DC Cupcake’s Vanilla Cupcakes w/Vanilla Buttercream

I was watching Live with Kelly (it’s so hard for me not to say Regis & Kelly!) on the DVR last week and I got SUPER excited when I saw Sophie and Katherine from the TLC show, DC Cupcakes.  That is one my favorite shows and I just love the dynamic between the two sisters.  I’ve haven’t gotten the chance to try one of their cupcakes in person, but when Kelly announced the recipe would be on the Live with Kelly website, I immediately jumped up and went to the computer to print it out.  The next morning I actually woke up thinking about those cupcakes and what I should mix in them, so I knew I had to make them right away.  The suspense of what they tasted like was killing me!

They listed several options for mix-ins, but I decided on mini chocolate chips, which worked beautifully.  The cake was more dense than I expected.  It had almost a pound cake like quality but a bit lighter.  I really enjoyed it though.  But the star of the show was definitely the Buttercream frosting.  I could’ve eaten that with a big spatula right out of the mixer.  It was so light and fluffy and not coarse and sugary.  It is definitely going to be my new go-to buttercream frosting.  It was simply AMAZING!!!  Definitely make the frosting and the cupcakes were good too.  Oh and I halved the recipe below and got 12 cupcakes. I will say I think next time I will fill the tins a little bit more and just do 10 or 11 cupcakes (or 22-23 for the full recipe) so they puff up a little bigger.

DC Cupcake’s Vanilla Cupcakes with Amazing Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Source: Georgetown Cupcake via Live with Kelly

For the Cake:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder*
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Frosting:
16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners, set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated.

Reduce mixer speed to low and pour in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/3 of the milk mixture, mixing until combined.  Then add another 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/3 milk mixture.  Add remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk mixture, beating until just incorporated.

Remove bowl from stand and stir in chocolate chips (start with 1/2 cup and add more if desired).

Spoon batter into cupcake tins using a large cookie scoop, filling about 2/3 full or a little more if you want them to puff up more.  I would recommend just making 22-23 cupcakes so the cupcakes are a bit taller in size.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool in the pans on a wire rack.

*One reader tried this with 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder and said it helped the consistency tremendously.

For the Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Beat for several minutes until creamy.  Add in milk, vanilla & salt and continue to beat until frosting is light and fluffy and spreadable consistency.  Spread icing on top of cooled cupcakes, or place in ziploc bag and cut the tip off and pipe onto cupcakes.

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  1. These look good! My mother in law got me their Cupcake Diaries book for Christmas, and every cupcake in the book looks so good. 🙂

  2. Pretty! Did you like the frosting? Seems like a lot of butter for just a batch. I’m still trying to find a yummy go to frosting.

    • The frosting was absolutely amazing. It’s my new go to buttercream. I was surprised at how light and fluffy it was and not gritty or sugary despite not having much milk. This recipe is for 22 to 24 cupcakes but I halved it.

  3. I think I’m most excited about that buttercream frosting! I have yet to find one that I really love. Maybe this will be the one 🙂

  4. Ashley Lanz says:

    I made these last night. I did not have any mini choc. chips so I chopped upped some Reese’s into the batter. Then with the buttercream (which is AMAZING) I put a few spoon fulls if peanut butter in….then topped frosted cupckaes with more choppped Reese’s. House smelled awesome,cupcakes tasted even better.

    • So glad you liked them and excited to know that reese’s worked great! I thought about doing that but went with the choc chips instead. And excited to try peanut butter in the frosting too! Thanks for letting me know that worked great!:)

  5. Oh my… you have officially inspired me to bake cupcakes! I’m trying to avoid a lot of chocolate so it won’t trigger migraines and these look perfect! I don’t think I’ll miss chocolate at all! 🙂

  6. I love the swirl-shaped creamy tops of the cupcakes. So lovely.

  7. Ashley Lanz says:

    Starting to experiment with this recipe. I am making a cake this time, with a hint of coffee and mixed in heath bar pieces…I’ll let you know how it turns out

    • That sounds fantastic! I’m intersted to see how it does as a whole cake. Let me know how it turns out!

      • Ashley Lanz says:

        Cake looked great. Taste was great. I didn’t have enough butter to make the buttercream so I just used cool-whip. I didn’t taste the coffee liked I had hoped so that is something to figure out. I still like the Reese’s cupcake better. Both the cake and frosting recipe are great. Thank you so much for posting. I am new, loyal follower 🙂

      • i am about to make them so exited love your show

      • Hi!if I use this receipe as a cake, what inch pan would it fill?

  8. Just a quick question…. The recipe calls for baking powder, but the instructions read baking soda. Not sure which to use, but just cause it makes sence, I’m gonna use the powder. Just curious!

  9. I made a half batch of these cupcakes and they were delish! Thanks for posting the recipe! Thank you for your prayers, too, you are always so sweet. 🙂

  10. When I made my batter, it was REALLY thick. Is it supposed to be like that? I just made these cupcakes (without the frosting) but in the inside of the cupcakes, it was sort of spongy like(but it tasted SO GOOD with the chocolate chips). Is that normal or did I do something wrong? :/ Also, my cupcakes didn’t turn brown but it still had a crust on it. Is that normal? But it was cooked perfectly though :)) thanks for the recipe! 😀

    • The batter is pretty thick and the cake consistency is more like a pound cake. And as long as they are cooked through its totally fine of they weren’t super golden. Glad you enjoyed them!

  11. The frosting looks amazing! I could eat my weight in it!
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  12. I just made a batch of these, I expected them to taste almost the same as the vanilla ones I had at the Boston DC Cupcake store but I don’t know why, I was super disappointed with my batch… The initial cupcake was alright, but the frosting wasn’t very good 🙁 I am an avid baker, but I’m not sure about these

    • Victoria, I’m sorry you were disappointed with the results of these. I’ve made the frosting multiple times and its my very favorite. Hope it turns out better next time if you try it again!:)

  13. Hi, I am hoping to make these later this week and was wondering for the buttercream should the butter be softened or melted…? Any other tips for making this buttercream would be much appreciated! Thanks Monique 🙂

    • It should be room temp, so slightly softened. If you dont have time to let the butter set out, take it straight from the fridge and microwave it in 5 sec increments until its slightly soft but not melted. I usually microwave it for 10 to 12 seconds total. Hope that helps!

  14. Will this recipe work without a stand mixer, and just a hand one ?

  15. Nycola Hillis says:

    Please help! I am in Ireland & I really like the look of this recipe but I work with weighing everything in grams and I have looked everywhere online to see “how much is in a cup”??? I can’t find the answer anywhere – is there any possibility that you could give me this recipe with grams for the amounts?

    Thank you!

  16. Hi! Is this all purpose flour or cake flour? My husband is in search of the perfect cupcake. He said he wants one with a pound cake texture. His birthday is tomorrow so I wanted to try this one! Thanks

  17. It would be more helpful if you were clearer on the directions. I tried making them today and when the recipe said that the butter was supposed to be room temperature, I thought it was just supposed to be not cold, when it was actually supposed to be softened. I had a lot of trouble at the butter/sugar/egg stage. But now that I know where I went wrong, I will try to make them again soon, since they really do look delicious. Thanks for the blog post!

    • I’m so sorry that the directions weren’t clear. To me, room temperature is when the butter has warmed and is soft enough to mix in easily. I’m normally not patient enough to wait for the butter to come to room temperature on it’s own so I’ll stick it in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Hope that helps! 🙂

  18. If any recipe says room temp for butter, that means softened. If you leave butter on the counter for several hours it softens. If you mix in cold butter it stays in chunks. Its not hard. The directions were plenty clear.

  19. Cheryl Sammons says:

    I love your recipes so much. My oldest daughter’s birthday is January 16th. She will be 39. She is an excellent cook and it’s hard to make her something that she hasn’t tried already. (To either eat or bake.) I’m going to experiment tomorrow and Friday to try to get together a cake that she would be awed by the sight and taste. You have given me the inspiration to ‘get er done’. I have 2 others in the house who have sweet tooths to taste test my inventions. I’ll let you know what I try and the final result. Have a wonderful New Year!

  20. …..just a tip….you can replace half the butter with cream cheese! I used this frosting recipe last night and it was great! For my cupcakes I used a store bought cake mix and replaced the water with white chocolate syrup, and also replaced the oil with melted butter (that’s where the butter is!). So good!

  21. Thanks, I love DC Cupcakes show…..just a tip….you can replace half the butter with cream cheese! I used this frosting recipe last night and it was great! For my cupcakes I used a store bought cake mix and replaced the water with white chocolate syrup, and also replaced the oil with melted butter (that’s where the butter is!). So good!

  22. Mollie Straub says:

    This recipe makes very heavy, bland cupcakes. Why can’t I find a recipe for white or yellow cake that is not dense?

  23. Jauhara says:

    I Love It 😀

  24. Courtney says:

    Is this using all purpose flour? or cake flour? do I have to sift?

    I’ve been looking for their frosting recipe for FOREVER! It’s my favorite! I hope this tastes just like it!

  25. Any changes for high altitude? We are at 4200 ft.

  26. silly cheesecake says:

    about to make these

  27. Great info. Lucky me I found your website by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have book-marked it for later!
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  28. kylee robinson says:

    Hi there! In a long week of experimenting and trying to find the perfect vanilla cupcake…this is def, finally it!! Moist, fluffy….but only one thing I wanted to mention…..After finding it out the hard way, there is a typo on the baking powder….I think its supposed to be 2 1/2 tsp and it currently reads 1/2 tsp. They were perfect when I made a half batch and used 1 1/4 tsp BP 🙂 Thanks!!!

    • So glad you enjoyed these! I will have to try them with your baking powder change. I checked the original recipe and it says 1/2 tsp, but maybe they made a typo. Thanks so much for sharing your tips!:)

      • kylee robinson says:

        Yes, I saw the original and when I googled BP ratios I had to conclude they made a typo lol Another small thing I did was substitute about half a cup of the milk for coconut milk (just because I happened to have some on hand) and it turned out so moist! Anyway, thanks again, do you know how hard it was to find a good recipe??? LOL

  29. hi! since you halfed the cupcake recipe just to yield 12 cupcakes instead of 24 do u mind sharing the measurements with me because I want to make some for my cousins bday! thanks:)

    • Hi Kim! I hope your cousin enjoys the cupcakes! Here are the ingredients halved:
      1 1/4 cups flour; 1/4 tsp. baking soda; 1/8 tsp salt; 1/2 stick butter; 3/4 cup plus 1/8 cup sugar; 1 egg, 1 1/8 tsp. vanilla; 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup milk; 1/4 to 1/2 cup choc chips

      Frosting: 1 stick butter; 2 cups conf. sugar; 1/2 tsp. milk; 1/2 tsp. vanilla, pinch salt

  30. natali McKee says:

    I found their recipe but yours is missing 2 large egg yolks in addition to the 2 you have listed. Maybe that would make it lighter. Worth a try.

  31. Hi, for the milk, is it just regular milk? i’m a beginner and i’ll be trying this tomorrow and it’s my first ever baking masterpiece (hopefully it comes out great tom!) thanks for a reply! 😀

  32. I used gluten-free flour, lactose-free milk, and flax eggs and these cupcakes are moist and delicious! Oh, and I used 2.5 tsp of baking powder. thank you!


  34. I tried these and the frosting was veer good. My cupcakes tasted a lot like raw flour. Any suggestions? I typically have this problem when i bake.

    • Glad you enjoyed the frosting! I’m sorry about the cupcakes, you may need to mix the batter a little more and make sure you can’t see any flour, but just mix it until no flour can be seen and is incorporated into the batter. Hope that helps!

  35. For the frosting can I use regular white sugar instead of confections sugar?

  36. This is my second year making this icing for my daughter’s birthday parties. I get rave reviews every year! I am thankful it’s so easy to make. I do have one question, if you make this icing a day or two before, can you refrigerate it or freeze it so that it doesn’t turn hard? Sometimes the day of the party gets too hectic and I always wished i had it made beforehand! Thanks!

    • I’m so glad you enjoy the icing Emily! I’ve not tried making it ahead of time & refrigerating or freezing it but I would think that it should work just fine. Hope your daughter’s birthday party goes great!

  37. hi there
    Wondering if you could help?

    I tried this recipe twice but both times they tasted very floury. I did not change anything except reduce the sugar..

    also.. was wondering if the amount of sugar is a lot relative to the amount of butter used…?

    • I’m so sorry about that! Make sure all the flour is thoroughly mixed into the batter, also try using the 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder instead of just the 1/2 tsp. I had a reader do that with great results. This does have a bit of a denser consistency (like a pound cake) hope that helps!

  38. My friend gave me this recipe for special occasion cupcakes and I love it! However! I would love to know if you were able to add cocoa to make it chocolate cupcake from this recipe…just curious!

  39. I was really looking Forward to this recipe. SOmething is off — the butter and sugar did Not cream as usual. My batter was just the right consistency but the final result was a bland and doughy tasting cupcake. I think the ingredients are off. I am going to share with a fridnd with a chemistry degree to see what was mIssing.

    • I’m sorry it didn’t turn out great for you, maybe the butter needed to soften a little more? I’ve had that happen to me before. Also, try 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder instead of the 1/2 tsp. Hope that helps!