These cupcakes kind of completed me. For a professed hater of cake, these would have to be good to pass my test.
A+ and a gold star. At least in my book.
I was setting out to test cupcake recipes to make for my daughter’s baby shower. My goal was to make several, choose the best, make lots more and freeze them ahead of time. I even tested freezing methods. These just had to be right. This combination of cupcake batter and frosting won me over.
And I’m even going to tell you about my secret frosting ingredient. Yup. Wait for it.
So, as in typical cupcake recipe-making format, here’s what you do.
Get out 12 adorable cupcake liners and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In your mixing bowl, add 1 stick (1/2 c.) room temperature butter and 2/3 c. sugar and let the mixer beat them up for a good 2-3 minutes. Don’t skip this step! You need this mixture as fluffy as possible.
One at a time, add in 3 eggs, scraping the bowl as you go. When combined, add 1 tsp. vanilla.
Here’s the first magic. Wash and zest a lemon and add all of that goodness to the bowl and mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 c. flour (I used cake flour, but unbleached, all-purpose will work just fine)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder,
1/4 tsp. salt.
Measure out 1/4 c. milk and add it in alternately with the dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the bowl as you go.
After much testing, this became my weapon of choice for distributing the batter to the cupcake liners neatly and evenly.
Bake for about 18 minutes turning the pan around at 9 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick.
After 5 minutes, remove them from the baking pan and let cool on a wire rack.
I filled these with raspberry filling and topped with the most amazing frosting made with my no-longer-secret ingredient. You can buy it online here. I love it because somehow, it makes my little homemade cupcakes have the flavor of fancy bakery cupcakes. If you try it, you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Anyway, I refuse to use anything but butter for baking so I needed a good, buttercream recipe that included cream cheese. To us (that would be me and my cupcake decorator daughter, Kyrsten), cream cheese seems to help the texture of the frosting for piping.
So here’s what you need:
8 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
1/2 c. butter (room temp)
1 lb. (3 3/4–4 c.) powdered sugar
1 tsp. buttery sweet dough emulsion (or vanilla)
Beat all ingredients until smooth and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar until you get the consistency you are looking for. Add coloring if desired.
That’s it! Perfectly simple, yummy, yummy cupcakes.
- ½ c. butter
- ⅔ c. sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- the zest of 1 lemon
- 1½ c. cake flour (or all-purpose)
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ c. milk
- Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 8 oz. butter
- 3¾--4 c powdered sugar (1 lb.)
- 1 tsp. buttery sweet dough bakery emulsion (or sub in vanilla)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes or until fluffy.
- One at a time add in the eggs, scraping the bowl as you go.
- Add vanilla and mix.
- Wash and zest a lemon and add that to the bowl and mix.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder,, and salt.
- Measure out ¼ c. milk and add it to the first mixture alternately with the dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the bowl as you go.
- Use a scooper to evenly distribute the batter into 12 cupcake liners.
- Bake for 18 minutes, turning the pan 180 degrees halfway through.
- Check for doneness with a toothpick.
- After five minutes, remove from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack.
- To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter (room temp), powdered sugar, and the buttery sweet dough emulsion or vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar as needed to achieve desired texture.
- Pipe the frosting onto fully cooled cupcakes.