One bowl, a handful of on-hand ingredients, and a whisk are all you’ll need to whip up the batter for these lovely vanilla-scented cupcakes. Even better, they bake up in the time it takes to clean up – 15 minutes. Serve them straight up or smeared with the satiny-smooth milk chocolate frosting. You can decorate them further for a special occasion like Halloween or Easter.

This recipe is the first in our new series on Cook the Vineyard called Baking Together. I look forward to hearing from you about your experiences with this and every recipe. What did you and your family think of the recipe? Tell us if you did anything differently. Did you bake it as a one-layer cake instead of cupcakes? (P.S. An 8” x 2” round is ideal and it bakes up in about 28 minutes.) Did you add lemon or orange zest or maybe you added nuts or sprinkles to the batter? That sounds like fun, so please tell us how much you added so we can try too. Did you decorate them? We want to know! Give us the scoop in the comments section below and we will all learn from each other here on Cook the Vineyard.

Makes 12 servings

For the cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups (5 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 yolk from a large egg, at room temperature
  • 2  1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


For the frosting

  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 tablespoon milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. table salt
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, melted


Make the cupcakes

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper or foil liners.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended.

3. Measure the milk into a glass measure or bowl, add the egg, egg yolk, and the vanilla and, using a fork, mix until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and add the melted butter. Whisk until blended and almost completely smooth, about 15 seconds.

4. Portion the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Move to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan, set them on a rack, and let cool completely.

Make the frosting and top the cupcakes

1. Put the butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla and salt a in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters). Beat on medium speed until well blended and smooth, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the melted milk chocolate and beat until well blended and fluffy, about 1 minute.

3. Cover the frosting and set aside at room temperature until the cupcakes are completely cool and ready to be frosted.

4. Top the cupcakes with an equal amount of the frosting. Using a small offset spatula or the back of a teaspoon, spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Serve immediately or cover very loosely and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Abigail Johnson Dodge

We'd love your feedback on this "Baking Together" recipe. Leave your notes in the comments section below!