Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I picked this cupcake recipe out of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from it.  I expected them to taste good, but I wasn’t expecting too much because these vanilla cupcakes have such basic, simple ingredients… nothing fancy like fresh vanilla beans or cake flour.  As it turns out, you don’t need all the bells and whistles (i.e. expensive ingredients) to make a delicious vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting.  I’m slightly ashamed to say this, but between the two of us, Eric and I ate all 12 of these cupcakes in just a 3-day period.  I usually have much more self control than that! :)  They really were that good though.  The vanilla cake is fluffy, moist, and has just the right amount of vanilla flavor.  And the frosting is incredible – it’s creamy, chocolaty, fluffy, sweet and rich.  It’s the perfect accompaniment to the vanilla cupcakes.  I can’t wait to make these cupcakes again!

A few notes:

  • This cupcake recipe calls for self-rising flour.  Self-rising flour is flour that contains pre-mixed leavening agents.  You can purchase it from the grocery store, but it is super easy (and probably cheaper) to make at home.  A recipe for self-rising flour is included at the bottom of this post.
  • I used a large round tip to frost the cupcakes.
  • I always store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator.  Before serving them, let them come to room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

Vanilla Cupcakes

(print recipe)


  • 1 ½ cups self-rising flour  (see below for recipe)
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature (I used eggs straight from the fridge)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the self rising flour and all-purpose flour; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth.
  4. Add the sugar gradually and beat for 3 minutes or until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla.
  7. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
  8. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling about 3/4 full.
  9. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean).
  10. Cool the cupcakes in the muffin tin for 15 minutes.  Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Yield: 24 cupcakes (recipe can be halved)

Source: Adapted from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm **
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups sifted powdered (confectioners’) sugar


**Note: There are 2 ways you can melt the chocolate:

  • Place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for 5-10 minutes; stirring occasionally until the chocolate is completely smooth and no pieces remain; remove from heat and let cool 5-15 minutes or until lukewarm.
  • Or you can just melt the chocolate  in the microwave.  To do this, place the chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds.  Then stir the chocolate and continue microwaving in 5-10 second intervals until the chocolate is fully melted.
  1. To make the buttercream: In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter using an electric mixer on MEDIUM speed for about 3 minutes or until creamy.
  2. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth.
  3. Add the melted chocolate and beat well for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes.
  5. Gradually add in the sugar and beat on LOW speed until creamy and of desired consistency.

Yield: Enough frosting to frost 24 cupcakes or a 9-inch two layer cake.

**For icing a 3-layer cake use the following measurements: 2 cups unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons milk, 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 cups sifted powdered sugar.

Source:  The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Self Rising Flour


  • 1 ½  cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

Directions – Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Yield: 1 ½ cups of self-rising flour

Source:  All Recipes


4 Responses to “Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting”

  1. 1 ricekernel May 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    What a lovely site! This looks delectable and I look forward to trying more of the recipes you’ve featured. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 2 kristineskitchen May 7, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    Karen, thank you for sharing this recipe! I made these last night and they turned out great. The vanilla cake has such good flavor and you’re right, the frosting goes perfectly with it.

  3. 3 Kathy May 7, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    These cupcakes look so good! Thanks for posting.
    Thinking of baking today!

  1. 1 Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting « Kristine's Kitchen Trackback on May 18, 2011 at 4:11 AM

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