Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl Cupcakes

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. It is a winter wonderland over here. We got hit by the big Nor’easter storm yesterday. Some were calling it a bomb cyclone, which seems like a bit of an exaggeration to me, but it was definitely blizzard conditions for most of the day. Really high winds, lots of snow accumulating very fast, and very cold temperatures. Unfortunately, that can be very dangerous to some who lose power, have flooding problems by the shore, or of course, the homeless. We are lucky enough to not face any of those issues and so we have a blast, but I definitely feel for those who are not so lucky.

I obviously don’t have school right now, but my brother is in high school and it was fun getting hyped up with him for his snow day. They cancelled school for Thursday pretty early in the day because everyone was sure we were getting snow. Friday was the day that was still up in the air. He kept refreshing the page nonstop so I told him to go play a game with his friend and he’d eventually find out. While he was playing I refreshed the page (sneaky me) and sure enough they cancelled school. He and his friend were both very excited.

Anyways, to the cupcakes. Fun fact, I made these three years ago also on a snow day. They aren’t on my blog because I didn’t photograph them with natural light, so they didn’t make the cut. However, I always loved the recipe, so I made them again. After all, what better activity for a snow day? They’re perfect because you don’t have to choose between vanilla and chocolate – you get both! Plus, the chocolate is strong enough to really come through beside the vanilla. Also, just look at those fun swirls.

To get the swirls, you simply fill a piping bag halfway with vanilla (the long way, so only half the tip of the bag has vanilla coming out of it), then halfway with chocolate. Then, you simply make swirls on top of the cupcakes. Plus, the frosting itself is delicious and the perfect consistency. It doesn’t harden too quickly at room temperature like some other frosting. I like using the open star tip because it gives it a nice texture. Happy baking and happy snow day!

Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl Cupcakes

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 12

Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl Cupcakes

The perfect chocolate and vanilla swirled cupcake! A light and fluffy cupcake made with chocolate and vanilla batter, then swirled with a chocolate vanilla swirl frosting.


  • ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60g) yogurt*
  • ¾ cup + 1 Tablespoon (195ml) milk, divided
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1⅔ cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (21g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
    Vanilla Frosting
  • ½ cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups (210g) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp. salt
    Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1¾ cups (210g) confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ cup (21g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. salt


    Make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and lightly spray the liners with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large heatproof mixing bowl, add the butter and microwave for about 1 minute, or until fully melted. Add the sugar and whisk. Refrigerate for about a minute to cool down before adding the egg.
  3. Add the egg, yogurt, ¾ cup of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix well.
  4. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour and mix well. Set aside 3/4 cup of batter to a new bowl and add the cocoa powder and 1 Tablespoon of milk. To the original bowl, add another teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  5. Spoon a small scoop of vanilla batter into each cupcake liner, then a smaller scoop of chocolate batter (since there is less chocolate batter), then some more vanilla, then chocolate, etc. until all the batter is used. Swirl the batter around with a toothpick just a little bit.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and they are barely golden. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
    Make vanilla frosting:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter. Gradually add the confectioners sugar until all of it is added, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary. The frosting will be quite thick.
  2. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt and beat on low speed first, then increase to high speed and mix for about 1 minute. Set frosting aside in a different bowl to use the stand mixer again. The nice thing about making the vanilla frosting first is that you don't need to clean the bowl!
    Make the chocolate frosting:
  1. Sift the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl to get out all of the lumps. I hate sifting too, but it is important for frostings.
  2. In the same mixer bowl as before, add the softened butter and beat on low speed. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar mixture and mix on low speed until all the sugar is added, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  3. Add the heavy cream and salt, then bring the mixer speed to high and beat for about 1 minute.
  4. Place a piping tip of your choice in a large piping bag, cutting off the very end of the bag to fit the tip. Then, fill half the piping bag (the long way) with the vanilla frosting so that half the tip of the bag has vanilla coming out and half is still empty. Then, fill the rest of the piping bag with the chocolate frosting. Pipe the cooled cupcakes as you normally would and admire the swirls!


*Greek full-fat yogurt is preferable, but plain yogurt works as well. Sour cream also works.

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Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

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