Vanilla Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

A celebration always calls for a little something sweet.  Or so, at least, I think.  Over Memorial Day weekend, Jeremy and I travelled up to the D.C. area to visit his brother and family.  My sister-in-law’s birthday was the night before we went up, so we wanted to do something for her birthday.  We decided that baking cupcakes would be fun; they have two boys who would naturally been keen on sugar, and who doesn’t like a cupcake?  I mulled over the various flavor possibilities before deciding that vanilla would be the way to go.  Vanilla is a universal pleasure.

Brightly colored and festive, these cupcakes are a a crowd pleaser.  They are deeply vanilla and very tender.  The frosting is rich, but the tang of the cream cheese helps balance the sugar.  To make these a little more special than the everyday vanilla cupcake, I made a rich, vanilla cream cheese frosting to top them.  These make a great basic cupcake to add to your arsenal.  While the frosting is certainly delicious with them, they are sweet enough to pair with a glaze, a fruit topping, or a different icing.  They really are perfect to take to your next event.

When making cupcakes, it’s very important to make sure you bring your butter and eggs to room temperature.  This allows them to incorporate into the dough as smoothly, without lumps from unmixed butter or stringy bits of raw egg.  This may seem a difficult request if you are in a hurry, but there are shortcuts!

To bring butter to room temperature quickly: Place the butter between two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper.  Using a rolling pin, roll the butter out until it is almost paper thin.  Set aside for five to ten minutes.

To bring eggs to room temperature quickly: Fill a bowl with very warm, but not hot water (about the temperature of bath water).  If the water is too hot, the eggs will cook, so don’t be over-zealous.  Drop the eggs into the bowl of water.  Let them sit for about five minutes.  When you reach into the water and the eggs and the water are about the same temperature– they shouldn’t feel markedly cool to the touch– they’re ready.

A note on the colored frosting: The SIL’s favorite team and alma mater is the University of Florida, so team color icing was great way to personalize these cupcakes.  First, I divided the frosting in half.  I used a scant 1/4 tsp of Wilton icing color pastes in royal blue and orange.  I beat the icing well until the color was fully combined.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

for the cupcakes

  • 3/4 C butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract

for the frosting

  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick)
  • 8 oz cream cheese (1 block)
  • 3 C  confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º.  Bring the butter and the eggs to room temperature before mixing.  In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer.  Mix in the eggs one at a time.  Then, stir in all of the dry ingredients until just combined.  Slowly pour in the milk and the extracts while beating constantly.  Line two muffin tins with cupcake papers.  Fill 2/3 of each space with batter.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.  Remove the cupcakes from the tins to racks to cool.  Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.  Using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, the cream cheese, the confectioner’s sugar, and the vanilla extract.  Add sugar to bring frosting to the appropriate consistency.  Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, a splash of milk can be mixed in to thin it.

To apply the frosting, use a decorator’s bag to pipe on the frosting.  Make sure you don’t overfill the bag.  Half a cup is about all that should go in.  If you use a measuring cup to fill the bag, and you cuff it over your hand while you fill it, refilling isn’t much trouble.  Plus, it will keep your icing from oozing out the top of the bag.  Use a Wilton 1M star tip to achieve the look pictured.  Starting in the center of each cupcake, swirl the icing in a tight spiral until the top is covered.

Since these cupcakes use cream cheese frosting, keep them refrigerated until you serve them, then bring them up to room temperature before eating.

Makes 18 cupcakes.

UPDATE: Lately I have been substituting 1/2 C of oil for 1/2 C of the butter and adding it after the eggs. I have also switched to cake flour (2 1/2 C plus 5 T) and sifting the dry ingredients together. This makes for a very soft, fluffy, moist cupcake.

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56 thoughts on “Vanilla Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. These look great. I even shared them on facebook. I love the rich colors and the cream cheese frosting is always a winner.

    • Thanks for sharing these, Susie! That really means a lot; recipes are meant to be shared. Cream cheese frosting is a huge personal fave, so I couldn’t resist it for my first posted cupcake recipe.

    • So glad you like the color! I wanted to personalize it and make them really bold, so I decided to forego the usual ol’ food coloring. The icing colors really achieved their purpose!

    • Thanks, Sarah! I knew since I was making them for a Gator fan I needed to get the colors right. My husband is requesting Florida State colors for himself, but that gold color is going to be really hard to pull off. I am always up for a challenge, though…

    • Thanks for asking this, Refa! I have added links to these items in my Amazon store in case anyone wants to make the same colors. I would never have thought of this otherwise!

    • Thanks, Nora! I think the color that these pastes achieved is really outstanding. And I swear they are very easy! I rarely make full-scale cakes because of the effort, but I love to make cupcakes. The single servings are also much better for my hips…

  2. Pingback: BBA #8: Cinnamon Rolls « Appoggiatura

  3. Pingback: the simple me » Blog Archive » Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

  4. Thanks so much for the recipe. I used the cream cheese frosting for some “mad” rainbow cupcakes I made for my daughter’s Alice in Wonderland party yesterday. The frosting was PERFECT! I got tons of compliments.

  5. Hey, nice blog, just looking around some blogs, seems a pretty nice platform you are using. I’m currently using WordPress for a few of my sites but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Keep up the good work!

  6. Hi there!

    I found this via some googling. I’m looking for a great recipe for cream cheese icing that’s dye-able. I’ve had issues in the past getting it to be a good color. When I tried this before, I needed so much food coloring that your mouth turned that color when you ate it. The cake I’m making is for a rehearsal dinner so I can only imagine the disaster if I turned everyone’s mouth blue! Is this recipe different?

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  8. Hi there. Thanks for the recipe. I think I might just use it for my sons 1st birthday. We are having a finding nemo theme. I don’t know if this has been asked or if its stated somewhere but how did you get the frosting those colors?

    • 1/4 tsp of Wilton icing color pastes in royal blue and orange added to the icing. I split the icing recipe in half and blended those in. They sell them at Wal-Mart, Michael’s, Joann’s – anywhere with a Wilton cake decorating section.

  9. hi! thanks for sharing this recipe! I would like to check if you used plain flour? also, is the lemon extract also comes in essence form? thanks in advance!

  10. Those look really good, and I especially like the choice color of icing! I’ll have to print this off and find time to mix up a batch later this week.

    • There’s butter and confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) in the frosting. No granulated sugar at all! Just cream all the ingredients for the frosting together.

  11. I need to make these cupcakes for the children’s bible study I teach on sunday nights. We are going to have a color theme that night of orange and blue, so these will be great.

  12. I want to be a pastry chef 🙂 That is my dream :)) So i pray for my sucessfullness to achieve this dream *.*

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