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Cookies & Cream Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes w textValentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I adore cutting out paper valentines, hand making red and pink decorations for our home and I especially love baking up sweet treats for the ones I love. The inspiration for this year’s Lillabee Valentine’s Day treat was my 32 year old brother, Austin. Austin has Down’s Syndrome and LOVES Denver Broncos, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the color orange, his 3 year old niece and possibly above all chocolate sandwich cookies. He is also the most genuine and unconditionally loving person I have ever know. So this year for Valentine’s Day, I dedicate this recipe to my little brother with love. I hope you enjoy this classic combination of cookies and cream cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting as much as he does. Be sure to share them with someone you love. 

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Baking! 


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  • One box of Lillabee Classic Yellow Cake Mix
  • (¾ cup of milk (cow, rice, almond, etc)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • ¼ cup butter or non-dairy butter substitute
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8-10 chocolate sandwich cookies (reserve and finely chop 2 chocolate wafers to use a garnish)


Preheat oven to 350◦. Line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. Disassemble one chocolate sandwich cookie and chop 2 chocolate wafers into fine crumbs. Set aside to garnish. Chop remaining chocolate sandwich cookies into small pieces. Prepare one box of Lillabee Classic Yellow Cake Mix as directed on the box. Stir in small pieces of sandwich cookies. Pour batter into lined muffin tins and bake 25-35 min, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.



This simple and sensational frosting comes together quick as a flash and is a complete show stopper! The secret ingredient is vanilla bean paste. I always use the Nielson-Massey brand, as it is certified gluten free and allergy free. You can find it at most fine baking supply stores and here online. I’m completely addicted to this product! I use it in everything from french toast to baked goods to popcorn. It is divine!! 

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Vanilla Bean Frosting Recipe:

  • 1 c. non-hydrogenated shortening or butter (room temp)
  • 3-4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tb vanilla bean paste (or 2 t. vanilla extract)
  • ¼- ½ cup milk (rice, coconut, cow, etc.)
  • ½ tsp sea salt


Using paddle attachment on standing mixer, beat shortening/butter with salt and vanilla bean paste until smooth. Add 1 c. powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Alternate a splash of milk with ½ cup powdered sugar until desired sweetness and consistency is achieved. Whip on medium high speed for 2-3 min.


To assemble: Frost cupcakes with a spatula or pastry bag and tip. Sprinkle tops with ½ tsp finely chopped chocolate wafer. Here’s a little video tutorial I found on you tube that will show you how to decorate them like the pros! (I used a 1A tip like the one used in this video) Enjoy!


Double Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes


Have you been wondering what to do with all of those left over candy canes? Crush them into tiny pieces and sprinkle on top of these heavenly cupcakes.

I am a HUGE fan of chocolate mint combos, so this cupcake recipe might just be my favorite Lillabee creation of the winter season. The cupcakes are moist and chocolaty and the frosting is rich and fudgy. The hint of mint makes them pure perfection in my book. And the crushed candy canes are so fun and whimsical. Yep, they make me happy. 

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!

  • 1 box Lillabee Classic Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1/2 c + 1 T sugar (in addition to sugar already in lillabee cake mix box)
  • 3/4 cup milk (rice/almond)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp peppermint or vanilla extract
  • 6oz cold coffee
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sifted cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 24 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
Combine all liquid ingredients in a bowl and mix (oil, coffee, eggs, milk, vinegar, peppermint extract).  In a separate bowl, sift the cocoa into the Lillabee flour mixture.  Add the sugar to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Then slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions.  Make sure all is thoroughly mixed and scrape down sides when necessary.
Pour the batter equally into the cupcake tins and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Once the cupcakes are in the oven, make the Lillabee chocolate gf/df “butter cream” frosting recipe, but substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla extract.  
Let cupcakes cool for 5 min in the tins, then transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.  Sprinkle crushed candy canes on the top of the frosted cupcakes and enjoy!