• 24 paper cupcake liners, for cupcake pans
  • 1 (18 1/2 ounce) package plain butter recipe cake mix
  • 1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • frosting, of your choice (optional)
  • 1 Preheat oven to 350.
  • 2 Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
  • 3 Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend on low speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl; increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more. The batter should be smooth and thickened.
  • 4 Fill each cup 2/3 full and place in oven.
  • 5 Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • 6 Remove pans from oven and cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before removing cups from pans. Cool completely before frosting.
  • 7 Eat as is or frost as desired.