Homemade Yellow Cupcakes

I’m a chocolate cake kind of person. Chocolate cakes on a dessert menu always catch my eye. I have always insisted on chocolate cakes for my birthday and, 90% of the time when I bake a cake, it’s chocolate. But there are times when a classic golden vanilla cake is needed and I realized I didn’t have a go-to on hand.

Yellow cake is a classic for a reason and it’s a good recipe to have around. I found this recipe in a family cookbook– it was my Great Grandma Tuck’s and I’ve adapted it slightly for convenience.

She called for Crisco– I’m using butter. It called for cake flour but I rarely buy that so I’ve written it for all purpose flour + cornstarch (per a tip from The Kitchn). She also left out the yield size and some instructions so I’ve added those in 🙂

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes:

  • Have a fine, tender crumb (they’re light + fluffy!)
  • Are sweet enough but not too sweet–so they go with every frosting!
  • Are easy to make + better for you than boxed mixes
  • Use simple ingredients and pantry staples

This recipe yields 18 standard cupcakes or an 8-inch 2 layer cake. It works well with frostings, jam fillings, and simple glazes, too. These cupcakes are great for everything from parties and celebrations to “I need cupcakes” on a Tuesday. They are simple and delicious and you probably have everything you need on hand. So let’s make some classic yellow cupcakes!

Frosted yellow cupcakes

Homemade Yellow Cupcakes

Classic, yellow vanilla cupcakes. Not too sweet so they're perfect for any frosting and occasion. Easy to make with simple ingredients and better than a boxed mix! Yields 18 standard cupcakes or an 8-inch 2 layer round cake.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 7 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Holidays
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 142 kcal


  • stand mixer or handheld mixer


  • c AP flour
  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • c sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened = 1 stick
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c milk
  • tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners or baking spray.
  • Sift together flour and cornstarch in a medium bowl, then whisk in baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Beat in eggs on medium speed, 1 at a time, until combined. Stir in the 3/4 cup milk and vanilla.
  • Using low speed, add in the dry ingredient mixture until just combined, scraping sides if needed. Add in remaining 2 tbsp milk and stir once more.
  • Scoop batter into prepared cupcake pan, filling each 2/3 full. If needed, shake pan gently to remove bubbles and level batter.
  • Bake on 350°F for 20-25 minutes, until edges are lightly golden and tops spring back when touched. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack to cool completely before frosting as desired.

Storage of cupcakes and/or batter:

  • Unused cupcake batter can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Let batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking as instructed.
  • Cupcakes stored covered at room temperature are best enjoyed within 3 days.


Substitute 2 cups cake flour for the AP flour and cornstarch, if desired.
Calories are for cupcakes only– frosting calories will vary.


Serving: 1cupcakeCalories: 142kcal
Keyword Better than Boxed, Cupcakes, Easy Desserts, Yellow Cake, Yellow Cupcakes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Other Great Desserts:

I’m still probably going to pick chocolate cakes 90% of the time I have a choice– but I’m super excited to have a good, classic yellow cake in my arsenal now. I know I’ll be making these for family birthdays to come 🙂 And they go with just about every frosting so they will be versatile!

I hope you all are enjoying the start of summer– and find something fun to bake soon 🙂 Oh, and happy 30th birthday to my biggest fan and best friend– Andrew!


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