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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.
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