Easy and Moist Birthday Cake Cupcakes are worthy of any celebration. They begin with fluffy vanilla cupcakes mixed with colorful sprinkles and topped with dreamy chocolate buttercream.
As a busy mom of three, I have made my fair share of homemade cupcakes for parties, and these easy and moist birthday cake cupcakes are always a winner! When it comes to kids’ parties, adding sprinkles to cupcakes is a no-brainer. They’re fun, festive, and even nostalgic for the adults!
Funfetti in any version is a hit, whether it's stuffed buttercream cookies, birthday cake, or soft and chewy blondies. But when it comes to birthday celebrations, cupcakes are easy to transport and serve.
It can seem easier to use a cake mix, but these moist and fluffy bakery-style cupcakes are easy to make from scratch and are topped with delicious chocolate buttercream. You don’t need a special celebration to enjoy these cupcakes. They're a perfect weeknight treat!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Moist and fluffy cupcakes. Buttermilk and egg whites contribute to creating an ideal cupcake consistency. And chocolate buttercream adds the perfect fluffy final touch.
- Versatile vanilla cupcake. Birthday cake cupcakes begin with a delicious vanilla cupcake base recipe. Want to change out the sprinkles? You can easily add your favorite toppings like mini chocolate chips or Oreos.
- Simple baking ingredients. If you are a home baker, you likely have all the ingredients for these cupcakes in your pantry and fridge.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Cake flour. Produces a soft, tender cake crumb. I prefer using unbleached cake flour.
- Baking powder and baking soda. Leavening agents allow the cupcakes to rise and have a fluffy texture.
- Salt. Added to the batter to enhance the sweetness of the cupcakes.
- Butter. Use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt that goes into the batter. Make sure to soften to room temperature. The butter should be slightly firm to the touch and not greasy, yet leave the impression of your finger when you press into it.
- Granulated sugar. Adds sweetness to the cupcakes. When granulated sugar creams with butter, air is incorporated into the batter, which creates the perfect light and tender cupcake.
- Egg. Adds structure, moisture, and richness to the cupcakes.
- Egg whites. Using egg whites creates a lighter-colored cake batter with a light and airy crumb.
- Vanilla. Always select a good quality pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. Use in both the cupcakes and frosting.
- Buttermilk. The acid in buttermilk helps create a softer and more tender cupcake. It's also key for activating the baking soda. Ensure your buttermilk is at room temperature so it easily incorporates with the other ingredients into a smooth batter.
How to Make Birthday Cupcakes (Step-By-Step Instructions)
Sift dry ingredients. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cream butter and sugar. Beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add eggs and vanilla. Beat in the egg and egg whites, one at a time, then mix in vanilla.
Add dry ingredients and buttermilk. In three parts, alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk until the batter is combined with no streaks of flour.
Add sprinkles and bake. Gently fold in the sprinkles. Fill each cupcake liner ⅔ full and bake.
How to Make Chocolate Frosting (Step-By-Step Instructions)
Beat butter. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
Add dry ingredients. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat on low. Mix in vanilla and cream and beat until a creamy consistency.
Whip. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Tip: Add the powdered sugar to the bowl and cover your mixer with a dish towel to prevent the sugar from flying in the air. You can remove the towel once the butter and powdered sugar are incorporated.
Best Tools for Decorating Cupcakes
The best part of making birthday cake cupcakes is decorating them. Be creative! You can tailor these cupcakes for many occasions (Halloween sprinkles, red, white, and blue theme, buttercream flowers, and so much more!). Here are the basics you’ll need for decorating:
- Pastry bag. I prefer a disposable pastry bag for easy cleanup, but you can also use reusable bags. Just make sure your disposable bags are thick enough so the buttercream doesn’t pop a hole into your bag when piping the frosting.
- Pastry tip. You can use a large round pastry tip or a large closed star tip. Ateco is my favorite brand!
The Secret to Moist Cupcakes
After all your effort in baking, the last thing you want to do is eat a dry birthday cake cupcake. So what’s the secret? A combination of techniques and ingredients creates the most moist cupcakes. Here’s what to do:
- Moisture adding ingredients. Buttermilk adds moisture to these cupcakes. Other ingredients that help with moisture include sour cream, yogurt, melted butter, and vegetable oil.
- Proper mixing. Never overmix cupcake batter. Otherwise, you will have dense and dry cupcakes. Instead, mix just until all the ingredients are combined with barely any traces of flour.
- Don’t overbake. Check the cupcakes baking time at the lower end of the range. All ovens bake differently.
- Frosted cupcakes. Frost the cupcakes once they are completely cooled. A layer of frosting will help prevent moisture from escaping.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure the butter, eggs, and buttermilk are at room temperature so they incorporate evenly.
- Sift the cake flour. This will break up any lumps so it will combine easily and smoothly with the wet ingredients.
- Use high-quality cupcake liners. Use grease-proof liners to keep cupcakes from sticking to the wrapper’s side.
- Fill cupcake cavities ⅔ full. Use a cookie scoop or disposable pastry bag to fill the cupcakes. Too much batter can cause cupcakes to spill or rise quickly and sink in the middle.
- Cool cupcakes completely. Frost completely cooled cupcakes to prevent the chocolate frosting from melting.
- All-purpose flour. No cake flour? No problem. Measure 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, and replace 3 tablespoons of flour with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift together to combine evenly.
- Whole milk. No buttermilk? Add 2 teaspoons white vinegar to a one-cup measuring cup and add enough whole milk to fill it ⅔ full. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes before adding it to your confetti sprinkle cupcake batter.
- At room temperature. Store leftover birthday cake cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days at room temperature.
- Unfrosted cupcakes. Tightly wrap unfrosted cupcakes with plastic wrap and store them in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and frost.
- Frosted cupcakes. Store leftover cupcakes in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
Cold ingredients can cause a lumpy batter. Use room-temperature ingredients. If it’s lumpy after adding in the eggs, use a rubber spatula to mash the chunks of butter against the side of the bowl to break down the pieces.
Yes, you can bake the cupcakes a day ahead and mix the chocolate buttercream up to 1 week in advance. Store the cupcakes and buttercream covered at room temperature. Use a mixer to remix the buttercream before frosting the cupcakes.
Yes, follow the directions of a white or yellow cake mix and add the vanilla and replace the water with milk for a delicious flavor.
You can bake the batter in a greased and floured 8x8-inch square baking pan for 30-35 minutes.
Please leave a starred rating and comment below if you make these Easy & Moist Birthday Cake Cupcakes. I love reading your feedback! And if you’d like to make this recipe later, don’t forget to pin it on Pinterest! Happy Baking!Print