Vanilla Cupcakes


IMG_20141030_194643[1] 03/11/2014

This recipe is for a light vanilla sponge cake with a beautiful vanilla frosting.

I made these for a friend’s 40th birthday hence all the ‘40’ decorations in the picture but you can decorate them with nuts, chocolate, sprinkles or anything that takes your fancy.


For the sponge:

  • 80g unsalted butter, softened
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 240ml whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the vanilla frosting:

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 160g unsalted butter, softened
  • 50ml whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Food colouring (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C and line 2 deep muffin tins with muffin cases.
  2. Using a hand-held electric whisk, slowly beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt until the ingredients are well mixed in and resemble fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix together the milk, vanilla and eggs by hand in a jug. With the whisks on a low speed, pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to incorporate fully. Add the rest of the milk mixture and beat again on a medium speed until the batter is smooth.
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, about two-thirds full. You should have enough batter for 12-16 cupcakes. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the sponges feel springy when you touch them. Leave to cool slightly before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To make the frosting, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed using the electric whisk until fully combined and sandy in consistency. Add the vanilla to the milk and pour into the butter and icing sugar while still mixing on a low speed then increase the speed to high and whisk the frosting until light and fluffy.
  6. If you wish to colour the frosting as shown, divide it into separate bowls and add a few drops of your chosen colouring to each bowl.
  7. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, add the frosting wither by smoothing with a palette knife or piping. Decorate as desired.

This recipe generates a lot of frosting. Adapted from a hummingbird bakery recipe, I usually halve or use 2/3 of the quantity of frosting ingredients and find this gives a nice ratio of cake to icing.


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