Vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

How to Cook Cakes
Peter Cassidy

This recipe was devised as a wedding cake alternative with the decorated cupcakes piled high on a tiered cake stand to great effect. Serve them just as they are for teatime, or decorate with a few ripe raspberries or blueberries and, or chocolate shavings. For a tiered wedding cake, sugar paste flowers are very effective. You will need a 12-hole muffin tin.


Quantity Ingredient
3 eggs, at room temperature
175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
175g self-raising flour
pinch salt
1-2 tablespoons water or milk

For the frosting

Quantity Ingredient
125g unsalted butter, softened
150g icing sugar
300g full-fat cream cheese, chilled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate (optional)

Quantity Ingredient
raspberries or blueberries
chocolate shavings


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Line the muffin tin with paper cupcake cases.
  2. Break the eggs into a small bowl and, using a fork, beat lightly to break them up. Put the butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways, scrape out the seeds and add to the butter and sugar.
  3. Using a wooden spoon or electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add the beaten eggs in several additions, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift the flour over the surface, add the salt and fold in using a large metal spoon or a spatula. If necessary, fold in enough of the water or milk to create a dropping consistency.
  6. Divide the mixture equally between the prepared cupcake cases and bake in the middle of the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until well risen and golden. They should be springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Remove the cakes from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the cream cheese frosting, put the butter in a bowl and beat briefly with an electric whisk until very smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and continue to beat until completely incorporated. Add the cream cheese and vanilla, and beat the mixture for up to 1 minute until smooth and even.
  8. Top each cooled cupcake with the cream cheese frosting, using a palette knife to smooth the surface, or pipe it on in a decorative swirl, using a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Serve the cupcakes plain or topped with berries and/or chocolate shavings.

A note on making cupcakes in large quantities...

  • This recipe works well when the quantities are doubled and made in a kitchen mixer (such as a Kenwood or KitchenAid), but making more than double the mixture when using domestic mixers and ovens tends not to result in the same light cakes.
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