flower cupcakes

cupcakes, recovered

chocolate cream cheese frosting


i think we have 130

softly now

total show-offs

Flower Cupcakes
Adapted from Ina Garten

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 2/3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, two at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Fill the cupcake liners to the 2/3-level with batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

For the icing, mix the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, mixing just until smooth. Spread the frosting generously on top of each cupcake.

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86 comments on flower cupcakes

  1. Phc


    I did banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting last night and DAMN! You can so easily forget how delicious cream cheese frosting is…

  2. deb

    Thank you!

    Jacelyn – So, the ones that had spilled over, and were slightly underbaked (I talked about this last time) had a great texture, actually. A little sweet, but very moist. The perfect-looking ones were a little on the dry side, but still tasty. I was paranoid about underbaking them, so think I swung too much in the other direction.

    I haven’t figured out *what* yet, but something more than over-filled cups went wrong with the first recipe – they taste too different. Still, I’d use this again.

    Phc – Recipe, please! I had thought about making banana cupcakes, actually, or apple ones. I love the fruit/cream cheese frosting combination. In the end, I went for the most generic. Next time I will not.

  3. Honestly, I wish you could send baked goods through the mail.

    Every time you post new pictures, I’m ready to lick my computer screen, too.

    Those cupcakes look so delicious! I wish I lived closer, too. If I ever make it to NYC, could you bake me some sweet treats for the trip home? :)

  4. ann

    that frosting looks so yummy and fluffy
    i bet it’s the kind of frosting that makes a cute little beak on your nose when you bite too deeply into the cupcake
    that’s good frosting!

  5. I think I torture myself by visiting your site. It always makes me soooo hungry. But it also inspires me to cook a little more and rely less on quick dinners, so thanks. :)

  6. Christine

    I am making thses this week for my students (I am a high school teacher) and I can’t wait! If I made them and kept them around…it would just be bad. Anyway, I bought some course vanilla sugar to put on top the frosting…I can’t wait!!! I hope they are only half as good as yours look. By the way…about how many does the recipe make? And, would you suggest doubling it? Or, rather, making 2 seperate batches???

  7. Michelle

    I love cupcakes! And, these look awesome! I will definitely try this recipe out.

    Christine – where did you buy course vanilla sugar?

  8. those look absolutely divine! question…what does one do with so many cupcakes? I mean, besides sharing, of course. I never know how to get my lil creations to people who want them! How do YOU generally transport them? That’s always the problem that I have. =(

  9. Michelle

    jnet – I found some cupcakes boxes on the Williams Sonoma website. Just search the word ‘boxes’ and it should come up.

    I’ve also just backed up the cupcakes and then frosted them at their destination, if I had to transport them.

    But it is tough moving them around.

  10. Christine

    Michelle: I found this little cooking ‘gallery’ in a nearby town and they had all different kinds of sugars and the vanilla sugar just jumped out at me.

  11. Jessica

    Deb, you know that we are all jealous and hate whoever the recipients of your confections are, don’t you? :-) They are beautiful – almost as pretty as all the ones that you made before your wedding and posted about.

  12. deb

    Abby – Heheh. You’d have to live closer to Brooklyn to get a hold of these. That’s where they all went. They’re a generous bunch though, I’m sure they’d share.

    Browneyedgirlie – Cupcakes, as far as I know, are completely un-mailable. What a mess! Now you have to bake them yourself and report back to us. I want to know if my results were consistent, because mine so totally were not between batches.

    Phc – Those look great! I definitely want to try those for another party.
    Btw, my bread-baking teacher thinks my issues with Crisco are a sign of me smoking crack, but I don’t know if I can trust a man who sprays Pam on everything. Everything. He even suggested I spray cupcake liners when I said I wanted to make brownie cupcakes but find too much of them come off when you peel the papers.
    Ann – I totally got some on my nose. And Alex thought the brown ones looked… um, gross. I might need to work on my piping designs!

    Tammi, Kamilah, Diane – Thank you.

    Traci – (Brushes hands off.) Then my work here is done. :)

    Christine – It’s supposed to make 22-24 big and I find that you definitely get at least 3-to-1 on miniatures, though it depends on the size of your mini pans. I think this recipe makes slighty more of both sizes, but it’s a good guideline to go by if you want to account for the one or two that will certainly need to be tested. Also, at parties, people who are going to eat cupcakes will always eat more than one of the mini. Sometimes, more than 5 heh, but I’m sure that’s just alcohol-related!

    Jnet – I’m so glad you asked! I’ve seen a lot of cupcake carriers lately, but they all demand you pick a size and since I often make both sizes, I could never choose. This time, Ziploc totally saved the day. They have these rectangular containers with enough height that the frosting doesn’t hit the lid, plus, being rectangular they fit neatly stacked in a shopping bag. They hold about 16-17 minis and maybe 8 big ones. It’s the 9.5 cup size, and I think the only one that’s rectangular. I bought a LOT of containers, but at least I’ll have them now for the future. (I even asked for them back, as my cupcake-baking services are often requested at this place, hee.)

    Also, I have occasionally gone to a bakery and begged them for cake boxes, usually for a few bucks. They’re not as sturdy, though, or stackable.

    Jessica – Don’t hate them! It was for their engagement party. In fact, I offered to make the couple a wedding cake, too, but as it will be a glatt kosher wedding and 1) Crisco issues, 2) my kitchen couldn’t be less Kosher if it tried, I settled for going to town on cupcake-baking instead.

  13. Jezzie

    This is just a cruel tease, why do I do it to myself? But without fail, every tues, thurs morning when I come in I check for your newest creations at my bland and boring desk. These treats are like a stripper in sequins dancing just for me. Gah.
    I would be so fat if we were friends. Your talents are irresistibly mouth watering. Its diet…

  14. deb

    Jezzie – Diet porn, love it!

    M – I don’t like to admit this because it draws aggravated ire from people, but I haven’t (hangs head in shame) used my stunning white Kitchen Aid that my mother got me as a wedding shower present in June of 2005 yet. But, before anyone gets upset, I need to remind that I have ONE counter in my kitchen at if I put the Kitchen Aid on it, I can’t use it for anything else, which sort of goes against the whole food prep thing I’m trying to do. I love it from afar, and one day, one day when we’re fancy and have even one-point-five counters to spare, we will be together.

    Ok! That was quite a lot of guilt, eh? (So much for atoning!) That was my very drawn-out way of saying that I actually use my hand-mixer for everything, and you should feel wholly comfortable doing the same, in this recipe and others. Never believe a recipe that deems these expensive machines non-negotiables; people have been baking cakes and kneading doughs for much longer than they have been in existence.

  15. Kate

    i did the flower cupcakes and it is so great i want to get all the recipes..although i usually did 10 flavors of cupcakes…..

  16. Thea

    Hark! I am no longer alone! I haven’t used my Kitchen Aid artisan either… I’ve hade it since 2004 but I still use my hand mixer… shamefully I HAD to have it! I know I am way late… but I just discovered your site today via How About Orange’s blog spot… thanks now this will be a daily read! My husband is looking over my shoulder .. I am a Jamaican cook, married to an American eater:)living in NY

  17. eliza

    My 4 yo daughter slept the entire night in her bed (a big deal!), so we celebrated with cupcakes. I made these at 8 this morning and 1234 they were done! A half recipe made 14 cupcakes, perfect and yummy! Thanks!

  18. Jackie

    Thanks so much for this recipe! It is simply DELICIOUS! [By the way I used a hand mixer and I think they turned out just fine.] Made these for my daughter to take to school and treat her classmates & teachers for Valentine’s Day. I added red food coloring to the frosting and topped them off with heart sprinkles. I will DEFINITELY be using this recipe again. Just marvelous!

  19. Jennifer

    These cupcakes look too, too cute! What do you use to pipe the frosting? I love the concentric ring plop look. Also, what is the crumb like on these cupcakes? I’m looking for a vanilla cupcake recipe with a dense, pound cake-ish texture. You mention that these were a bit sweet. Do you think that the sugar could be reduced to, say, 2 1/3 (without adjustment to the other ingredients)? Lastly, have you tried hummingbird cake/cupcakes? They contain banana, pineapple and pecans and are typically topped with cream cheese frosting, so they may fit the bill for a banana cupcake hankering. and both have recipes for them. Thanks again for the great recipes and enlightening commentary!

  20. MissionBakingGal

    I’m attempting these today – before I even saw this post!! My mom uses them at her shop – Yummy in Yellowknife. My only question is the eggs – I’m going to use large not XL, is that really going to matter? I saw that on the comments on that people thought they were too sweet as well. I’m looking for a white cupcake for my company, Mission City Baking Company, and the Martha one I just tried wasn’t a hit. Have any suggestions? I’ll let you know how they turn out! (Maybe even send you a pic of them all decked out – how do I do that?)

  21. Mary

    I am making a caterpillar cake for my daughter’s first birthday and I think I’m going to use this cupcake recipe! I’m making them today as a test run, so far the batter was delicious and they smell even better! :D

  22. teri

    i made these are they are SO good. but the middles sank! i was very careful not to overmix them. i did not have extra large eggs, so wondering if that had anythign to do with it?

    any suggestions? and how do you make the gorgeous swirls for the frosting. looks like it shoudl be easy, but i flunked. for my family it was all about eting and less about presentation, but i would like to perfect them to be able to give them away


  23. Francheska

    These look lovely Deb, But seriously, Ill just pipe a rosette, I cant stop giggling, I’m 20 and I cant stop giggling at the poo frosting.

  24. jai in the UK

    I am surprised Jay’s “comments” are still on here, isn’t this space for comments, not a full blow by blow account of how fans make the recipe.

  25. gina

    Made these tonight and they are awesome. I used large not XL eggs so made it with 7 – came out great. My only problem is piping on the frosting. My cupcakes always end up looking… less than perfect. Any tips?

  26. Dave J.

    These are pretty great–made them today for my 2 year old son’s b-day party. I made them in a mini muffin tin, and the only thing I’d say about that is that they were ready in about 16-17 minutes, so if you make them mini size, take that into account.

  27. Kristen

    I am looking for a moist and light cupcake recipe. Would this be one? Or is it more of a dense cupcake, like a pound cake? If it is dense, do you have any suggestions for a light, fluffy, moist cupcake? Thanks so much. These look lovely!

  28. Jane

    Just made these last night and….wowee. So delicious! The frosting was my favorite part (perfected with extensive taste testing).

    A few things, in case anyone else runs into these issues:

    I completely forgot to sift the sugar for the frosting, and it was still amazing.
    I didn’t have extra-large eggs, so I also used 7 large ones in place of it – worked out fine for me.
    I don’t have a paddle attachment for my hand mixer, but it was fine. However, for the cake batter, I really used the mixer only forbeating in the butter with sugar, until ‘somewhat’ light + fluffy. I wasn’t quite sure how long this process was supposed to take; after reviewing a few photos on other sites with similar recipes, I think I might have under-fluffed a bit, in fear of overmixing it. The rest, I hand mixed.

    Regardless, turned out delicious, and everyone was impressed! I will definitely be making this again (very soon). Thanks Deb!

  29. Marisa

    My batch made 32! They were so yummy.
    I made them with a Mexican chocolate cream cheese frosting. The kids had 3 last night.

    Thanks for the post!

  30. melissa

    i want to ask you how how can i do to don’t over filled the cups when i bake them?
    how many batter i supposed to place in each cup?
    thank you!!!!! deb

    1. deb

      melissa — I find that cupcakes can vary by recipe, oven, temperature, etc. It’s safest to fill a couple 2/3 full and bake them off. If they don’t seem domed enough, bake the remaining cupcakes 3/4 full.

  31. Sarah

    I just made these cupcakes for my bff s birthday and I gave my brothers and sis some of the batter! They loved it said it tastes like frosting ( totally guilty here I tried some and it DID taste like frosting ) yay!!!!!!!!!!!! Go smitten kitchen!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Mica

    Deb, I would like to make this recipe using this frosting. Im setting my cupcakes sideways and would like to know what you would suggest to make the frosting a bit more thick. In another post you had mentioned using gelatin to keep frosting in place. Could you please give me those suggestions? particularly processes you may use. I look forward to your expertise :)

    1. deb

      Mica — I don’t recall the post where I suggested gelatin; maybe to set whipped cream? or a curd filling? I’ve never seen it for frosting like this. I think that this cream cheese frosting or a basic back-of-the-powdered-sugar-box buttercream will hold up fine sideways, as long as they are not iced too tall or heavy, and it’s not meltingly hot where they are.

  33. Mica

    you mentioned maybe thinking about using it when you were making the cake for your friends wedding. I will test it out. Unfortunately, my cupcakes will be in the Houston weather. Thanks for the tips. :)

  34. Michelle

    Making your own vanilla sugar is ridiculously simple. Get a big jar with a tightly sealed lid (I use a quart mason jar) and fill about 3/4 full with sugar. Put in one or two vanilla beans, whole. Seal and let it sit, then shake the jar once a day or so for the first week. It just gets better as it sits! Yum!

  35. I have my daughters 5th birthday party next week but I am worried about the frosting melting! We live in Singapore and the party will be outside- even inside it can get a bit hot. Any suggestions on a frosting recipe that does better in the heat? My absolute favorite is your brown sugar frosting (the peach cupcakes) but I am not sure a buttercream frosting will work in the heat. Thank you!

  36. Annette

    Noticed that you have cornstarch in your recipe. What does that do in this recipe? I can’t figure out what it is added for. Thank you!

    1. Katie Holmes

      I’ve read that this is to make regular all-purpose flour more like cake flour. If you do have cake flour, do you just use 3 and 1/3 cups of that?

  37. I love this site and love Ina Garten, so when I saw this recipe, despite being from Smitten Kitchen’s early days, I knew I wanted to try it for my twins’ 2nd birthday. The cupcakes were delicious but the frosting was a disaster! After a lot of Googling, I learned that mixing the butter and sugar first and THEN adding the cream cheese might’ve prevented it from being a liquidy mess (I even tried adding cornstarch but it didn’t make a big enough difference before starting to taste funny), but at the point I was out of cream cheese. In a last-minute desperation, I just made them with a regular buttercream frosting. I was somewhat disappointed because the cream cheese frosting was tasty, but overall a success.

    1. deb

      I’m so sorry to hear that it was a disaster; I cannot imagine how stressful that was for a birthday party. I have never heard of this mixture liquefying. Was the butter or cream cheese particularly soft? What brands of the ingredients did you use? (There isn’t a right or wrong, of course, but it would be good to know in the future if one created problems.)

    2. Trushna

      I’ve repeated had this problem with cream cheese frostings from this website. I LOVE all of Deb’s recipes, except cream cheese frosting is not my friend! Living in Switzerland, I made sure to use Philly cc and high-fat butter, everything at room temperature, but even after a whopping 1 hour in the FREEZER my cream cheese frosting was still too runny to pipe. I ended up making it into a glaze. What on earth am I doing wrong?

  38. Alison Baumann

    Will this frosting be ok to pipe using a star tip onto the cupcake or should I use a different frosting recipe? Thank you!

  39. Lucia Coco

    They came out really good. I’m 10, and they were pretty easy to make. They came out kind of pale. Why is that? But they tasted AMAZING. I doubled the recipe and got 60. I haven’t put any frosting on yet. I don’t like cream cheese frosting. What frosting would you recommend?

    1. deb

      That’s amazing! You could do a basic buttercream — like the one on the back of the powdered sugar box (although I find you can use much less sugar for the same amount of butter). Pale is usually good for cupcakes; we don’t want them to taste too toasty.

  40. Dianne

    We made these tonight for hubby’s birthday – halved the recipe and use the frosting from this and my 8 yr old came out looking like an expert baker. Just gotta say you can’t mess with Garten. Thanks for keeping this recipe around, would love the back story you usual provide on why you even were making these cupcakes… thanks again for as always a consistent easy and blue ribbon worthy winner of a recipe.

  41. Marsha

    I Love Your Jewish Apple Cake and Can’t Wait to Try Many More our your recipes!
    I Love your website & your sense of humor!! Please Keep Baking!!
    My son-in-law requested your apple cake for Christmas Dinner,
    He says “it’s to die for”! :)