The Perfect Birthday Cupcake Recipe

Sharing is caring!

This is my go to cupcake recipe. I have literally been using this recipe for years. If you come to a birthday party for my kids these are the cupcakes you will be served.

best homemade cupcake recipe

Years ago my mother-in-law gifted me with this amazing cupcake cookbook called he Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor. Her cupcake recipes are what I would call a semi-homemade, as they start off with a boxed cake mix, and as the name suggests, you doctor it up. I love to pair this recipe with with the Chocolate Buttercream Icing recipe or the regular Homemade Buttercream Icing recipe. 

Here is how you make them.

You’ll Need:
1 pkg plain butter golden boxed cake mix
1 8oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 T vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the cake mix, cream cheese, sugar, water, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl on low speed until well blended and then kick it up to a medium speed. I love to use my free standing electric mixer. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides if needed. Continue to mix until smooth and well blended. (Here are some more tricks to doctoring up your boxed cake mix.)

Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners. I like to use a medium sized melon-type scooper to fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Usually this is one and a half scoops.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Use a knife or toothpick to ensure the center is done before removing them from the oven.

Transfer them to a wire rack where they will cool completely before you ice them.

This recipe makes 24 standard size cupcakes. They are dense and incredibly delish!

perfect cupcake fb

Once cool, ice your cupcake and decorate with a cool cupcake topper like these lego candies,  or for an extra treat try cookies on a stick or even embellish with simple figurines and loot as we did for the pirate cupcakes.


Before the party add a fun candle and you’re sure to have an amazingly fun birthday party.

perfect birthday cupcake recipe

Making the cupcakes for my kids parties is seriously one of my favorite parts of the party. I want them to always remember how much fun we have celebrating them. Just know, once your guests taste these, they will always expect them at every party!

More Birthday Party Resources

tricks to make a boxed cake mix better

Tricks to Make a Boxed Cake Mix Better 

Over 100 Kid's Party Themes

100 Kids Birthday Party Ideas

Kid's Birthday Party on a Budget

How to Throw a Birthday Party on a Budget 


The Perfect Birthday Cupcake Recipe

This is the best birthday cupcake recipe!


  • 1 pkg plain butter golden boxed cake mix
  • 1 8oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 T vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.
  3. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Fill each liner 2/3 full with batter mixture.
  4. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  5. Frost and enjoy!


  1. Kelly at Kelly's Lucky You says:

    They look delicious!! I love dense cupcakes.

  2. Andrea @ The Greenbacks Gal says:

    First – love the new look! Second – I challenge you to a cupcake off! My cupcake versus yours.

    1. Andrea- thanks so much. I really like the new look as well.

      Cupcake off? You’ve got it. What’s your recipe?

  3. an ice cream scoop? ingenious!

  4. This sounds like a great recipe, thanks for sharing.

  5. I never thought of doctoring up my box recipe. Thanks!

    1. It really is a yummy recipe. You would never guess it started off as a box mix! 🙂

  6. they sounds delicious!


  7. They look yummy, especially the way they puff up when they’re out of the oven.

  8. Krista @ While He Was Napping says:

    This looks delicious! I’d like to invite you to link it up to my Recipe Exchange! It would be a wonderful addition. Hope to see you there!


  9. Wow, cream cheese for the liquid…interesting and I am going to give it a try! Thanks for sharing! BTW…visiting from NightOwlCrafting linkies 🙂

    1. Regina- the cream cheese makes them so….. wonderful! 🙂 You’ve gotta try it.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Mama Bee Does says:

    I’ll be trying this recipe. Thank you!

  11. YUM! I’m going to have to give these a try for my son’s birthday party this weekend.

  12. I think a lot of bakers will doctor up cake mixes. They may not all admit it, but some do! Hah. The cupcakes look fabulous. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    If you’d like, I wanted to invite you to share your best recipes over at my new party, Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands. I’m going to be featuring my favorite submissions during the week and I’d love it if you’d join in the fun. :O)

  13. The Gloss Girls says:

    Look good!! And seems easy:)

  14. Home made cupcakes are the best! I like to make mine with coconut oil ~ so yummy. 🙂 I think I have only bought one cake from a bakery. I was too tired right after having my 3rd baby to be creative with a Lord of the Rings cake. I like to do something different every year. I recently made a flower pot cake for my daughter’s 6th birthday. Turned out so pretty!

  15. Rebekah Palmer says:

    Home made cupcakes are the best! Thanks for sharing! they sounds delicious!

  16. Can you use a chocolate cake mix (or any other flavors) or does it need to be butter golden? Also, can you use regular cream cheese (or is reduced fat better)? What kind of oil do you like best for baking? I want to try these for my sister’s birthday this weekend. Thanks!

    1. Jenny- I have never tried it, but I bet it would taste just a great.

      I don’t think it matters if you do low fat or regular cream cheese.

      Hope your cake comes out lovely!

  17. Rosalyn Harrison says:

    They look delicious!! I’m drooling on my keyboard!

    1. That small scooper is a lifesaver!

      Off to check out your party.

  18. Great cupcake recipe, I need that cookbook! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen

  19. This sounds really yummy! And the pictures are adorable!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  20. Delicious! I love a good and easy cupcake recipe for visitors or playgroup. Thanks for linking up on Mummy Mondays, apologies for commenting late!

  21. What is your experience with freezing cupcakes when you need to make a very large batch? I am making 250 for a wedding and need to freeze and then decorate them all before the wedding. I decorate cake and freeze my cakes before my crumb coat. Just wondered your thoughts?

  22. It’s just an awesome method to prepare a cupcake..
    My mom used to make a cupcake but without cheese or vegetable oil..
    Wanna tries this method. seems to be another yummy recipe you were shown.. 🙂
    Anyhow thanks very much and keep up the good work.

  23. I never thought to add cream cheese to the box mix but it sounds delicious. I can’t wait to try your recipe…I’m totally in the mood for cupcakes now!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *