Controversial Vanilla Cupcakes with Light Cream Cheese Frosting

There’s been a big debate at preschool this year.

And it centers around food.

It turns out that many of the moms are concerned about their children eating healthy snacks at school.   Now, I can totally understand where they are coming from.  I like it when my children eat healthy, too.  But sometimes, can’t it be okay to have a little treat?

Next week is my oldest’s fifth birthday.  Since there’s no school next week, and Friday is their holiday performance, they are celebrating him on Wednesday.  Now, I’m snack person all week, and on Monday I sent a very healthy snack.  And I had planned to try to make something great and healthy for him for his birthday.

But, all he wanted is cupcakes.

I’ve tried talking him into muffins, healthy cookies, etc, but he was having none of it.  (It doesn’t help that other kids have brought cupcakes, too – which I totally understand.)  And I thought, why not.  I’ll take the backlash if it makes his day.  I know for sure that I brought in sweets for all my birthdays, and I turned out just fine, if I do say so myself.

Does that make me a bad mom?

I hope not, because it sure makes one happy birthday boy.

The Recipes:

Vanilla Cupcakes, adapted from

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

2 t pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

2 1/2 c flour

1 1/4 c milk

Turn oven on to 375 degrees F.

Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth.  Pour in sugar and beat well.  Add 2 eggs.  Mix well. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk.  Beat until incorporated and pour into individual baking cups, about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Light Cream Cheese Frosting, adapted from

4 oz unsalted butter, softened

4 oz light cream cheese, softened

2 c powdered sugar

1 t vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer.  With the mixer on low-speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

My son insisted on helping out with the cupcake baking (which I adore).  His favorite part is working the KitchenAid mixer.  It makes me nervous because I just know one of these times, something bad is going to happen.

Today, though, he only turned it on super high-speed – right after I added the flour.  The whole left side of the kitchen ended up being covered in the white powder.  And he felt so bad.  I would’ve taken a picture, but I was too busy trying to make him feel better.

But I discovered something that made him feel better really fast…

A tasty spatula to lick, of course.

We finished the batter, poured into the cups, and baked away.  The sun was nice enough to show up to light up our finished bounty.

After they had cooled completely (which seemed like an eternity to Mr. Almost Five), we made the frosting.  (I was in charge of the mixer this time.  His choice.)  He insisted that the frosting be colored and really wanted orange, his favorite color.  So a light orange frosting it became.

Of course, my frosting tip connector split, so I got to frost them the old-fashioned way, with a spreader.  Not the prettiest, but perfect for my boy.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, the batter only made exactly 18 cupcakes – just enough for the class and teachers, so I haven’t had the joy of tasting one of these.  I’m crossing my fingers one makes it way back home for me – because what little tastes I had of the batter and frosting were very tasty.

Now we’ll just have to see how it goes at school…

Edited to add: So far so good.  No complaints.  I also lucked out that it was my friend’s carpool day, so I didn’t even have to walk them in.  🙂  She said she didn’t get any dirty looks, so I’m crossing my fingers all is good.

Also, I did get to try one of these, and the cupcake was really good.  Not what I was expecting from my previous experiences with boxed overly-sweet vanilla cakes.  This one was very buttery with an almost crunchy crust on the tip top.  It went really well with the cream cheese frosting which my oldest and I loved.  Though, according to him, it wasn’t a big hit with the preschool set.  Oh, well.


11 thoughts on “Controversial Vanilla Cupcakes with Light Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Even though they haven’t invented smell-o-vision or a way I can go through my PC screen and eat these lol, I think these look amazing. And you’re right, to me having one snack won’t hurt. My mother wouldn’t let me eat a lot of candy but she did give me treats and I turned out great too. You are most certainly a wonderful parent as far as I can see 😉


  2. Doesn’t it get to be a bit too much… when we can’t even send cupcakes in for a birthday? If there’s 18 cakes, that means only 17 birthdays… so 17 cupcakes out of 200 school days doesn’t seem excessive. I think it’s great that you followed your heart… and your son’s heart:) Loved the flour everywhere… he’ll remember this for sure when he’s older!


  3. my business partner did that making chocolate frosting, only she did it with cocoa…all over my kitchen, it was lovely….i let her lick the paddle (of the kitchen-aid) when the mixing was done, she felt better! 😉


  4. Isn’t it silly how overly complicated our kids’ snacks have gotten? Luckily, my kids were in preschool before the big junk-food hunt down and shoot out. Yes, I want them to eat healthy food most of the time, but I also want them to get to eat treats sometimes and especially on their birthday. What cracks me up isthat most schools have gone to a “no home made” rule. Yeah, why would we want home made with NO Hydrogenated oils, preservatives, fake sugars, chemicals….when we could buy a store bought cupcake with mile high fake shortening frosting and a long list of additives?! Can you tell I am a bit bitter about this stuff? Go Courtney! You totally did the right thing. The birthday boy won and so did all of those lucky kids. Did you end up getting one? 🙂


  5. Just reading these comments and I can’t BELIEVE some schools have a ‘no homemade’ rule!! As you would notice from all us little bloggers we cook, bake and eat A LOT! And I think the reason we all manage to stay healthy is because we know what goes in things! I know exactly how much butter and sugar went in to the cookie in my draw. The store bought muesli bar I bought says it’s only 100 calories but 100 caloies of what? Straight sugar?

    Stick to you guns Courtney, we’re all right behind you. Keyboard at the ready…


  6. I’m so glad you made what your son wanted. It’s his big day after all. I think he deserves cupcakes!!!! And I think you’re an awesome mom for whipping these up for him. He’ll remember it. 🙂


  7. Healthy cupcakes?! Sinful, haha. I’m glad you went with what your son wanted as well. A bit more sugar can’t hurt you too much if it’s just once in a while! Hope he had a great birthday. 🙂


Comments make me happy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s