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Vanilla Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These vanilla spice cupcakes are a simple small batch, one-bowl cupcake recipe made with brown sugar. Top them with tangy cream cheese frosting and some sprinkles for a fun treat!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brown sugar cupcake, vanilla spice cupcake


  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature 60 g
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 100 g
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil 60 mL
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour 120 grams
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 1/2 cup butter 113 g
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature 67 g
  • 1 cup icing sugar 120 grams
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Vanilla Spice Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar.
  • Add the egg and mix again for a few minutes.
  • Add in the oil and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  • Next, sift in the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  • Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners (about 7-9).
  • Bake at 350ºF for 12-15 minutes. Cupcakes are done when toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool cupcakes in cupcake tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a large bowl, beat room temperature butter with softened cream cheese until fluffy – about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add in 1/3 cup icing sugar at a time and mix until incorporated.
  • Repeat process, until all icing sugar has been used up.
  • Beat until incorporated and frosting is light and fluffy.
  • If frosting is too soft, add in more icing sugar (2 tbsp at a time), if too frosting is too stiff, add a little cream (1 teaspoon at a time)
  • Transfer frosting to a piping bag, fitted with a tip like the Wilton 2D tip.

Assemble & Decorate

  • Swirl frosting onto cupcakes as desired.
  • Sprinkle with sprinkles if using