Photo: sassyradish, Flickr
Really, we all know the real reason why cupcakes are so popular. Cupcakes are basically an edible utensil for eating frosting, particularly when it comes to certain cupcake "flavors" like red velvet. What the hell is "red velvet?" It's nothing more than a fancy way to shamelessly eat a quarter- to half-cup full of cream cheese frosting.
Cream cheese frosting, you see, is the best frosting out there, and I have stumbled across the end-all, be-all recipe for it. Strangely enough, it's been under my nose this whole time in my trusty Joy of Cooking cookbook for years. I just never noticed it. At first I didn't trust it because it seemed way too easy compared to "fancier" recipes that make you think you need to be Ina Garten to make it, but this recipe is almost so easy, even Sandra Lee could make it. Ouch. Was that too harsh? See, that's how easy this recipe is.
Beat 8 oz. cold cream cheese (not rock solid, but it means you can use it straight out of the refrigerator) with 5 Tbsp. softened butter and 2 tsp. vanilla until combined. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar that has been sifted after measuring. Continue to add more sifted powdered sugar until you reach a consistency and sweetness that fits your taste.
No softening the cream cheese (though you do have to plan ahead with the butter). No whipping to a certain point that occurs for all of ten seconds before it's ruined. The hardest part is not eating the frosting straight from the bowl by the spoonful.
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