King Arthur Best Birthday Cupcakes are tender, yellow cake cupcakes piped with luscious chocolate buttercream. Sprinkles or not, they're hands down the best birthday cupcakes I've ever baked.
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King Arthur Best Birthday Cupcakes

Servings 28 cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Gluten-Free Measure for Measure King Arthur Flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 large organic eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 7/8 cup natural cocoa powder sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar or more
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups butter softened

Instructions

Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 325°. Baking rack should be in the center of the oven.
  • Line cupcake pans with 28 cupcake liners, foil is preferred.
  • Spoon flour loosely into measuring cup and level off.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl or electric stand mixer bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond extract.
  • Beat batter until thickened and golden in color, for about two minutes at medium high speed with whisk attachment.
  • If you don't have a whisk attachment, beat with paddle mixer attachment or electric hand mixer on medium high for about 5 minutes.
  • Scrape down bottom and sides of bowl and mix again quickly until all is combined.
  • Batter should be thick and yellow and fall in ribbons from the beaters.
  • Add dry ingredients to the batter and fold in by hand or on low mixer speed until just combined.
  • Scrape down bottom and sides and mix again until just combined. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer.
  • Remove milk from heat and gently stir in butter pieces and vegetable oil, until butter is fully melted.
  • Slowly stir hot milk mixture into cake batter by hand or using low speed on an electric mixer.
  • Scrape down bowl sides and bottom and mix again just to combine.
  • Divide the batter equally among 28 cupcake liners. (You will use a scant 1/4 cup batter for each cupcake.)
  • Fill any empty cupcake pan holes with 1 " water to facilitate even baking/pan temperature.
  • Bake in center rack of preheated 325° oven for 25 - 28 minutes. (Check at 25 minutes.)
  • For most even baking, bake one pan at a time.
  • Cupcakes will start to brown on the edges when they are ready.
  • Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.
  • While still hot, gently loosen cupcakes edges from pan with a sharp knife if needed.
  • Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • In large mixing bowl or stand mixer, stir together sifted cocoa powder, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and salt.
  • Stir in hot water and vanilla, scraping bowl afterwards.
  • Add butter and remaining powdered sugar.
  • Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle, beat frosting at medium high speed for 1-2 minutes, stopping halfway through beating to scrape down bottom and sides of bowl.
  • If frosting is the right consistency, decorate cupcakes.
  • If too thick or stiff, beat in more hot water, a teaspoon at a time.
  • If frosting is too thin, beat in more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.