Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate butter cream frosting

Aren’t cupcakes adorable? There’s just something about the cute little package they come in— the paper cup wrapped around a little cake topped with a pile of frosting. They’re almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

With sprinkles

I had no problem eating several of these vanilla cupcakes with fudge buttercream frosting for breakfast the other morning. No problem at all.

I had made a few dozen for my sister-in-law’s baby shower. She’s having a baby boy in September and what better way to celebrate his upcoming arrival than with little cupcakes? They sure are a crowd pleaser. Lucky for me the crowd wasn’t that large so I’m still enjoying the leftovers.

Cupcake bite

The combination of vanilla cake with chocolate frosting is classic and doesn’t need any fancy treatment. Just a few chocolate sprinkles and you’re good to go. The cake is light and moist, but the frosting is dense and very rich. And they work together beautifully.

You may want to have a tall glass of cold milk handy.


Vanilla Cupcakes with Fudge Buttercream Frosting
The cupcakes are from Smitten Kitchen, the frosting is from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes
Makes approximately 4 dozen cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, well shaken
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with liners or grease well with butter.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixture, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one a time, mixing after each. Beat in the buttermilk at low speed until incorporated (batter will appear curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until just combined after each addition.
Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full (I use an ice cream scoop to ensure that all will be the same size). Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 12-15 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
4-6 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixture until smooth. Frost cupcakes as desired.
Note: If you plan to frost all of the cupcakes with this frosting, you will need to double the recipe. I used a combination of the fudge buttercream and my favorite vanilla buttercream. This recipe yields approximately 5 cups of frosting.

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21 Responses to Vanilla Cupcakes with Fudge Buttercream Frosting

  1. Jennifurla says:

    Oh the frosting looks great, good icing to cupcake ratio!

  2. Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) says:

    Ooo, such gorgeous photos, especially the one with the bite… Makes me wish that was I bite I had taken! I'll be saving this recipe for sure. I'm so tired of using the boxed mix!

  3. rookie cookie says:

    I have been looking for a recipe like this, especially that frosting. It surprises me that the cupcake doesn't collapse under that frosting considering it is made with cake flour. I am for sure going to have to give this a try.

  4. Memória says:

    I don't usually stray from my vanilla/white cake recipe, but the inside of this cupcake has tempted me beyond belief. The frosting looks amazing as well!

  5. steph says:

    those look really good! The cake looks so light and fluffy.

  6. Lisa says:

    i tried this cake recipe! i thought it was ok, but yours look really good and fluffy. i will have to try it again in cupcake form!

  7. ajcabuang04 says:

    These look awesome. I'm still trying to find a really good vanilla cupcake recipe. The ones I've found taste off. I might try this!
    Would you mind checking out my blog? :D

  8. kaitlin says:

    oh MY i need to try these ones.
    i lovee vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. (but…confession, normally i just get the yellow box cake with chocolate frosting storebought. still good?!)

    i'll have to try some real ones.

  9. Melodi says:

    K…so what tip do i need to buy in order to get the beautiful build-up of that frosting on the cupcake? That's what makes me want to eat it…so much is about presentation!

  10. Annalise says:

    Melodi- I got this awesome set of tips as part of my culinary school kit. These tips actually: Atteco Plain Tip 10 Piece Set. And I love them!

  11. Alicia says:

    Saw these on the side of your blog…I just tried chocolate buttercream frosting for the first time on Parker's cake and it was amazing. I'm totally going to try this version!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would love to make this for valentine's day! What kind of chocolate would you recommend?

  13. Jessica says:

    Does this frosting hold up piping work fairly well? A lot of the buttercream frostings that I've tried in the past aren't thick enough or seem to melt too quickly.

  14. Annalise says:


    Yes, this chocolate buttercream has held up really well for me. I haven't had any problems. Hope this helps!

  15. Julie says:

    hey new reader here :) these look amazing, and its my fave cake/frosting combination by far! could you use this frosting on a 2 layer cake instead of a chocolate buttercream or would it be too heavy?

  16. Lucie says:

    Just made cupcakes using this recipe and I Loved them!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe….

    Happy baking!


  17. Jackie says:


    Is there anyway to scale this recipe down to make 12 cupcakes.

    • Annalise says:

      You could cut the recipe in half, though I’m not sure if that’s scaling it down enough for 12 cupcakes.

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