New This Month

Cupcakes Three Ways


Stir up one batter three ways, then add on buttery icing, plus cute flourishes, for head-of-the-class results.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 12

Photography: John Kernick

Source: Everyday Food, September 2007


Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Buttercream Three Ways

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) room-temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 teaspoons seedless raspberry jam
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • Tip-Top toppings (optional)


Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).

  3. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with your choice of buttercream.

Buttercream Three Ways

  1. VANILLA BUTTERCREAM: With an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. On medium speed, beat in confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down bowl as necessary. Mix in vanilla. Increase speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

  2. RASPBERRY BUTTERCREAM: Make Vanilla Buttercream, then beat in jam.

  3. CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM: Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Make Vanilla Buttercream, then beat in melted chocolate.

  4. TIP-TOP TOPPINGS: Fresh fruit (blueberries, blackberries), dried fruit (pineapple, cherries, cranberries), caramelized bananas, salted peanuts, sliced almonds, colored sanding sugar, fresh mint.

Cook's Notes

To Make Chocolate Cupcakes Reduce flour to 1 1/4 cups, and add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Makes 12.

To Make Black-and-White Cupcakes
Prepare both vanilla and chocolate batters; fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each, side by side. Makes 24.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS112614348
    9 MAY, 2015
    I made this for a kids birthday party, and I thought it was just ok. The cupcake was more muffin-ish in texture as opposed to sponge-cake like. I will continue to look for a good cupcake recipe.
  • Rachel A
    7 FEB, 2013
    Just tried the recipe and I really like the flavor of the cupcake. It was lightly sweet with a hint of the butter and vanilla. My husband agreed the texture needs tweaking. He described it between a cupcake and cornbread. I thought it was more like spongecake myself. I happened to have used vanilla that is double strength so that may be why I had a better flavor.
  • Audrey Lustig
    6 FEB, 2013
    I just made and they turn soooo weird and sweet... I trully did not like at all... and the thing that the bday is just in a few hours so I will have to offer this... The thing is that by hurry I did not read the reviews, only read the stars and tought it would be good. Do not make them.
  • Olga_USSR
    21 AUG, 2012
    i am writings to you comrade martha, from Volgrad in Russia. In motherland we have name for these, we call them syeltortes meaning salty treasures. as I live in the artic circle with my tribe, we can eat only these treasures while nothing else grows in barren crop fields, therefore me and my family eat these for the winter months, when sun doesn't rise. these cakes will preserve well with their thick and salty batter, so will provide much comfort for me while in this icy wilderness. Think of me
  • millie72
    26 AUG, 2011
    I really like this recipe but I tinkered with a few things after reading the reviews. I cut bake time down to 18-20 minutes and added orange zest to give it some extra flavor. Hope this helps if anyone decides to try it again!
  • CapabilityMom
    5 MAR, 2011
    Well, if I had read these comments first, I may not have made them but they are in the oven so it is wait and see!
  • CapabilityMom
    5 MAR, 2011
    Well, if I had read these comments first, I may not have made them but they are in the oven so it is wait and see!
  • sophieb7721
    20 JUL, 2010
    AGREE, AGREE, AGREE,....wish I had found this before I made these. What was Martha Stewart and staff thinking when they came up with this one. I wish a true "food scientist" could tell us what happened in this recipe. I am a noviced baker and I surely thought when I made these I really had no baking skills. Glad I found monkeyfaceperson and OLillian's comments...STOP DON'T MAKE THESE CUPCAKES
  • monkeyfaceperson
    28 JUN, 2010
  • OLilian
    16 MAY, 2010
    I don't believe this recipe ever went through a test kitchen. Horrible, horrible, horrible! Taste-free and tough. I ripped the recipe out of the magazine ages ago and finally made the black-and-white version for a party tonight. I'm known as a good baker and was mortified when we started eating them. Yuck! Had to look it up on this website and leave a comment.