Basic vanilla cupcakes

Basic vanilla cupcakes



  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup (185mL) milk


  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Sprinkles or lollies (e.g. mini marshmallows or jaffas) to decorate


Preheat oven to 180°C. Place muffin papers in one 12-hole muffin tray or cupcake papers in two 12-hole cupcake trays. In an electric mixer, beat butter for 2 minutes until pale in colour and creamy. Add sugar one third at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about a minute between each addition. Add the vanilla essence and beat until combined.

Sift flour and baking powder and add half to butter mixture with half the milk, mix until well combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk.

Fill cupcake papers ¾ full (an icecream scoop is perfect for this). Bake muffin size cupcakes for 20-25 minutes and small cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool completely.

Cream butter until pale and smooth. Add the milk and half the sifted icing sugar. Beat until well combined. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. The mixture should be a spreadable paste; if it is too dry add some more milk, if too wet add more icing sugar.

When cakes are cold, spread generously with icing and dip into sprinkles or decorate with small lollies.


  • This cupcake recipe is a great basic one because it makes 12 large muffin-size cupcakes or 24 small ones – depending for whom or what function you are cooking for.
  • The cupcakes are quite dense and moist, not airy-fairy like sponge cake.
  • I often give the kids 6 little cupcakes each and an assortment of sprinkles and lollies and let them decorate their own cupcakes. Wonderful what they come up with (see pic!). For children younger than 3, you will probably have to spread the icing for them.
  • Recipe created by Melissa Hughes for Kidspot.

Serving Suggestions


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