Baker Bettie

Classic White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Learn how to make perfect classic white cupcakes with the most silky smooth buttercream. Leave pure white or top with pretty sprinkles! 

White Cupcakes topped with white buttercream and colorful sprinkles

I made these cupcakes as some kind of peace offering. Both to myself and to cupcakes. It was an attempt to reconcile our differences and mend our relationship.

Let me back up for a minute.

If you’ve followed Baker Bettie for some time, it is no secret that cupcakes aren’t exactly my thing. That may be putting it a bit too nicely, but I really don’t want to offend the cupcake lovers out there. Because I know there are a lot of you. And we can still be friends, right?

So I’m not going to get into all the intricate details about why cupcakes and I have our differences and why I’m like the only baker on the planet that just can’t get on this wagon. And how it mostly has to do with cupcake to frosting ratios and all that. It is beside the point.

The point here is that I want to be a great baker. That is my goal. And cake is a big part of that. We talked about this a little with my fluffy yellow cake recipe. How I’m trying to push myself to embrace all techniques in baking. And just because I don’t love cake or frosting doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to make a great cake and great frosting. So I’m working on it.

Hand holding a white cupcakes topped with white buttercream and colorful sprinkles

Ok, can we just pause and appreciate sprinkles for a moment please? Why the heck did it take me this long to understand the joy of sprinkles?

I used them for the first time 3 months ago, and I get it now. I totally get it. It was like I subconsciously was trying to be more sophisticated than sprinkles. But the lesson here is that, NOBODY is too sophisticated for sprinkles! Lesson learned.

I posted on instagram the other day that I felt like I should name this post: “I really don’t like cupcakes but you probably do and everyone who tried them loved them so you should make them even though I can’t personally vouch for how good they are.”

But it isn’t really true. Because I can tell you how good they are. They are good enough that I ate a whole cupcake. That is saying a lot! And my husband ate like 25 of them so… You do the math. (By the way, side note, I use instagram now! Welcome to 2010 Kristin! Check me out if you love pictures of food and cute kittes. Yes, I am a crazy cat lady.)

White Cupcakes topped with white buttercream and colorful sprinkles, some on a cake stand

The one kind of cake that I sometimes will eat is wedding cake. A really good and moist white cake with hint of almond extract. So that’s what I went for here. We’re using basically the exact same recipe and technique as the yellow cake recipe. The only difference here is swapping out the egg yolks for more whites and adding a bit of almond extract.

I also have been wanting to try this flour buttercream that I hear people talk about a lot. Many have claimed that it is the best buttercream they have ever tasted. And it was for me too! Though, I still can’t say I am a frosting fan.

You make it by cooking milk, flour and sugar together until thick then you beat in the butter. It is crazy silky smooth in texture. The flour buttercream doesn’t hold it’s shape quite as well as other buttercreams when piped but I’m ok with that. I think the slouchy piping looks adorable.

The cupcakes turned out really fluffy and moist. That’s because of the meringue you fold in. Remember from the yellow cake?!  And they have that slight hint of wedding cake flavor because of the almond extract. You can definitely leave that out if you don’t like it. Paired with the flour buttercream, they were irresistible to those cupcake lovers I gave them too!

White Cupcakes topped with white buttercream on a cake stand

White Cupcakes topped with white buttercream and colorful sprinkles

Classic White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 24 Cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Make these perfect classic white cupcakes with the most silky smooth flour buttercream. Leave pure white or top with pretty sprinkles! 


For the Cupcakes

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup milk

For the Frosting

  • 3 sticks (340 gr) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5-6 cups (570-680 gr) powdered, icing, or confectioners sugar
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 3-5 tbsp milk or heavy cream


For the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium/high speed until light and fluffy. About 4 minutes.
  4. Turn the mixer speed down to medium/low and add the vanilla. Then slowly add in the egg whites.
  5. Add the flour mixture into the mixing bowl in 3 additions alternating with the milk in two additions. Start with adding about 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Next add in about 1/2 of the milk and mix until just combined. Now add another 1/3 of the dry, followed by the rest of the milk, and ending with the rest of the dry ingredients.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 the way full and bake at 350 F for about 18-22 minutes. You will know the cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cupcakes completely on cooling racks before frosting.

For the Buttercream

  1. If you want a traditional smooth texture for your buttercream, fit your stand mixer with a paddle attachment. If you want a lighter more whipped texture, fit your mixer with a whisk attachment. Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer.
  2. Place your room temperature butter in your mixing bowl and beat on high for about 1 minute, until fluffy. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. Gradually add 5 cups of the powdered sugar into the mixing bowl and start mixing on low until the sugar starts to combine with the butter. Turn the mixing speed up to high and beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and the milk.
  4. Taste the buttercream and decide if you would like it sweeter.
  5. If you are using your whisk attachment and want a more whipped texture, turn the mixer back on high and whip the buttercream for 3-4 more minutes.

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31 comments on “Classic White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting”

  1. I wish I could say I'm sorry you don't like cupcakes. But I'm not- that means more for me! 🙂

  2. You don’t like cake because of the frosting to cake ratio? If it’s because there’s always too much frosting per cupcake, I can totally relate. But I still consider myself a cupcake-liker. I just scrape off a lot of the frosting before eating. 😀

    • The frosting is part of it. And cupcakes are supposed to be portable, but if I’m trying to scrape the frosting off it sort of defeats the purpose. It is also difficult to find cake that isn’t dry or tough or dense. I have had a lot of bad cake. Sure I have also had good cake, but bad cake seems to be much more frequent!

  3. I understand. I have a love/hate thing going on with anything made with yeast. 😉 Your cupcakes are gorgeous. And I'm with you on being a crazy cat lady!

  4. I think you nailed it with this recipe. I’m loving that fluffy buttercream.

  5. Trade you cupcakes for cookies?!

  6. Because you don't like the flavor of yeast? That is one of my favorite smells and flavors! And thank you! My cake/cupcake decorating skills need some work!

  7. Deal! 🙂 I got a reply from BakerBettie- blog groupie swoon! 🙂

  8. LOL! Baker Bettie groupie… You crack me up!

  9. These cupcakes look so cute!

    If you want to enjoy the cream and cupcake together, slice the cake in half and place the bottom on the top of the cream top make a cupcake sandwich! Saw this on A YouTube video!

    About sprinklers, when I was a kid they had those thin stick sprinkles. I liked them cause they were pretty and tasty but not too sugary. I don’t like today’s modernized sprinklers which taste like way too much sugar…

    Love your site! And the layout is adorable!

  10. Agree cupcakes are difficult to master, a fine line between being dry & tough or under cooked, I’m sure you’ve mastered the art of the cupcake, so I shall try them once again…
    In all my years of baking, I’ve never tried this icing, I’m pleased you’ve posted recipe, I would normally use butter-cream icing, so will attempt this instead.
    Years ago, in school I think this was known as ‘mock cream’, if I remember correctly…
    I shall let you know on my results, test it out on my other half, he eats cake as fast as I make it!
    Have you a good recipe for a pound cake that incorporates ground almonds please?
    I usually make my own up using, same weight of butter, sugar, eggs, then adding 1/3rd of ground almonds in place of self raising flour, often more ground almonds as we like the flavor & texture of the almonds. This works well, better after keeping as the oil tends to come out of the almonds giving a moister cake, as it can be dry at first…
    For now I will use your recipe & method for ‘yellow cake’, this should lighted cake, then add ground almonds in place of part of the flour, will also try using baking powder & baking soda rather than commercial S.R. flour, I think this method that you use, should give me a much lighter cake.
    Many thanks, Odelle Smith.

  11. Can I make this frosting a day ahead along with the cupcakes, store it in the fridge, and then frost them right before the event?

  12. BB – Thank you for sharing!! Is this the same recipe you’d use for regular white cake (not cupcakes)? I know it’s odd, but some recipes don’t translate well from cake to cuppies and vice versa… Your thoughts? Thanks!

  13. I’d like to make a cake with this mixture, specifically a 4 tier wedding cake. Any idea of how it would hold up?

  14. Just tried these and they turned out perfectly! Was wondering if you have ever substituted sour cream for the buttermilk – thoughts?

  15. If you use half a cup of shortening and half a cup of butter (instead of the full cup of butter) the frosting will be stiffer so you can more easily pipe and the design will hold better. I personally like all butter buttercream but when I am making cakes/cupcakes for guests I like to make them a little fancier! Great cake recipe. Have you heard of Liz Prueitt at Tartine Bakery? She has wonderful recipes, check her out!

  16. Can’t you use heavy cream and gelatine to get the frosting to hold its form better?

  17. The cupcakes are good. The icing, not so good. I didn’t like the fact that it takes like too much butter was used. I followed the recipe and it didn’t turn out as planned. Too smooth to pipe onto cupcakes too. But, I think the cupcake recipe would be great as a cake too!

  18. Love these cupcakes. I’ve been looking for a long time for the perfect white cake recipe, and this is it. I’ve made them several times and every time I get asked how I made them, because they are so good. A little more labor intensive than some recipes, but worth the extra steps. I’ll admit, I haven’t tried the frosting – but that’s because I have a butter cream recipe I use. However I might try it because my recipe uses way more butter – so this might be better 🙂

  19. can you use regular milk instead of buttermilk?

  20. The cupcakes tasted amazing but didn’t really turn out as white as in the photo. I’m not sure what went wrong. I followed the recipe.

  21. I totally relate to not liking cupcakes. My mouth is small and I can never bite it the correct way to get frosting with cake. They are to tap. Then they started making minis. Problem solved, but for you big mouths (ha ha ( that like regular sized cupcakes and want the frosting/cake ratio to work better for you– split the cake part in half and put it on top of the frosting like a sandwich. My 7 year old taught me that.

  22. My icing looks like pudding. Where did I go wrong?

    • Hi Samira! The first step of cooking the flour, milk, and sugar actually is about the same process as making a pudding so it actually should look like pudding at that point. After that, you really want to be sure that you beat it long enough for it to really cool down to room temperature before you start adding the butter. Add in the butter just a little bit at a time while the mixer is still running. When 1 piece of butter is completely incorporated, then you can add the next. I hope this helps!

  23. How many grams is one cup?☺

  24. amazing

  25. I thought this was supposed to be a recipe for flour buttercream. The cooked flour base is not mentioned. 

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