This crazy moist Pink cupcakes recipe with marble cream cheese frosting is the prettiest, easiest, most delicious cupcake you will ever make for Valentine´s Day, Baby shower, Birthdays, or any other occasion! My Pink Velvet cupcake is the pretty cousin of the well-known Red velvet cupcake.
They are fluffy and tender with the most beautiful color and mild rosewater flavor (optional). The cream cheese frosting is light, and unlike other butter-based cream cheese frostings, very well balanced in sweetness! If you are interested in complementing the cupcakes with a showstopper cake, why not try my Pink cake recipe?
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- It is extremely easy – You won´t need any fancy ingredients to make these cupcakes. The recipe comes together really easily, a totally doable from scratch even if you are a beginner in the kitchen
- It is super quick – I do not overcomplicate anything in this recipe! The cupcake recipe is not just easy, but quick as well, and my signature cream cheese frosting without butter is done in no time by whipping together 3 ingredients
- It is super delicious – I never compromise on taste! This cupcake is super moist with the perfect cream cheese finish
- No special equipment is needed – All you need is a cupcake tin that you probably already have at home and use your favorite piping nozzle to make the frosting decoration
- It is an honest, detailed tutorial – While this recipe might look long, all the information I have written here, every tip and trick will help you achieve the perfect results without any issues on the way. Remember, baking is science, and every little detail written here is to help YOU!
📝 Ingredient notes
For the Pink vanilla cupcakes
- Butter: Use always unsalted butter as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using European-style 82% fat content butter in all my cupcake recipes. In this Pink muffin recipe, the butter needs to be at room temperature which technically means soft enough to be able to cream but not too soft or runny so avoid last-minute microwaving. The right consistency and temperature of the butter is are very important factors when it comes to the cupcake texture, so please make sure you leave the butter out on the kitchen counter to soften for a few hours before using it
- Granulated Sugar: Standard, all-purpose granulated or white sugar is perfectly fine for making cupcakes, nothing fancy. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my sugar guide
- Egg: Room temperature as always
- Vanilla bean paste: Avoid using artificial vanilla. There are several great brands for fine, pure vanilla, I use Nielsen massey which I love and really recommend
- Flour: All-purpose flour or pastry flour makes the best cupcakes. They are so-called “soft flour” which are low on protein resulting in a delicate, tender texture. It is always a good idea to sift your flour as it tends to form lumps. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my flour guide
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most dessert recipes. Balances flavor and enhances other ingredients
- Baking powder: Has two functions: increase the volume and lighten the texture
- Milk: Room temperature whole milk is the best
- Pink food coloring: You will need some sort of food coloring to make this recipe. Freeze-dried raspberries can be used as a natural alternative, however, they won´t give bright color as gel food colorings. Whenever you use food coloring, try to choose a high-quality concentrated gel or powder in order to achieve bright colors. In terms of quantity, it is hard to give measurements when it comes to food coloring since it largely depends on the brand you chose to use. As a general rule, start with a small amount (using a toothpick), then increase it gradually. If your batter before baking has a bright pink color, it should be colorful enough after baking, see my process picture later
- White vinegar+baking soda: The SECRET ingredients to make cupcakes super moist and tender even after days, the exact opposite of those sad-looking dry ones from the stores
- Rosewater (optional): You can totally make the cupcakes in vanilla flavor only but why not try rosewater? I am using rose water in this recipe however if you are using rose essence, that is a much more concentrated product, you only need to use a tiny amount of that to achieve the same taste. Rosewater is rather a "love it or hate it" flavor, so feel free to skip it if you don´t like it or adjust the quantity to add more or less according to your liking. If you haven´t tried it before, I really recommend starting using it in desserts, it pairs amazingly with raspberry, white chocolate, lemon, orange, litchi, etc.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
For the Cream cheese frosting
- Mascarpone: Very rich Italian cream cheese, exceptionally smooth and easy to spread, or whip. The flavor is milky and slightly sweet, use the full-fat version
- Cream cheese: I always use full-fat Philadelphia when I state cream cheese in my recipes. I find it easy to cream and very pleasant in taste.
- Icing sugar / Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar is the first choice when it comes to whipping up the frosting. The question I often get is whether the quantity is a typo. NO, it´s not! You do not actually need a lot of sugar when you are using mascarpone! Instead, let the mascarpone and cream cheese flavor shine. See my tips below for whipping up the perfect cupcake frosting without butter and without tons of sugar
- Vanilla bean paste: As per above
- Pink food coloring: As per above
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. How to make moist pink cupcakes
This is a super simple base vanilla cupcake recipe that makes 6 wonderful tall bakery-style cupcakes.
- Cream butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer for a few minutes, then whip in the egg until fully combined
- Sift together dry ingredients (flour+baking powder+salt) and mix together the remaining wet ingredients (milk+rosewater+pink food coloring)
- Mix in the wet and dry ingredients in 4 steps: wet, dry, wet, dry. Make sure you finish with dry ingredients
- Mix vinegar and baking soda together in a small bowl, it will be super bubbly. Immediately fold the mixture into the cupcake batter in a few seconds
- Fill your cupcake tin till ¾ and bake the cupcakes at 175 C / 347F (no fan) for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean, then let them cool completely on a Cooling rack before frosting
💡 Top Tip: Room temperature ingredients encourage proper emulsification on the cupcake batter therefore make sure that butter, egg, and milk are all at room temperature.
2. How to make cream cheese frosting without butter
This frosting is super simple, it consists of full-fat Philadephia cream cheese, mascarpone, and a small amount of icing sugar / powdered sugar whipped until fluffy, pipeable consistency. It is creamy, milky, a super stable frosting, and way more delicious and less sweet than buttercream!
Using the right ingredients at the right temperature is extremely important while making cream cheese frosting.
1. Mascarpone should be cold, use the full-fat version (41%+) 2. Cream cheese should be also cold, use the full-fat version 3. Powdered sugar has to be sifted to avoid lumps
Whip the mixture with an electric hand mixer for a minute or two until it reaches a creamy, fluffy consistency, then stop. It won´t get stiffer after this point, in fact, if you overbeat it, it will get only runnier then it will break. I don´t use my stand mixer to whip this frosting since it is really easy to overwhip it.
💡 Top Tip: If you do not have mascarpone, the recipe works with high-fat content (36%) heavy cream as well, use it very! cold
3. How to make marble cupcake frosting
Divide the cream cheese frosting into 3 equal quantities with the help of a Digital scale. Leave one of them as it is and color 2 of them with 2 different shades of pink. Then, place them next to each other onto a kitchen foil as per the picture below. Roll kitchen foil and place it into a piping bag fitted with Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip. Then the magic happens, as you pipe, the frosting will automatically turn into this beautiful colorful marble pattern!
If the frosting is stable enough and the cupcakes are at room temperature, start frosting the cupcakes one by one. Then, finish with some sprinkles. Store the cupcakes in the fridge in a container with the lid on. For more information read my how to store and freeze cupcakes baking guide.
💡 Top Tip: Always test the frosting by piping on a plate to check the consistency and temperature. If it is more on the soft side, place it into the fridge for 30 minutes before decorating the cupcakes
🎓 Expert tips
- Always use room temperature ingredients that can properly emulsify. If your butter or milk or egg is cold, the cupcake batter might even break
- There is a huge difference between pure rosewater, pure rose essence, and all the other fake ones. Make sure to only use 100% natural pure rose products. There is also a difference between rosewater and rose essence. Rosewater is sold in a larger bottle usually and you have to use more of that vs. rose essence, which is a concentrated product
- Do not overmix the cupcake batter, once butter, sugar, and egg are whipped, the rest of the wet and dry ingredients should be gently mixed in without overmixing the batter
- Do not overfill your cupcake tin, for this cupcake recipe, I recommend filling your cupcake tin until ¾. The recipe is designed to make 6 tall cupcakes. Cupcake cases are coming in different sizes in terms of their height, try to buy the taller ones. My muffin case is 35mm / 1.3 inch in height and 65mm / 2.5inch in diameter. If you overfill your cupcake tin it will result in “mushroom-style” cupcakes!
- When using food coloring, avoid cheap supermarket liquid food coloring and aim for high-quality gel or powder coloring that brings a bright color without needing to use too much of it
- Cream cheese frosting is very easy to overwhip. When whipping the frosting stop as soon as the mixture reached a fluffy consistency (will take 1-2 minutes). It won´t get stiffer after this point, in fact, if you overbeat it, it will get only runnier then it will break
- Never frost warm cupcakes, wait until they come to room temperature
- This is a very popular recipe for Baby showers for obvious reasons. Feel free to replace the pink food coloring with blue for a Boy themed Baby shower
- Decorate the cupcakes with these white chocolate covered strawberries
- For Valentine´s day, why not try also my heart shaped cookies or red velvet brownies recipe?
☝️ 7 Secrets for making crazy moist cupcakes
1. Do not change the Recipe Ingredients
I suggest not to change the recipe ingredients unless you are an expert and aware of how to fully reformulate it. If you decide to leave out eggs or choose to go for dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, etc., I can almost guarantee that it will result in an imbalance in the ingredients making the pink cupcakes either too dry, too crumbly, too wet, or too oily, etc. in their texture. It is absolutely possible to make moist “free-from” cupcakes but that requires a totally new recipe instead of skipping certain ingredients
2. Use the Secret ingredient
I call it the secret ingredient, it is not really secret though since I share this tip in all my muffin recipes. Once the cupcake batter comes together – before baking – mix a small amount of (½ teaspoon) white vinegar with a small amount of (½ teaspoon) baking soda. The mixture will foam a bit, then you should quickly fold it into the cupcake butter – I promise this will make cupcakes airy and much lighter than average cupcakes
3. Learn the Technique
You very much have to be careful not over beating your cupcake butter. It might be tempting to pour everything into a stand mixer but please make sure to use a Hand whisk from the point when butter and sugar are already creamed. Beating the cupcake batter too hard can result in too much gluten development that will negatively impact the texture of the cupcakes
4. Be precise while measuring your ingredients
For a consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is inaccurate and not an appropriate way to measure ingredients. Just a little bit too much dry ingredients (eg. flour) or too few wet ingredients (eg. milk) can easily ruin your cupcakes` texture and make them dry.
5. Pay attention to the temperature
Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperate while making these Pink cupcakes. If your butter is too hard, your milk or egg is too cold, they won´t emulsify properly with the rest of the ingredients resulting in an unappealing texture on your cupcakes. When it comes to temperature, oven temp is also super important as baking these cupcakes on too high temp or for too long can result in a dry texture. Make sure you invest in an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to be able to measure your oven temp correctly.
6. Might apply soaking syrup
Soaking syrup is a common trick people use to make their cakes moist, you can use the same method for cupcakes. It is not mandatory and I don´t use it in this Pink cupcake recipe but you can always brush the top of the cupcakes or even drizzle them with syrup that fits with the flavor eg. a raspberry syrup in this case
7. Storage the cupcakes correctly
Once cupcakes are well baked and beautifully frosted, the appropriate storage is important to avoid dry cupcakes. Instead of leaving them on a plate, store the cupcakes in a container with a tight-fitting lid on – in the fridge.
The recipe makes 6 tall bakery-style cupcakes. My muffin case is 35mm / 1.3 inch in height and 65mm / 2.5inch in diameter. You can easily double or half it, however, you will need to adjust the ingredient quantities accordingly.
Most probably yes, you can, however, you can´t just leave out / change an ingredient without reformulating the entire recipe. When one ingredient changes, some other ingredients need to be changed too in order to keep the balance in the texture and flavor. Sadly, I am not able to provide substitutes for all sorts of allergies and diets.
This is a super moist cupcake and I have a whole section above about my 7 secrets to making moist cupcakes
The most common reasons for dry cupcakes: 1. ingredients not measured correctly eg. too much flour added to the mixture 2. inappropriate mixing technique eg. over mixed cake batter 3. over baked, meaning it dried out too much.
Probably the cupcake would have needed more baking time. Either, it was taken out of the oven too soon, or perhaps your oven is under heat. Another issue that can cause raw texture is measuring the ingredients inappropriately eg. adding less flour to the recipe
You will want to follow my tips above about the ingredients and how to properly whip this kind of frosting. Cream cheese and mascarpone must be high-fat versions. Make sure that you stop whipping the cream as soon as the mixture is fluffy and pipeable, as a minute later it will break and become runny.
Any leftover cupcake can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. I suggest you cover the dessert so it does not absorb any smell from the fridge, or from the kitchen.
You can freeze the muffins after baking however I obviously do not recommend freezing the entire cupcake after frosting. Please note that this mascarpone-based frosting cannot freeze
🧁 More Cupcake recipes
Pink cupcakes (VIDEO)
- 110 g (½ cups) Unsalted butter soft, room temperature
- 110 g (½ cups) Granulated sugar
- 1 Egg room temperature
- 130 g (1 cups) All purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Baking powder
- 135 g (½ cups) Whole milk room temperature
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla
- ½ tablespoon Rose water optional. adjust quantity according to your taste
- ½ teaspoon White vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- Pink food coloring high quality concentrated gel, or powder
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 120 g (½ cups) Mascarpone
- 65 g (½ cups) Icing sugar sifted
- 226 g (1 cups) Cream cheese
- Pink food coloring
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Heat oven to 175 C / 347°F no fan
- Mix pink food coloring and vanilla into room temperature milk, then mix in rosewater (optional)
- Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together, this is the “dry ingredients”, while the room the milk mixture is your "wet ingredient"
- Start adding the dry and wet ingredients into the cupcake batter in the following 4 steps: wet, dry, wet, dry. Fold with a Rubber spatula fold each time. Finish with dry ingredients
- Mix vinegar and baking soda together in a small bowl, it will be super bubbly. Immediately fold the mixture into the cupcake batter. This is the secret ingredient to keep the cupcakes soft for days without the taste of vinegar of course!
- Bake for 25 min or until a skewer inserted comes out clean then let them cool on Cooling rack
Cream cheese frosting
- Divide the frosting into 3 equal quantities. Leave one of them as it is and color 2 of them with 2 different shades of pink.
- Place the 3 different colors next to each other onto a kitchen foil as per the picture. Roll kitchen foil and place it into a piping bag fitted with Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip
- Pipe frosting on top one by one
- Store the cupcakes in fridge
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- All ingredients for the cupcake must be at room temperature to properly emulsify: eggs, milk, etc.
- Use high-quality concentrated gel food coloring (or powder, if you can access it). Liquid food coloring tends to fade during baking
- Do not skip the white vinegar+baking soda "secret ingredient":)
- For frosting make sure you use high-fat content cream cheese and mascarpone. Low fat dairy products won´t whip up properly
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking.
- While whipping the cream cheese frosting, pay very close attention to the consistency and stop whipping immediately after it gets fluffy. Overbeating would result in breaking the cream and instead of becoming stiffer, in fact, it will get runnier
- Never frost warm cupcakes, make sure they are chilled to room temperature
- If you have never used a piping bag and piping nozzle before, it is practicing on a plate before piping on top of the cupcakes