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Polka-Dot Cupcakes

These cupcakes, which are flavored with orange zest, can be made ahead and kept in airtight containers at room temperature overnight or in the freezer up to one week. Decorated cupcakes will keep at room temperature up to three hours.

  • yield: Makes 26




For the Cupcakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup milk

For the Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (not whipped)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees with racks in top and bottom thirds. Line twenty-four muffin cups (1-cup capacity) with paper or foil liners, and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.

  2. Step 2

    Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add orange zest. Beat in flour mixture and milk in three alternating batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture. After each addition, beat until just combined, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as necessary.

  3. Step 3

    Fill prepared muffin cups with about 1/4 cup batter. Bake, rotating pans once, until cupcakes are just golden brown and spring back to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in tins, about 5 minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks. Repeat with any remaining batter. Let cool completely.

  4. Step 4

    Beat cream cheese, butter, and sugar in a small bowl until just smooth. Add milk and vanilla; beat frosting until combined. Use immediately.

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Reviews (11)

  • 24 Jun, 2012

    Its a great idea but personally I don't like cream cheese
    Because I'm not o good artist, I don't make the icing look that good so I just used whipped cream and it tasted great

  • 15 Oct, 2011

    The decorating idea is cute, but the recipe is not very good.. They tasted a bit like cornbread? I wouldn't bake these again, but I would use the decorating example!

  • 22 Mar, 2011

    i like so much

  • 27 Feb, 2011

    The candies to me look like colored chocolate chips.

  • 28 May, 2009

    What are the polka dots made out of ....frosting, or candy? Thanks!:o)

  • 18 Apr, 2009

    What do you call cream cheese? Is it kind of Philadelplhia chesse? Or by what I can replace it?

  • 11 Apr, 2009

    Actually, a stick of American butter equals 4 ounces or 1/2 cup. You can find lots of conversion calculators on line to find a measurement that you're familiar with. I use them often when I cook with European recipes.

  • 10 Jan, 2009

    i believe a "Stick" and "8 Ounces" equal 1 cup

  • 10 Jan, 2009

    i believe a "Stick" and "8 Ounces" equal 1 cup

  • 12 Dec, 2008

    what is mean with 'ounces'?

  • 16 Apr, 2008

    Thanks for specifying weight of butter in your recipe! Here in Australia we don't know what a "stick" of butter is, but always use grams (or ounces is fine).
    Thanks again.