This moist Yellow Cupcake Recipe with Ganache Frosting makes a perfect treat that’s ideal for a birthday party or potluck dessert.

When my husband requested yellow cake for his birthday, I made mini versions AKA Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting.

3 yellow cupcakes with chocolate ganache frosting on a white ceramic tray.

Why You’ll Love These

  • Cupcakes from scratch are way better than a box mix!
  • These bake up super moist and tender.
  • If you love a deep chocolate-flavored frosting, you’ll love the swirl of chocolate ganache atop each cupcake!
2 yellow cupcakes on a white plate with a red handled fork.

How to Make

The process to make a yellow cake is much like other cakes baked from scratch. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Prep your pans (cupcake or muffin tin in this recipe) and preheat the oven.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time. Let each incorporate before adding the next.
  3. Add any flavorings or wet ingredients like sour cream, buttermilk, etc.
  4. Whisk together or sift the dry ingredients. This ensures the salt, baking soda, and baking powder are well distributed.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients on low speed, scraping the bowl as needed to make sure the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Scrape into cake pans or scoop into cupcake tins and bake as directed.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure you have all ingredients needed before you start the recipe. Note that you will need cake flour, sour cream, and fresh baking powder for the cupcakes and semisweet chocolate and heavy cream for the frosting.
  • PRO-Tip: For the best incorporation of ingredients, have the eggs and sour cream at room temperature. Set them out on the counter 1-2 hours before you plan to mix the batter. I often put the eggs in a bowl of very hot (not boiling) water to hurry the process along.
  • PRO-Tip: If you don’t have cake flour, you can make it from all-purpose flour and cornstarch. For each cup of cake flour needed, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons. Add the flour to a bowl and whisk with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. This mixture will replace one cup of cake flour as the cornstarch will decrease the gluten amount in the AP flour and make it behave like cake flour.
  • PRO-Tip: Check the expiration of your baking powder. If you do not do a lot of baking, your baking powder is apt to expire before you use it all. Check its freshness by putting a spoonful in a cup of hot water. If the baking powder is fresh, it will bubble vigorously. If not, replace it before making this recipe.
  • Use real butter for your cake, never margarine since butter provides wonderful flavor. I use salted butter and adjust the amount of salt in my recipes. Feel free to use unsalted butter if that’s what you have on hand but you may want to add a touch more salt.
  • If you like the flavor of almond extract, add ½-1 teaspoon to the batter along with the real vanilla extract.
  • Plus, always use real vanilla extract. If the label says artificially flavored, the results won’t be nearly as tasty.
  • Fill each slot in your tin about 2/3 full. More than that and the cupcakes will not bake properly and may overflow onto the top of the tin.
  • These were for my husband’s birthday and he loves chocolate, so I made a deep chocolate frosting from chocolate ganache, basically melted semisweet chocolate and cream. If a sweeter frosting is desired, use a chocolate buttercream frosting instead, made with butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, etc.
  • I’m not a pro at piping frosting, so using a malted milk ball or another garnish can help camouflage any imperfections. I used a large open star tip to pipe on this frosting. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a Yellow Cake Taste Like a Yellow Cake?

Using whole eggs provides a custardy flavor along with giving a yellow cake its iconic color. Plus, vanilla extract adds a boost of flavor.

Is a Yellow Cake Just a Vanilla Cake?

Both white and yellow cakes are vanilla cakes, meaning cakes primarily flavored with vanilla extract. The eggs are what differentiates a white cake from a yellow cake, since white cakes don’t add the yolks so they remain white. 

You May Also Like:

Stay in touch through social media @ InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. Don’t forget to tag me when you try one of my recipes! And if you love the results, please give it a 5-star rating in the recipe card.

2 frosted yelllow cupcakes on a white dessert plate

Yellow Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting Recipe

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield 24

Moist, tender yellow cupcakes with a swirl of chocolate ganache frosting. A classic pairing that everyone goes crazy for!


For Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For Frosting:

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
  3. Lower the speed and add the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat until well incorporated.
  5. Sift together the dry ingredients, add to the mixer and mix on low speed until just combined.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula, making sure all the flour is incorporated.
  7. Scoop about a ¼ cup of batter into each slot of your tins. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the tins on wire racks, then remove the cupcakes when they come to room temperature.
  9. Make the frosting by placing the chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl.
  10. Bring the cream to a simmer in the microwave or on the stovetop. When hot, pour over the chocolate.
  11. Once the chocolate is soft, add in the butter and whisk the mixture together until smooth.
  12. Cool the frosting until it's thick enough to spread or pipe on your cupcakes. Time will vary depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  13. Frost and garnish your cupcakes as desired.


You MUST check the expiration date on your baking powder. Baking soda lasts a long time, but baking powder will usually expire before you use it all up.

Cupcakes adapted from I Am Baker, Frosting adapted from Ghirardelli.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 176mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest