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!

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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.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Holidays
Keyword Homemade Yellow Cupcakes, Yellow Cake, Yellow Cupcakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 7 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 142kcal


  • stand mixer or handheld mixer


  • c AP flour
  • ¼ c cornstarch
  • c sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ c unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ 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 3/4 c 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 2 days.


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


Calories: 142kcal

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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