Choco-Yema Cupcakes

Moist chocolate cakes topped with a luscious yema frosting, these Choco-Yema Cupcakes are the perfect balance of chocolate and condensed milk in a decadent dessert.

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Choco-yema cupcakes on a wire rack.

I have a love-hate relationship with store-bought cupcakes. Some are nice and pleasantly sweet and can be on the buy again list. Most are dry and sickeningly sweet.

So, I don’t usually buy them except when I am pressed for time and my eldest daughter needs a treat for school. For one, I dread the tall pile of overly sweet frosting.

Rarely do I find a winner, when it comes to buying them.

Choco yema cupcakes shot showing the inside crumbs of one cupcake.

But these. These Choco-Yema cupcakes eliminate the hassle of being disappointed at opening a beautiful pack of grocery cupcakes, only to discover soon that it is straight sugar piled on top.

Chocolate plus yema, a delicious combination. These are inspired by the choco-yema cupcakes that are seemingly so popular back home.

What a genius idea, I thought, to combine two delicious flavors in small sized cakes.

Choco-yema cupcake shot with the paper liner peeled, showing the crumbs.

Choco-Yema Cupcakes: The Process

The chocolate cupcakes are moist, delicate and perfectly flavored. The recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and it is a keeper.

Ingredients for the chocolate cupcakes.

It simple, quick and can be done without a mixer. Whenever I make cupcakes or chocolate cakes, I look for a recipe that skips the creaming method. I guess I am lazy.

It is important to mention that when you bake these cupcakes, fill the cupcake liners only until they are halfway filled. Too full and they will overflow and have crisp tops.

We want them soft, moist and light. So halfway full only.

The chocolate cupcakes before and after baking.

What is Yema?

If you are not familiar, yema are addictive Filipino desserts made of cooked condensed milk and eggs. Some have nuts in them, too.

In this frosting version, I used a simplified yema version with added sour cream, to add richness and to tame the sweetness a bit.

The yema (condensed milk) frosting in a bowl.

When you cook this in the stove, it is important to stir it constantly or it will form lumps. You want a smooth, silky texture.

Let the mixture thicken to the point that it is spreadable. Try to lift a spoon with the mixture in it. The yema should fall back in dollops or chunks instead of flowing like a fluid.

That is the perfect consistency. Then, cool the frosting to room temperature, or until it is warm enough to the touch.

Frosting the chocolate cupcakes with the yema cream.

Begin frosting away. Grab your spatula (an angled spatula works best), and spread a generous amount of yema over the cooled chocolate cupcakes.

To make some simple decorations, use your spatula to make circular smears on the frosting.

But whether you just pile them away or make the fanciest decorations, these choco-yema cupcakes are divine in each bite. You will love them as treats at home, or box them up fancy and give away as a gift.


Bite shot of a choco-yema cupcake.

Looking for more treats? Try these:

Choco-yema cupcakes on a wire rack.

Choco-Yema Cupcakes

Moist chocolate cakes topped with a luscious yema frosting, these Choco-Yema Cupcakes are the perfect balance of chocolate and condensed milk in a decadent dessert.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: choco yema cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
cooking the yema frosting: 35 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
Servings: 14 cupcakes
Calories: 340kcal
Author: sanna


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature

For the Yema (condensed milk) Frosting

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks from large eggs


Make the Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and line another muffin pan with 2 liners. This recipe yields 14 cupcakes.
  • In a bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar,brown sugar, vanilla and oil. Add half of this liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Add half of the buttermilk. Stir until combined. Repeat the same manner of addition with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir the mixture just until combined. Do not overmix. Batter will be thin.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pans until they are HALF full. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center of cakes comes out clean with some moist crumbs. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack.

Make the Yema Frosting

  • In a medium saucepan, stir together cornstarch, sour cream and condensed milk until smooth. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly and cleaning the sides of the pan often.
  • The mixture will start to thicken and occasional big bubbles will start to surface. Turn off heat. The mixture will be thick as in when you lift the spoon, the mixture will fall back down in chunks or dollops into the pan.
  • Lightly beat egg yolks in a bowl. Add about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the yolks and stir rapidly. Pour this mixture back to the hot pan. Cook everything again over medium heat, until the mixture forms occasional big bubbles and the consistency is spreadable. Turn off heat.
  • Let the mixture cool to room temperature and use a metal spatula to spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes.


Chocolate Cupcakes recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 177mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Choco-yema cupcakes lined on a wire rack.

Moist chocolate cakes topped with a luscious yema frosting, these Choco-Yema Cupcakes are the perfect balance of chocolate and condensed milk in a decadent dessert. #chocolateyema #yemacupcakes #chocoyema
Moist chocolate cakes topped with a luscious yema frosting, these Choco-Yema Cupcakes are the perfect balance of chocolate and condensed milk in a decadent dessert. #chocolateyema #yemacupcakes #chocoyema

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  1. Hi what other substitutes can I use for sour cream? Can I use lemon extract or juice instead? If so how much? Thanks!

  2. Hi, also, do
    You have a video reference for your yema frosting? It’s my first time to do it and I need a video reference. Thanks so much

  3. Hello! I wanna make these! Just wanna ask how the combination of chocolate and yema turned out? Is it not too sweet? Also, can I use plain yogurt instead of sour cream? Thanks

    1. Hi Diana! The yema frosting is creamy and rich, and the chocolate cupcake is moist and not sweet. Together, the flavor is so good. You can use plain yogurt instead of sour cream, if that is what you prefer. Good luck!

  4. Am I correct in assuming you are using “sweetened” condensed milk? Where I live, that’s very different from regular condensed milk. If I use the wrong one, it will spoil the recipe.
    Thank you!


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