Vanilla Cupcakes

Would you believe I’ve never made cupcakes before? (Edit: I mean the stereotypical cupcake, with frosting and the works.) In all my years of baking, I never really bothered with cupcakes because they’re the very antithesis of my baking philosophy. I mean, why bother frosting a dozen mini cakes when you can just frost one large cake? Cupcakes are too fiddly, especially since I consider myself quite ham-fisted at times. And there’s always way too much icing on cupcakes anyway.

Nonetheless, I love a baking challenge. So I started with the most basic: the vanilla cupcake.

Fortunately, most of the cake-baking principles hold true for cupcakes. You still have to cream your butter and sugar properly. (I’ve got a great post explaining why you need to do this.) You’ll need to line your pan properly, although it’s infinitely simpler for cupcakes since there are individual cases. In fact, I daresay if I dumped this cupcake batter in a cake tin, I’d get a pretty decent cake. But focus – we’re making cupcakes.


  • 125g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar (Use vanilla sugar if you have it.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt

Makes a dozen cupcakes.


Step 1: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Line your tins with cupcake cases.

Step 2: Cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy. Mix in about a tablespoon of the flour to prevent curdling. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Step 3: Sift in the flour and baking powder. Add in the yoghurt and vanilla extract, and mix to combine.

Step 4: Fill each cupcake case about halfway. That’s roughly three tablespoons of batter per case, but aim to distribute all your batter equally among the twelve cases.

Step 5: Bake for 16 minutes. Cool and ice.

Decorating the cupcakes turned out to be more fun than I’d expected. I used my basic buttercream frosting recipe dyed pink. Then with a piping bag topped with a large star tip, I went to work piping out simple designs on the cupcakes and topping them off with all manner of sprinkles and sparkles. Not too shabby for a first attempt, right?

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