (there's none to do!), sending people home with leftovers[ would be easy, and I could squirrel away a few for us to have back at the hotel after the wedding as well as freeze for our 1 year anniversary. It also made it fun for all the kids there and is quite impressive looking. I pulled lavender sugar tendrils and blew large sugar pearls too to decorate the cupcakes with. That may be a little ambitious for you and for me as the bride was a bit much those last few days of planning a wedding. null There is clear or white vanilla extract if you prefer the butter cream to be vanilla flavored or you can use any extract or alcohol like Grand Marnier for flavoring. For the decorations you can choose a color of ribbon that echoes the colors in the wedding. The cake charms set can be bridal or just reflect the couple's interests.]

Total Time:
3 hr 20 min
2 hr 45 min
35 min

24 servings

  • White Buttercream:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pound butter, cut up and softened slightly
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Regular or silver cupcake paper liners
  • Decorate and Assemble:
  • Edible pearlized fondant balls (in 3 sizes)
  • 3 to 6 graduated glass cake stands
  • 12 Victorian cake pull charms
  • Vari-colored ribbons to tie around cup cakes
  • Flowers, for cake top
  • Equipment: Several muffin tins

Make the White Buttercream: Put the sugar in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and pour the water down the walls of the pan to moisten the sugar without letting sugar crystals wash up on the walls of the pan. Run your finger through the center making an X to allow the water to seep into the sugar if it hasn't already. Bring the sugar to a boil over high heat and continue cooking to the "softball" stage (234 degrees F.).

Meanwhile, in a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg whites to soft peaks and hold them on low speed until the sugar is ready. When the sugar syrup is has reached the softball stage, turn the mixer up to high and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixer. Let it continue to whip to cool down. When it's feeling somewhat cooled but still a little warm, start adding the butter a few pieces at a time until you have a smooth, whipped butter cream. Add the almond extract. Use right away or cover and chill. Re-warm or let sit out to warm up to room temperature to use.

Make the Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixer with a whip attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to cream. Gradually add the vanilla and eggs and mix in well. Sift together the dry ingredients; then mix into the butter mixture alternating with the milk. Pour batter into cupcake paper-lined muffin tins filling them 3/4 full. Bake until puffed and firm in the center and light golden brown on top, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool. (Freeze at this point, if necessary.)

Decorate and Assemble the Cupcakes: Using a small spatula, frost the tops of the cooled cup cakes with the buttercream. Decorate each with a few pearls of fondant.

Tie the cake pull charms to the ends of the ribbons.

Arrange some of the cupcakes on the largest cake stand, leaving the center empty for the base of the next cake stand. Tuck some of the cake pull charms under some of the cupcakes, dangling the ribbons off the edge of the cake stand. Place the next cake stand in the center and repeat. Make as many tiers as you need. Finish the top with flowers, if you'd like.

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    64 Reviews
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    These cupcakes were so dry and tasteless! I even took the time to sift the dry ingredients, which I never do, because I wanted these cupcakes to be perfect. So disappointed in this recipe and these other reviewers.
    I tried the cake recipe itself and didn't bother to try the frosting recipe. I just needed a yellow cupcake recipe. I really liked it. My cupcakes came out fluffy, light and moist. I've used for my maple bacon cupcakes. This recipe is good for basic butter cream cupcakes. You can really get creative with frosting and toppings because the cake is basic enough. Not only did it work great for cupcakes, I also used to make cake pops. Which my friends and family really enjoyed. I do recommend using cake flour because it really does make the cake fluffy. I tried using all purpose flour and i find that it made the cupcakes a bit heavy and corn bread like.
    The recipe turned out to taste a lot more like corn bread, rather than anything like a cupcake. Also the buttercream frosting didn't turn out the way i expected it to either. All in all i would try and maybe add more vanilla and possibly more sugar and less butter.
    I made these cupcakes yesterday. They look nice, my family enjoyed eating them but they are a little sticky to the cupcakes foil. Can I use this recipe with some chocolate chips?
    This was good but no WOW factor. The butter made it a bit dry. It was a little on the sweet side as well. I will just have to look for other yellow cake recipes as I only remake those recipes that I really love.
    *my review only on the cupcake itself* I made these cupcakes over the weekend for my friend's birthday. I was looking for a good yellow cupcake recipe and all other recipes were so iffy with reviews and such but I decided to try this one, even though some of these reviews were iffy as well. I have my own chocolate frosting recipe so I used that instead. These cupcakes came out amazing! Everyone loved them. I didnt have cake flour but I made my own and they came out perfect and now everyone is bugging me to make more! hahah! such a great cupcake recipe! Happy Baking!
    I love baking from scratch, I hate box mixes. I have been searching for a yellow cupcake recipe and this is the one!! Simple and quick to make, Thank you food network!
    This cake was awesome!!!
    I made this as one of two cakes for my son's wedding reception. Decorations weren't the greatest BUT super duper moist! I would make it again...might just make it now. Wanting something sweet to eat!
    This recipe is freakin GREAT? I had been looking for a cupcake recipe like forever and each one I tried came out dry. This one has a nice crumb, moist, and flavorable. I added more vanilla than what the recipe called for, but it was still great. I will definitely be keeping this one around.
    I made those cupcakes today. They came out light, golden brown and fluffy. I didn't have cake flour so I made my own by taking out 2 tbsp of all purpose flour and replacing it by cornstarch. I let the butter and sugar mix for at least 10 min until pale yellow and fluffy. The recipe makes a lot of cupcakes. I did half of it and got 12 cupcakes. Don't fill the tins all the way because they will overflow. My cooking time was 23 minutes. I didn't make the frosting.  
    Good cupcakes, I intend to make them again. A keeper!
    I am a self proclaimed Cake Snob.....I bake....I decorate....I enjoy. I have tried out many recipes on cakes/cupcakes and I LOVE this recipe. It is very easy and the cupcakes came out very moist and with a great flavor. I did not try out this buttercream recipe because I have one of my own that I swear by. If you are looking for a cupcake recipe.....don't go any further....this one is amazing and I am keeping this in my recipe box.
    I recently made these cupcakes, but i decided not to use the frosting recipe due to bad reviews. So, I can only speak on behalf of the cupcake recipe. It was DELICIOUS!!! I added about a 1/2 tsp. more vanilla than the recipe called for to add more flavor to the cake. Since, I did not have unsalted butter I used salted butter and only added 1/4 tsp. of extra salt which also worked great. I am not an everyday baker, so I did not have cake flour, but regular white flour works just as well! It made 29 cupcakes and I used a large muffin scoop to insert the batter into the liner so the batter would not overflow. All in all, this recipe made great cupcakes and I am definitely adding it to my recipe box!
    Theses cupcakes are one of the best ones ive ever made!!!!!!! very yummy and delicous.....except used different buttercream:
    The cupcakes came out perfectly, They were soft and light unlike pound cake. Putting this one in my recipe box.
    i want to make this cup cakes but before i wanna know: why do i have to use a whip attachment to cream the butter.?
    Great recipe, but no offense to "puffpastry", but EVERY oven, kitchen, etc. is different. Humidty as well. So it's hard to say "23 minutes" is ideal.
    I made the cupcakes but not the frosting. I used a family recipie insted and it terned out great! I baked them for a kids party so to make them exiting and fun for the kids i added a little color! I split the batter up and dyed them diffrent fun colors! Then put two color batters into the same cupcake cup and swired them with a spoon! This made the hit of the party... TIE-DIE CUPCAKES!!!
    These cupcakes are delicious. The texture is very nice as is the flavor, buttery but light. 
    Be careful to follow directions exactly and DON'T overfill the cupcake pans or they will overflow. 
    Yes the tops are flat but that works fine with the buttercream. 
    The buttercream worked very well for me but will not work if the kitchen is too hot, the icing will never firm up. But as long as it's not a blazing hot day, the frosting will come together if it's beaten enough and if all the butter is added. The almond extract is a great touch, a true buttercream like this can be a bit too rich tasting but the almost flavor cuts the richness and you can peak the light buttercream on the flat tops of the cakes. Terrific and very special. 
    I wish Gale Gand still had a show on FN, I miss Sweet Dreams......
    I have made the cupcakes a few times, not the frosting as of yet. The cupcakes turned out very light and fluffy. I also like the versatility of the yellow batter cake as you can make any type of frosting and they even worked with the creme filling I made. My family, friends, co workers, church members simply love them. I would continue to make these cupcakes for a long time.
    I made the cupcakes and the frosting, my first 'official' butter cream. I did not have a candy thermometer so I had to improvise with a meat thermometer and do the soft ball test... not easy! I added the syrup to the eggs white and I really thought I was going to fry the eggs so I went really slow. The metal bowl to the stand mixer was pretty hot but the mixture had cooled. Adding the butter was a very slow process and the frosting was not coming together as well as I had hoped until I realized my stand mixer was not yet at full became light and fluffy within seconds! Although I didn't love the taste of this frosting at first it was nice and light to work with...I think I would prefer to use it on a cake rather than cupcakes. Also note that after some time in the fridge the frosting is kind of too butter-like in consistency so I will serve at room temp. Overall the cupcake and the frosting are light and fluffy with nice flavor.
    for the best results cook for exactly 23 minutes this will make them soft but thoroughly cooked!
    These cupcakes would be better used for breakfast. They tasted like muffins. Grill them up with some butter in the morning and you have a yummy treat.
    I can only speak on the cake itself as I haven't tried the butter cream. I've been using this yellow cake recipe as a base for a long time, but strangely, I did not get the recipe from Gale. I found it in Martha Day's Encyclopedia of Baking. It is EXACTLY the same recipe, except Day's calls for slightly more vanilla. Anyway, as I prepared to make these, I realized I'd already been doing so every time I made vanilla cupcakes in the past.
     It really is a perfect recipe (or as close as I've found) for yellow cupcakes. Love it!
    This is the best cupcake I've ever made. Very light and moist. I used a chocolate butter creme icing and it was delicious.
    These are perfect cupcakes! I used to have another recipe for making yellow cupcakes, but this recipe is even better. Will definitely save this one for my files.
    I baked around 60 mini cupcakes for my 3 years old birthday party yesterday. I used cream cheese topping instead of buttercream. There was no one left only 10 minutes after we sang happy birthday. And no, I didn't invited 60 kids.
    These cupcakes make the perfect base for any kind of fun frosting/filling I might come up with! For Thanksgiving, I adapted this recipe to make it lemon flavored (then added a Cranberry concoction as a filling. Yum!). I simply added the zest and juice of one whole lemon and cut out 1/4t of vanilla. They were delicious and everyone just raved about them!
    These cupcakes turned out perfectly. I didn't try making the frosting, so I can't speak to that. I topped them with Gale's Quick Vanilla Buttercream, which is really easy to make. I've made these twice this weekend, and everyone at work has raved about them..."best cupcakes ever" is what i've been hearing a lot. =D
    I don't even like yellow or white cake but these are fantastic! My niece made them for a graduation party and everyone ate them BEFORE dinner. They are moist and rich. The icing is scrumptious. My niece did use vanilla extract instead of the almond extract in the cupcakes...YUM!
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