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Classic Yellow Cupcakes with Tangy Chocolate Frosting

These yellow cupcakes are a true classic but with a slight twist! The yellow cupcakes are soft and light, and the chocolate frosting is rich and tangy thanks to two ingredients in particular: cream cheese and sour cream! You can’t help but feel nostalgic with these cupcakes; as simple as they are, you’ll find yourself going back to this recipe time and time again!

These yellow cupcakes hold a very special place in my heart. After we lost our son Gino, I tried to imagine what type of birthday cake I would have made him, and this classic combination immediately came to mind. In our house, these yellow cupcakes are “Gino’s Birthday Cupcakes”, and they remind us of how much joy he brought to our lives.

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Classic Yellow Cupcakes: A few ingredient notes

  • Cream of tartar – If you don’t already have this ingredient in your pantry, it is great to have on hand! Cream of tartar acts as a leavening agent and helps the beaten egg whites hold their structure.
  • Unsalted butter – For the best results, use European-style butter such as Kerrygold.
  • Dark dutched processed cocoa powder – Dutched processed cocoa powder is cocoa powder that has been chemically treated to neutralize the acidity of the cocoa, which provides a smoother, less acidic flavor.
  • Bittersweet chocolate (60-70% recommended) – Guittard is my preferred brand and is great for those with nut allergies (like my husband) as their factory is 100% nut free!

Prepare in advance

  1. Measure and set out all ingredients ahead of time.
  2. Finely chop the chocolate (by hand or with a food processor).
  3. Set out the following ingredients to bring to room temperature:
  • 180 ml. whole milk
  • 113 g unsalted butter (1 stick) for the cupcakes + 85 g for the frosting
  • 2 large eggs (100 g)
  • 4 oz. full-fat cream cheese
  • 120 g full-fat sour cream
Print
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Classic Yellow Cupcakes with Tangy Chocolate Frosting


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Amy @ The Pastry Blog
  • Total Time: 50-65 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the cupcakes:

  • 190 g unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of fine sea-salt
  • 180 ml whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 113 g unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 g), at room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 165 g confectioners’ sugar
  • 20 g dark, dutch processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch of fine sea-salt
  • 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60-70% recommended)
  • 85 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 120 g full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

Instructions

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. Sift the flour, half of the cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  3. Combine the whole milk and vanilla extract and set aside.
  4. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites, setting the yolks aside and placing the whites in a large bowl.
  5. Into the bowl of egg whites, add the remaining cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form (about 3 minutes). Egg whites should be glossy and firm but not overly stiff.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy, for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Keeping the mixer on medium-high, add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.
  8. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated – do not overmix!
  9. Remove the mixing bowl from the stand and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, being sure to incorporate any hiding ingredients.
  10. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped egg whites.
  11. Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared paper liners and place in the middle shelf of the preheated oven.
  12. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out dry.
  13. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before carefully removing the cupcakes from the tin. Allow cupcakes to continue to cool on a wire rack.

 

For the frosting:

  1. Sift confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt and set aside.
  2. Finely chop the chocolate and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until creamy, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients in two parts, mixing until fully incorporated.
  5. Place the chopped chocolate into a bain-marie over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until just melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool for 3 minutes.
  6. With the stand mixer on medium speed, gradually add the chocolate (while still warm), followed by the sour cream, mixing until incorporated.
  7. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, being sure to incorporate any hiding ingredients.
  8. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and evenly distribute among the cupcakes, once cooled completely.

Notes

To make the frosting even more tangy, increase the amount of sour cream!

  • Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18-20 minutes

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