Graduation Celebration Cupcakes

This summer I willingly accepted the task of making ten dozen cupcakes for a family party. The party was to celebrate the gradations of two of my cousins from high school and my brother from college. Now, to a professional baker, ten dozen cupcakes probably sounds like a (cup)cake walk. To all of the home, small batch bakers out there like me, ten dozen cupcakes is quite a lot. But I courageously accepted the challenge, anxious to be back and baking in the kitchen after a year away at college. I think the hardest thing about my first year of college was being away from my kitchen. Aside from running, baking is my stress reliever and my hobby. I often joke that it’s a good thing I love to run because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to eat nearly as many cookies and ice cream cones as I do…

But anyway, back to the cupcakes! This cupcake recipe has been with me for quite a few years and ever since I discovered it here I haven’t touched another cupcake recipe since. They are so delicious, so simple, and everyone loves them! I have been known as the master baker in my family for quite a while and I have made this recipe too many times to count, so when my aunt asked me to make cupcakes for the party, I couldn’t say no. But I was anxious to take my classic cupcakes one step further. All of the times I have previously made these cupcakes I have kept it simple, always doing the classic white cake with a simple buttercream frosting. This time I wanted to see If I could use this recipe to make chocolate cupcakes too. It was a bit risky to go for it a few days before the party without practicing first, but the higher the risk the greater the reward: these cupcakes tasted fantastic.

In order to reach my cupcake quota, I needed to make two batches of vanilla and two batches of chocolate. Each batch makes a little more than 2 ½ dozen cupcakes so I was able to make 10 dozen plus a few extras to nibble on, quality control is very important.

Now on to the icing, I decided to wait until the morning of the party to make the frosting. As I live in Ohio and the party was happening in New Jersey, where my extended family lives, it made the most sense to make the cupcakes at my house, transport them to New Jersey unfrosted, and wait until the morning of the party to put on the finishing touches. After these cupcakes are baked they can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three days before frosting. Once they are frosted though, I suggest you store them in the fridge to keep them tasting fresh and delicious.

I decided to do two different frostings for the cupcakes this time: a classic vanilla buttercream and this marshmallow frosting. I had never made a marshmallow frosting before, but boy am I glad I did. I could have eaten the whole bowl of it! It’s so pillowy, marshmallowy and oh so yummy. It will definitely not be the last time I will be making it, I already have a bunch of new ideas lined up for ways to use it next.

2 cupcake flavors and 2 icing flavors makes for 4 combinations of delicious, this might be a good time to share that I am an intended math major… I frosted half the vanilla cupcakes with marshmallow frosting, and half with buttercream. I did the same with the chocolate. My aunt is a crafting genius and came up with a beautiful way to display the cupcakes on big numbers spelling out 2017, the graduation year, so each number was home to a different cupcake flavor combination. The cupcakes were topped with black sugar sprinkles and graduation cap rings or chocolate diplomas.

Classic Cupcakes

  • Servings: about 30 cupcakes
  • Print

Your new go to cupcake recipe.


  • 1 (15-18oz) box white or chocolate cake mix (I usually use Duncan Hines and suggest this for the best results!)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 large egg whites


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt until ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
  3. Add water, vegetable oil, vanilla, sour cream, and egg whites to the dry ingredients and beat with a hand or stand mixer for about 2 minutes. Mixture will be noticeable fluffier.
  4. Fill prepared cupcake tins about ¾ full. Bake for about 18 minutes; cupcakes should have a beautiful domed top and a toothpick inserted into the middle will come out clean when they are fully baked.
  5. Cool completely, frost, and decorate!

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