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Contributed by: Chris WebAdmin. of

Recently I was asked, by a member of my family, for cupcakes rather than a full size cake for their birthday treat. Although I was of course willing to indulge them on their special day, I didn't see the point. Cupcakes to me are just little cakes, what does the size matter?

Oh I was so wrong. Before the big day, I was lucky enough to receive Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans to review. In 144 pages Elinor showed me the error of my thinking. Not only are cupcakes tiny versions of big cakes but there just as many variations and creative ways to make them as there are different kinds of cake. Maybe even more.

Cupcakes! begins with a chapter called Making Good Cupcakes which covers what you need to know about supplies, ingredients, mixing and baking, storing and freezing, transporting cupcakes and of course decorating them. The clear concise writing makes it easy to understand yet with enough detail to help even the most experienced baker.

Recipes are divided into four categories: Head-Start Recipes; Classic Cupcakes; Filled Cupcakes; and Celebration Cupcakes. More than 50 recipes, many with full page full colour photos of the delicious cupcakes, are included. There truly is a cupcake recipe for every occasion and everyone in the family. The rest of the book includes Mail-Order Sources, the Table of Equivalents and Index.

Finding one recipe to include was difficult so I thought instead to use one simple frosting recipe which I know many will enjoy.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Adding cream cheese to a powdered sugar frosting produces a not-too-sweet frosting that has a pleasant cream cheese flavor. It is soft, but it is firm enough to hold a shape and a good choice for piping designs and shapes on top of cupcakes. The basic vanilla-flavored frosting takes well to other flavors, including cinnamon, lemon or orange zest, or white chocolate. (See the individual cupcake recipes for exact measurements.)

This frosting is easiest to use when freshly made, but it can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days, then brought to room temperature and beaten with an electric mixer until fluffy again.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.

Add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth, about 1 minute, then beat on medium speed for 1 minute to lighten the frosting further.

The frosting is ready to use, or for flavor additions.

Makes 3 Cups

About the Author:
Chris Sadler is Owner and WebAdmin of The
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