Well hello there cupcake, how are you? Growing up in the UK we had the daintier, way less indulgent fairy cake, but when cupcakes arrived in the early 2000’s we all went nuts for these sugary beasts. This is my standard vanilla recipe, but I’ve made many different versions – rose, chocolate, passionfruit, carrot, pistachio, to name but a few – your imagination is the only limit. Makes 12, with plenty of bowl scrapings to enjoy.

Rose cupcake. Not for woofers.



187g unsalted butter / stork

187g caster sugar

3 large eggs

187g self raising flour

1 tsp vanilla extract


110g soft unsalted butter

400g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp milk


  1. Heat oven to 180C, and pop muffin cases into a 12 hole muffin tin.
  2. Using an electric hand mixer, freestanding mixer, or wooden spoon if you’re feeling super strong, beat together the butter and sugar until really light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding in a teaspoonful of the weighed flour with each egg so that the mix doesn’t curdle.
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Switch to a spatula and gently fold in the remaining flour until fully combined.
  6. Use a couple of teaspoons to 2/3 (ish) fill each cake case, and bake for around 18 minutes until the centre of a cake bounces back when pressed lightly.
  7. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then gently lift them out and leave to cool completely.
  8. In the mean time, beat the butter until really soft and smooth, then (VERY slowly at first) beat in the icing sugar, vanilla and milk. I start this process with a wooden spoon until the icing sugar is incorporated (the milk and vanilla help), then I switch to an electric handwhisk until the icing is really light and fluffy.
  9. When the cupcakes are completely cool, spoon some icing and artistically swirl it around with a teaspoon, or use a piping bag and nozzle (I used a Wilton 2D) if you’re feeling fancy.


Rose – add 4tsp rose water to the cake batter, and a scant 1 tsp to the icing, plus a little pink food colouring of your choice

Carrot – see my carrot cake recipe – and divide between the muffin cases

Chocolate – add 4 tbsp cocoa powder to the cake batter (and an extra tbsp of milk), and 2 tbsp to the icing

Passionfruit – add half a jar of passionfruit curd to the cake batter, and 4 tbsp to the icing

They’re pretty indestructable!

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