Best Birthday Cupcakes with Fudge Filling

16 Oct

First, I have to apologize for my lack of posts last week. But I have GREAT news to share… I started a new job last week! It’s my first job since our relocation and I’m super excited about this opportunity.

I promise these cupcakes will more than make up for my absence!:)

Our neighbor recently celebrated a birthday and I wanted to make something special.  The birthday “boy” requested his favorite treat: Duncan Hines Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Since I don’t do boxed mixes (especially not for special occasions), I went on the hunt for the perfect replacement. These cupcakes truly are the best birthday cupcakes ever! I filled the cupcakes to make them extra special.

The instant fudge frosting is a winner too. It’s not too sweet because of the unsweetened chocolate and is easily whipped up in a food processor.

Best Yellow Cupcakes

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 24 to 30 cupcakes


  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (*I used 1 tsp. dark vanilla extract & 1 tsp. butter vanilla emulsion)
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake tins with baking cups.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl at medium speed until pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Beat in vanilla extract.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.

Beat in buttermilk at low speed, until just combined. Note: the mixture will look curdled (see below picture).

Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just combined.

Pour batter into cupcake tins, filling 3/4 cup full. If there are air bubbles, rap tins on counter several times.


Isn’t my batter scoop the cutest?:)



Reduce oven to 325°F. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean, about 23-25 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely.

Instant Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Sky High

Makes about 5 cups (plenty to fill and frost 30 cupcakes with some leftover)


  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Melt the unsweetened chocolate in advance so it has time to cool. (I placed it in the fridge to help the cooling process.)

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Then process until the frosting is smooth.

Filling the cupcakes:

Use a pairing knife or an apple corer to cut out a small round piece of cake. Cut the tip of the cake “cone” that you just removed. Then use a pastry bag (or cut a small corner of a Ziploc bag) to fill the cupcake. Replace the piece of cake back over the filling. Frost the cupcake per usual.

See instructional pictures below and visit Annie’s Eats for more details.

Question: How do you like to celebrate special occasions?

4 Responses to “Best Birthday Cupcakes with Fudge Filling”

  1. Sweet and Savvy October 16, 2011 at 5:39 PM #

    Congrats on the new job!! That is SO exciting:)

    And those cupcakes look perfect!

    • loftybites October 16, 2011 at 6:32 PM #

      Thank you! I am very excited… back to the real world!

  2. Sarah Conway October 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM #

    HOLY COW lets make these for our birthdays!!! They look amazing Leah!

  3. Bake Your Day October 17, 2011 at 10:26 AM #

    That does look like a perfect yellow cake and I’m drooling over the frosting. Congrats on your new job too!

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