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Recipe:  Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
1 8 oz. pack of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 lb. of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

It is really important to have the butter and cream cheese at room temperature. Your icing is going to be lumpy if you don't and you CANNOT microwave icing to try to make it right. Put all the ingredients in bowl and mix with a mixer until smooth. 
Make a box cake/cupcakes special by putting this fabulous icing on top. Garnish with fresh berries, nuts, coconut, mint - you are only limited by your imagination.

Spruce up a boxed lemon cake by substituting the water that you're supposed to add with defrosted lemonade. When the cake comes out of the oven, removed from the pans and cooled, brush it with more of the lemonade for a moist, delicious cake. This will also help the cake not to make crumbs in your icing when you frost it. You can garnish this lovely with a sprig of mint and a twist of lemon right on top in the middle.

To make any box cake more moist, just add an entire small box of instant pudding. Vanilla is best for cakes that are not strongly flavored with a fruit (such as lemon or strawberry).

To make a different sort of cupcake, fill the cupcake tin up about 1/4 full. Put a teaspoon of your favorite jam or preserves in the middle then put more cupcake mix over to cover the jam. Bake and ice the cupcakes as usual. This is also a great way to use up that little bit of fruit you have left over that is starting to wilt a bit. Make lemon cake mix and use a few blueberries in the middle. Make a butter or yellow cake mix and use a few diced peaches, plums, or even a strawberry in the middle. If you want to make them a sort of coffee cake type, use a the yellow or butter cake mix but instead of fruit mix 1 part cinnamon to 2 parts brown sugar, a few raisins and chopped walnuts or pecans. Sprinkle some of this mix in the middle. When these cupcakes are almost done (between 5 to 10 minutes left to cook), pull them out and put more of this mix on top and put them back in the oven for the remainder of the time. You won't have to ice them this way.


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