My Favorite Yellow cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks or 169g) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar

  • 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp. almond extract

  • 1 ¼ cups (285 g) sour cream, room temperature

  • 2 ½ cups (312g) cake flour

  • 1-3/4 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • ½ tsp. salt

  1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F convection (see notes). Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.

  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. at least 2 times.

  4. With mixer off, add the vanilla, almond extract, and sour cream. Turn mixer on low until incorporated then high for about 1 minute.

  5. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture slowly until incorporated. Do not overmix, it is okay for some lumps to remain at this point.

  6. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides of the bowl.

  7. Turn mixer on low, add and add the eggs 1 at a time, allowing them to incorporate before adding next.

  8. Remove mixer bowl and stir batter together to ensure all flour and eggs are completely incorporated. I do this by hand to ensure nothing is overmixed.

  9. Scoop batter into cupcake liners using an ice cream scoop or measuring cup. Fill liners about half full.

  10. Bake for 5-10 minutes on convection. Then turn off convection and bake another 5-12 minutes or until cupcake springs back when pressed in the center. Total baking time should be about 17 minutes.

  11. Allow to cool completely then frost with your favorite icing or try the chocolate buttercream.

Note: This recipe, like all of my cake recipes, has been modified for high altitude by reducing the baking powder by ¼ teaspoon and preheating the oven temperature from 350 °F to 375 °F convection. After 5-10 minutes, turn off the convection and bake on the regular setting for the remainder of the time. If you don’t have a convection oven, be sure you fully preheat the oven then bake at 375 °F.

Additional modifications to all of my baked goods are the order in which I add the ingredients.

  • First combine the fat with the sugar. This takes longer with butter than with oil. Make sure the sugar is fully incorporated.

  • Next add any liquid ingredients (sour cream, milk, water, extracts, etc.)

  • Add dry ingredients just until combined. Over-mixing dry ingredients develops the gluten and results in a tough texture.

  • Last, add the eggs. Many recipes have you add the eggs up front and whip them into submission. Over-mixing the eggs like this introduces excess air that escapes during baking - this is cake death at altitude.

If you have problems with sinking cupcakes even at low altitudes, try these adjustments. I have gotten comfortable enough with standard adjustments that I am having success with nearly all of the recipes I try.