Of all the childhood nostalgia-inducing cake flavors out there, yellow cake has to be pretty high up on the list, right?  (Maybe second to funfetti?)  Oddly enough, I don’t recall it making many, if any, appearances at our family birthday celebrations.  I always chose strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting and my Dad and brothers would go for German chocolate.  And yet these days, yellow cake with chocolate frosting is inexplicably one of the combos that makes me feel most like a kid again.  Possibly because of the non-optional sprinkles…

Every cake is better when made from scratch and yellow cake is no exception.  Over the past few years, I’ve tried out quite a few yellow cupcake recipes to determine which was the best.  After much deliberation, this is the one, my friends.  As with so many of my favorite baked goods, the sour cream in the cake batter lends a tender crumb and nice height to this cupcake.  Paired with my absolute favorite chocolate frosting ever, it’s the classic birthday combo I wish I had learned to love sooner!

  • Yield 24 cupcakes


3 cups (15 oz.) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups (14 oz.) granulated sugar
1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs plus 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

  • 02

    Blend in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, blend together the sour cream and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing each addition just until incorporated.

  • 03

    Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake until the cupcakes are just set and pale golden, about 20-22 minutes.  Let cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, frost as desired.