Cheese cupcakes are made with condensed milk and cheddar cheese and is a popular Filipino treat. Perfectly sweet and salty with a light and tender texture, you won’t need or miss the frosting here. They’re easy to make, you’ll only need 1 bowl, less than 10 ingredients, the cupcakes are done in less than 30 minutes, and they taste just like home.
(If you’re a fan of these Filipino-style cheese cupcakes, I bet you love these cheese bars too.)
Cheese cupcakes are a pinoy childhood favorite.
In the Philippines, you either bought them at your school’s canteen at recess, or at your local panaderia (bakery) for merienda (snack).
They’re called cupcakes but they don’t have frosting like traditional cupcakes do.
They do have the same fluffy texture, they come in the same paper liners, but honestly, with all that sweet and cheesy deliciousness, you don’t need anything else.
And if it’s the first time you’re hearing of them, I promise you’ll be hooked.
Why you’ll love this recipe
One of my favorite things to do is to recreate treats from home.
They’re not always easy to come by where I live and if I do find them, they’re either overpriced, underwhelming, or both.
So it’s always fantastic when I finally perfect a recipe and I get to share it here on TUB.
This cheese cupcake recipe is one of my newer recipes and fast becoming a favorite.
- Quick and easy. It’s simple and easy to follow. And the cupcakes are done in less than 30 minutes.
- 1-bowl recipe. What’s more, you’ll only need 1 bowl so clean up is that much quicker too.
- Simple ingredients. You’ll also need less than 10 ingredients, most of them you probably already have in your pantry.
- Delicious. Most of all, the cupcakes are delicious. They taste like the ones from home, only better!
How to make
Making these cupcakes is quick and easy.
You’ll need pantry staples like butter, all purpose flour, vanilla extract and baking powder. A few things to note:
- Sweetened condensed milk — here in Canada, we get condensed milk in 300-ml cans (I most often use the Eagle brand – not sponsored!). Converted to ounces, technically that comes out to 10-oz, so that’s what I put in the recipe card. I always get questions — especially from bakers in the States — because they can only get 14-oz cans there. After much googling, I found that this 14-oz can, when poured into a measuring cup, amounts to 10-oz (source). So if you can only get 14-oz and you’re in the States, you can use that. In Canada or elsewhere where it’s sold in ml, get the 300-ml can.
- Cheese — I always use cheddar cheese in this recipe. I prefer sharp cheddar cheese; it’s a nice contrast to the sweetness of the condensed milk. However, you can use any hard cheese you like. I would just discourage the use of soft cheeses like mozzarella.
I like using my stand mixer when making cheese cupcakes, but an electric hand mixer will also work nicely. I also use:
- 12-cavity cupcake or muffin pan
- Cupcake liners — I like using grease-proof liners like these ones.
- Cookie scoop — this helps me get evenly sized cupcakes
First, preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 12-cavity cupcake or muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
(1) In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar.
(2) Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
(3) Add the eggs one at time.
(4) Beat well after each addition.
(5) Add condensed milk and vanilla extract.
(6) Stir until incorporated.
(7) Sift the flour and baking powder directly into your mixture.
(8) Stir on low speed just until combined.
(9) Add the grated cheddar cheese.
(10) Stir until evenly blended.
(11) Scoop the batter into your prepared pan and fill the cupcake liners no more than ¾ full.
(12) Sprinkle more cheese on top.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick or tester inserted in the middle of a few cupcakes comes out clean or with minimal dry crumbs.
Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Secrets to baking the best cupcakes
Easy, right? Here are more tips for perfect, moist, fluffy cupcakes every time.
- Use room temperature ingredients. And this is true for 99% of baking. Room temperature ingredients are easier to incorporate and helps you avoid over-mixing the batter.
- Do not over-mix batter. While it’s important to mix your ingredients until well blended, be careful not to over-mix the batter. This results to a denser, chewier texture.
- Cream butter and sugar properly. This is another step that results to lighter and fluffier cakes. I usually cream between 2 and 3 minutes. You can read more about it here.
- Do not over-fill liners. While this would usually depend on the recipe and how thin or thick the batter is, the general rule is only fill your cupcake liners ¾ of the way. More than that and you run the risk of cupcakes that overflow, look like mushrooms, or rise then sink in the middle.
- Invest in good quality liners. Speaking of liners, I now only use grease-proof liners. My cupcakes don’t stick to the paper, my pan doesn’t ooze with oil, my cupcakes look prettier too!
- Bake at the correct temperature. You always hear people say that ovens are different, and they are! Some ovens run hot, others run cold, others have cold and hot spots. Which is why oven thermometers are awesome but inexpensive investments. Now you’ll always know you’re baking at the right temperature.
- Do not over-bake. In addition to knowing your oven, learn how to tell when your baked goods are done baking. When I do a toothpick test, I don’t usually look for a clean toothpick. I’d rather some dry crumbs clinging to my tester. I find that’s always the perfect time for me to take my cakes and cupcakes out of the oven.
If you don’t have cupcake liners, you can make your own using parchment paper.
I don’t recommend placing the batter directly on a greased cupcake pan; it is very likely that the batter will stick to the pan.
If you don’t have a cupcake pan, you can use a baking sheet with cardboard liners. These kinds up liners are sturdy enough to stand up on their own.
I use them when I make Hokkaido cupcakes and Brazo de Mercedes cupcakes.
Note that the baking time will be different so check for doneness early.
I usually use sharp cheddar cheese when making cheese cupcakes but any kind of hard cheese will do. Even leftover Queso de Bola from Christmas!
What I don’t recommend are soft cheeses like mozzarella, cream cheese or brie. You want something that would retain its shape during baking.
Stored in a covered container on your counter, these cupcakes should last up to 3 days. After that they will start to firm up.
To get back that soft texture, microwave for 20-30 seconds before serving.
Other Filipino bakery favorites
Looking to bake more childhood favorites from your local panaderia? Take a trip down memory lane with these easy recipes:
There are more Filipino bread recipes and bakery favorites here.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cavity cupcake or muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at time, beating well after each addition.
- Add condensed milk and vanilla extract and stir until incorporated.
- Sift the flour and baking powder directly into your mixture and stir on low speed just until combined. The batter will be thick and sticky.
- Add the grated cheddar cheese and stir until evenly blended.
- Scoop the batter into your prepared pan and fill the cupcake liners no more than ¾ full.
- Sprinkle more cheese on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick or tester inserted in the middle of a few cupcakes comes out clean or with minimal dry crumbs.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- I prefer using sharp cheddar cheese in this recipe for the ultimate sweet and salty combination.
- If the tops of your cupcakes start to brown but the cakes are still underbaked, loosely cover with aluminum foil and continue baking.
- See post if you have questions about what size of condensed milk to use, baking tips, FAQs and more.
Nutritional information are estimates only.