Yellow Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Baking makes me so happy. I sometimes daydream of what it would be like if I could throw caution to the wind, travel the world, learn how to bake from the most talented bakers on the planet, and turn baking into a career. But then I drift back to reality and make peace with the fact that I am where I am supposed to be.

Hobbies are hobbies because they are a mental vacation from the everyday stress of life. I heard a segment on NPR a few months ago about people who turned their favorite pastimes into a career. Unfortunately, the theme of the story seemed to be that when a hobby turns into work, it…well… becomes work. The enjoyment of it often lessens. I would be so sad if I could not longer take comfort in the fact that, even after the most draining days, my battle-tested Kitchen Aid is always waiting for me on our kitchen counter, with no consequences or strings attached.

When I bake, things don’t always turn out as I’d hoped or imagined. But the satisfaction from creating something from scratch with my own hands is worth every second of time I spend. I bake for myself, I bake to show my love for family and friends, and I bake because it’s just plain fun. And that’s what a hobby should always be about. :)

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-3.5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee

Directions

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Add in the vanilla. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure proper mixing.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, alternately add in the flour and milk. Mix just until combined.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake tins evenly (I prefer to use a 2 inch ice cream scoop).

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.

For the frosting:

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and mix well.

Gradually add in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar until combined. The mixture will be dry. Add in the milk and coffee. Mix well until smooth and shiny.

Pipe the frosting on cooled cupcakes (I used a 1M Wilton tip).

Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze for 2 weeks.

Source: Cupcakes- Martha Stewart, Frosting- Lolly’s Sweet & Savory Treats