Happiness is a moist cupcake with a delicious cream cheese frosting. Photo by Ben Phillips | IST.




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July 2007

Updated June 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cookies, Cakes & Pastries

Recipe: Vanilla Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

A Treat For Paris Hilton & Other Fashionable Girls



Paris Hilton entered jail in Los Angeles last month to serve her sentence for DUI with a suspended license. After neither sleeping nor eating for three days, she was briefly released to house arrest—where, according to reports, she ordered lots of fresh flowers and gourmet cupcakes. If cupcakes are a Paris Hilton favorite food, we know she likes her cupcakes fashionable. These vanilla cupcakes are pretty but also light, moist yellow cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. This particular cream cheese frosting is very cream cheesy. We prefer the personality of the cream cheese to the bland buttery/sugary profile of a buttercream.

If you don’t want to take the time to make lovely buttercream rosettes, go uber-fashionista with jewel-like crystal sugars, sanding sugars and edible glitter dust; tiny nonpareils or larger sugar pearls in a rainbow of colors; or for drama, silver and gold dragées.

Yield: 16 Cupcakes




  • 16 (2-1/2-inch) paper muffin cup liners
  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tin or 16 (1/3-cup) muffin cups with paper muffin cup liners.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well.
  3. With mixer on low speed, beat in the milk and vanilla until just combined. Divide the flour mixture into three and beat in one portion at a time until just combined.
  4. Add to the middle of the muffin cups and place in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan on a rack for five minutes; then remove them. The liners should still be on the cupcakes.
  5. While the cupcakes are baking, make the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to spread, about 15 minutes. The frosting can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered so that it does not pick up flavors and aromas. Bring it to room temperature and beat until smooth before frosting the cupcakes.
  6. If you’d like a lemony cream cheese frosting, add 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest to the frosting recipe.
  7. Cake Decorating PlungerTo color icing, whether to make the entire batch a color or just to color a portion to pipe rosettes, mix in a couple of drops of food color at a time until the desired color is achieved. You can pipe flowers with a simple, inexpensive cake decorating plunger like the one at the right, which comes with eight different tips. You can also decorate with candies, cookie leaves, chocolate morsels, coconut, gold and silver dragées, edible glitter, sanding sugar, slivered nuts, sprinkles (jimmies), sugar pearls, wafers and more. A visit to a fine candy store or bakery supply store will open up a world of topping wonder.