Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I wish I could make cupcakes all the time, but they would probably lose their celebratory appeal and my children would be on a permanent sugar-high. And my apartment would look like it had been finger-painted over by my kids… Children + Frosting = Big Sticky Mess!



I bought the Magnolia Bakery cookbook recently—not because I’m the hugest fan of Magnolia’s cupcakes, but because they were one of the first to make cupcakes popular. Thus, it’s kind of like the bible of cupcakes. Word of warning—most recipes have way too much sugar. And not just for me.

I lightened up the sweetness of the original batter recipe and created a frosting that isn’t entirely made out of icing sugar.



For 12 cupcakes


Vanilla Cupcakes

1 ¼ c flour

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp baking powder

½ cup (125 g) butter, room temperature

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs, separated

½ cup milk

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C and line a cupcake baking tray with pretty liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites with ¼ cup of the sugar until it holds stiff peaks. Scrape it into another bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and the remaining  ½ cup of sugar. Add the egg yolks and salt and whisk until just incorporated.
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients and add them into the butter mixture.
  5. Pour in the milk and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until the batter is pale and creamy (about 1 minute).
  6. With an ice cream scooper, divide the batter evenly into the liners (they will be about 2/3rds full).
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Let cool before frosting.




Cream Cheese Frosting

¼ cup butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups icing sugar

100g cream cheese, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

Food coloring (optional)


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and icing sugar on low speed until incorporated.
  2. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, and salt, and beat on high speed until very white and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add the food coloring of your choice and whisk until the frosting is evenly colored.
  4. Drop a large dollop on the top of each cooled cupcake and rub it in a circular motion with the back your spoon. If you want a daintier result, using a piping bag.
  5. Sprinkle with the edible decorations of your choice.




After squishing it in between her plump little fists, Gabrielle tried to hand the cupcake back over.




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