Feb 11, 2012

vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

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It's my sister's birthday today.  (Happy Birthday!)  We went to visit her to celebrate.  (Man, am I starting to feel old!)  We played Apples to Apples and ate some awesome Italian food.  (Isn't food always the center of any party?)

When I asked my sister a few weeks ago what she wanted for her birthday, the only thing she could think of was a cake.  She chose a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, so that's what you'll find here.  It sounds simple and plain, but when it's done right, it's the best.

I'm actually using the recipe for the wedding cupcakes we made this past summer.  My sister taste-tested many different cupcakes recipes before coming up with this one (so really she did half the work for her birthday cake).  I made up my own cream cheese frosting recipe, and so far the reviews are good.

This morning we barely made it out of town to visit her due to the near blizzard-like conditions here.  (It would have been a real bummer and a complete waste of a dozen perfectly good cupcakes).  Poor puppy had snow drifts taller than him.

But, the blizzard and cloudy skies turned into a light dusting of snow and lots of sun by the time we got to Sister's house, as you can see by the super-sunny picture below.  Us Clevelanders have almost forgotten what the sun feels like, so it was a nice relief!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting 
Recipe from a whisk & a spoon
Makes 16-18 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients: 
  • 2 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 egg white, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c + 1/8 c low fat buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the cake, start by taking the eggs, butter, and buttermilk out of the fridge.  Let them sit until they reach room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put the eggs, egg white, vanilla and 1/8 c buttermilk in a medium bowl.  Whisk ingredients together well and set aside.

In a stand mixer bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the butter and 1/2 c buttermilk.  Blend the ingredients in the mixing bowl together on low speed then raise speed to medium-high.  Continue to mix until the mixture becomes light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).

Add the egg mixture in 3 parts, mixing and scrapping the bowl between each addition.  Don't overmix.  Divide the batter into lined cupcake pans, filling each cupcake only half full (otherwise you end up with crumbly edges like you can see below), and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown lightly.  Once the cupcakes are done, remove them to a wire rack until they're cool.

Frosting Ingredients:
  • 8 oz low fat cream cheese
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp clear vanilla (or use regular vanilla if planning to use food coloring)
  • 3 1/2 c powdered sugar
Combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a stand mixer.  Start on low and raise the speed to medium.  Once those ingredients are well combined, add the powdered sugar 1/2 c at a time.  Feel free to add more or less powdered sugar based on how sweet you want it and what consistency you're looking for.  Beat the frosting on high (3-5 minutes) until it's fluffy.  Store frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.  If necessary, re-fluff frosting by quickly beating the frosting again before using.

Don't overfill the cupcakes or they outgrow the wrappers and look like this

Fill cupcake only 1/2 full and they'll look pretty like this


  1. Thanks for adding me on foodbuzz. Your sister must be very happy with those pretty cup cakes =)

  2. Liz, you are absolutely right, you just can't beat a vanilla cake with vanilla icing if it's done with love and care. This looks like the perfect example!

  3. Looks yummy! I love the simple but very tasty cream cheese frosting!


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