You can use any standard cake mix, but avoid those with pudding in the mix and steer clear of lighter cake mixes such as angel food, since cupcake projects need a firm cake that will hold up when it's decorated. If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can make a fair substitution by adding 1 tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup whole milk. Let sit for 10 minutes to sour. (Actual buttermilk is better.)
1 box (18.25 oz) cake mix (French vanilla, devil's food, or yellow)
1 cup buttermilk (in place of the water called for on the box)
vegetable oil (the amount on the box)
4 large eggs (in place of the number called for on the box)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
- Follow the box instructions, putting all the ingredients in a large bowl and using the buttermilk in place of the water specified (the box will call fro more water than the amount of buttermilk you are using), using the amount of vegetable oil that is called for (typically, white or yellow cakes call for 1/3 cup; the chocolate cakes usually call for 1/2 cup), and adding the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick, 2 minutes longer.
- Spoon half of the batter into a ziplock bag. Snip a 1/4-inch corner from the bag and fill the paper liners two-thirds full. Repeat with remaining batter. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the baking pans, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool completely.