Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing and a Joy the Baker Book Review

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Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

This week in the series of Joy the Baker spotlight and cook-off posts we were asked to write a review of the full cookbook.  And to be honest, I only have positive things to say.

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

The Joy the Baker Cookbook has all of the elements that make me love a cookbook:

  • Beautiful colorful photos for EVERY recipe
  • Clear lists of ingredients and instructions that are easy to follow
  • Creative recipes that I wish I had come up with first
  • The author’s personal favorites of some classics
  • Interesting prose to introduce the author and the book as well as each recipe

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Sometimes when reviewing a product, I get a little nervous because I’ve been disappointed in the quality or it just isn’t as “great” as I thought it could be.  Well, in Joy’s case, the situation is the exact opposite.  As a fan of her blog for years, I certainly had high expectations for the cookbook.  But when the book came in the mail a few weeks ago, I could not stop reading through the recipes and staring at each photo.  I created a mile-long list of recipes that I can’t wait to try and each time I page through the book again (which I do for fun), I find something else that I can’t wait to make.

Her charming and funny personality shines through in every page and the variety of recipes does not disappoint.  Just to give you a few examples of things I still am dying to make:

  • Peanut Butter and Jam Milkshake
  • Baked Coffee Cake French Toast
  • Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Glaze

And the list goes on…

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

So in this final week I couldn’t help but make another recipe to share.  This time I went with her Simple Vanilla Cupcakes and topped them with the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.  I adapted the recipes slightly, but was thrilled with the flavors in the cupcakes and the icing.

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook
Makes 12 cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 x-large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup skim milk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy
Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed after each one
Add vanilla and beat until combined; scrape sides of bowl with a spatula and beat batter for another minute
Add half of flour mixture and turn mixer on low speed just until combined; add milk and mix on low until incorporated; add remaining flour and mix on low for one minute
Remove bowl from mixer and use a spatula to fold any unincorporated dry ingredients into the batter
Divide batter evenly among cups (a cookie dough scoop or small ladle can be helpful); bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from center of cupcakes
Allow cupcakes to cool for several minutes before removing from pan; allow to cool completely prior to frosting

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces regular cream cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsweetened good quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese on high speed with an electric mixer until smooth
Add butter and beat until light and creamy; scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat for another minute
Add cocoa powder and mix on low speed until combined
Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined; scrape the sides of the bowl again and beat on high speed until icing is light and fluffy
Distribute frosting evenly among cupcakes

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef.  I received a free copy of the Joy the Baker Cookbook but all opinions expressed are my own.

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51 Responses to “Simple Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing and a Joy the Baker Book Review”

  1. Cassie March 7, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    These look amazing. So glad you enjoyed the book!

  2. Kathryn March 7, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I can’t wait to get my copy – it’s really annoying that it seems to come out here a month later than in the States! Great choice of recipe as well, you can’t beat a vanilla cupcake and I love that chocolate cream cheese icing!

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      Thanks, Kathryn! I can’t wait to hear what you think when you get the book:-)

  3. Jen at The Three Little Piglets March 7, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    That’s the latest cookbook that I’ve added to my cookbook wishlist (which is out of control)! I’m always glad to know when someone really liked it.

  4. Part Time House Wife March 7, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    The perfect cupcake combo! Buzzed ya

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      Thank you!

  5. Sandra March 7, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    I’d love to try this recipe for a full cake, it sounds delicious. That chocolate cream cheese frosting is the stuff dreams are made of!

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      It would be delicious for a full cake! Just double each of the recipes for an 8 or 9-inch two layer cake:-)

  6. Jennie @themessybakerblog March 7, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    These look amazing. Love your photos, especially the one where the cupcake has a bite taken out of it. You have such a lovely site.

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      Thank you so much, Jennie!

  7. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite March 7, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    these are gorgeous!! I love that you piled that frosting nice and high :) I really need to get a copy of this book!

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      I was in the mood for a big frosting to cake ratio:-)

  8. Emily @ Life on Food March 7, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    That seriously looks like the most perfect cupcake. My favorite of all time is vanilla with chocolate frosting. I definitely want to get my hands on that book and it is great to hear it is worth it. Pictures are essential for me and good cookbook.

  9. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga March 7, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    I met Joy last week and watched her cook in person (blogged about it) and she is the sweetest, most fun-loving, kindest person…her humor on her book pages is just what she’s like in real life.

    And every recipe in the book, I want to make. And I never say that about cookbooks!

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      So jealous that you got to meet her! Glad to know that she is just as awesome in real life:-)

  10. ErinCroutons March 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I too love that you piled the frosting extra high. I don’t bake much – the intimidation of measuring and (still) messing up gets me every time – but I think I just might try this!

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      Thanks, Erin. Once you get used to the exact measuring it becomes less intimidating and a lot more fun!

  11. Cucina49 March 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    That’s a delicious, classic cupcake. I can never get enough of moist vanilla cupcakes OR cream cheese icing.

  12. Choc Chip Uru March 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Sometimes simplicity is best – these cupcakes look divine :D

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Brown Butter Mixed M&M Chewy Cookies

  13. Kiri W. March 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Oh, that looks fantastic – that icing especially makes me swoon! :)

  14. Kris March 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    Crap…now I really really really need a cupcake…. :)

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      Just say the word and I’ll set aside a cupcake and big slice of cake for you!

  15. Maureen March 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    These look so good.

    I have a question. How the heck do you take a bite out of a cupcake like this with all that icing and not get the icing up your nose?

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:44 am #

      Your cupcake made me laugh! My husband took the giant bite so not quite sure how I managed… but really frosting all over my face is usually worth it:-)

  16. Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) March 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Peanut Butter & Jam Milkshake – that sounds incredible!! I’ve been reading Joy’s blog for a year or two now, and I’d love to check out her cookbook – sounds awesome.

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:44 am #

      I know, the recipe is almost so obvious but so creative. Definitely check it out:-)

  17. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic March 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    My favorite cupcake is actually yellow cake with chocolate icing so this sounds so absolutely perfect to me! I still have to get Joy’s cookbook!

  18. Veronica March 8, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Mmm, those cupcakes look perfect! Thanks for the review, I’m looking forward to getting my own copy. :) So, did you share these as “samples” with your co-workers as a parting gift? I bet you’ll get some business from them!

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      I actually kept these at home because my husband said they were “too good” to share lol!

  19. CouponClippingCook March 8, 2012 at 2:33 am #

    These cupcakes look sooooo good. The frosting sounds just delicious. Thank you for the cookbook review too.

  20. Let Me Eat Cake March 8, 2012 at 3:23 am #

    i can’t wait to get Joy’s book!

  21. thelittleloaf March 8, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    Love love LOVE Joy The Baker and can’t wait for her book to arrive here in the UK…only 2 weeks to go!

  22. Joanne March 8, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! But…I’m going to have to on Friday I guess. Or at least die trying.

    Your photos are looking AWESOME lady! Whatever you’re doing, keep it up!

    • KeepItSweet March 8, 2012 at 10:46 am #

      Now if only I had any idea what I was doing I could keep it up;-) Meanwhile I felt like my photos for this post were all over the place so thanks, love!

  23. sammi Richardson March 8, 2012 at 7:48 am #


    These cupcakes look amazing! I’m a big fan of chocolate. I work for Kamut International. I bet this recipe would be equally as delicious if made with Kamut wheat flour too. Yum!

    Thanks for sharing!

  24. Erin March 8, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Pretty sure I am moving this cookbook from my wishlist to my shopping cart on amazon right now.

  25. Heather @girlichef March 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    Awesome review, Lauren…and I’m totally psyched that you seem to love this book just as much as I do. Thank you so much for being a part of this Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off =). Now, pass me cupcake!

  26. Jaime @ Jaim's Kitchen March 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    These cupcakes are scrumptious! Joy is such an inspiration. Looking forward to more posts when you try the other recipes :)

  27. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts March 8, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    These look fabulous! I love the chocolate cream cheese frosting piled up on top! This cookbook sounds like one I need to add to my wishlist!

  28. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious March 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    Nicely done!! A great recipe to finish with. It’s been fun baking along with you :)
    Take care..

  29. Cathy at Wives with Knives March 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    I agree with all of your comments about Joy’s new book. I can’t wait to try every single recipe. I have enjoyed meeting you in this fun cook-off. Very nice post.

  30. Michelle March 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    The texture of these cupcakes looks fantastic. I’ve found that everything I made from Joy’s book had excellent texture…especially the jalapeno chive biscuits. Chocolate cream cheese icing is on my (long) list of things to try. It was fun baking with you!

  31. Annie Oakley's Kitchen March 9, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Great review and cupcakes! I’ll have to keep this in mind the next time I am cookbook shopping. Thanks!

  32. Deborah March 9, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    I have only heard good things about this cookbook and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of it!!

  33. christy March 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    mmmm cupcakes….
    i love your style of review…i am enjoying the cookbook too!

  34. Kristina March 11, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    That frosting looks too good! I just bought her cookbook a couple days ago and I can’t wait to dive into the recipes! They all look so good I can’t decide where to start!

  35. Kim March 12, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    You hit the nail on the head when you described this book. It really does have everything I look for in a cookbook. So nice to know that someone else feels the same way as I do:) Those cupcakes look fantastic!

  36. Hallie84 March 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    This looks so tasty. I’m already drooling over it!


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