Smiley cupcakes

Smiley cupcakes




  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sultanas (optional)
  • 1 cup milk



  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Yellow food colouring


  • Black and red writing gel


Preheat oven to 180°C. Place cupcake papers in two 12-hole muffin trays. In an electric mixer, beat butter for 2-3 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, beat until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Stir in sultanas.

Spoon into cupcake papers (an icecream scoop is perfect for this) and bake for about 15 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool completely.


Sift icing sugar into a bowl, add enough water to make a spreadable paste. Add a few drops of yellow food colouring to get the right sunny colour.


Spread the top of each cupcake with icing, using enough to completely cover the cake. Leave for 15 minutes to set. Use the writing gels to make your favourite happy faces.


  • I like to use a plain icing for these cupcakes because it gives a nice flat, shiny finish. And lighter icing suits the spring weather!
  • Adding the sultanas makes the cakes more moist – a favourite trick of my mum’s (and sneaks a bit more fruit into the day).
  • Writing gels are from supermarkets. Mastering the writing gels is a bit tricky, so try a few practice ones on a piece of paper towel. But then again, they aren’t for display at an art exhibition – have fun with your smiley faces. My thanks to Mr Happy for inspiration.
  • Recipe created by Melissa Hughes for Kidspot.

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