Bake Off 3: Vanilla Cupcakes

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I couldn’t wait to make some cupcakes, always good fun when playing around with icing and food colouring.

Makes 12-16 cupcakes – I ended up making 24 in small cupcake cases from Tescos


For the sponge:

  • 80g butter
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240g plain flour (I actually used self raising and it was fine)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 240ml whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs

For the vanilla frosting:

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 160g butter
  • 50ml whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • Food colouring
  • Sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line muffin tin 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 and resemble fine breadcrumbs.  Be careful – the flour does go everywhere!!
  3. Mix together the milk, vanilla essence and eggs by hand in a jug. With the whisk on a low speed, pour 3/4 of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.  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, up to about 2/3 full. Pop 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 from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Vanilla cupcake sponges cooling on the wired rack
  6. 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 essence 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.
  7. If you wish to colour the icing divide into separate bowls and add a teaspoon of the food colouring.  I tried yellow, blue and green (mixing both blue & yellow), I ended up with daffodil yellow, smurf and pea green, I also left a few natural butter cream.
  8. Once the cupcakes are cool, add the frosting, smoothing and swirling with a palette knife (I only had a standard knife, but seemed to do the job). Decorate with coloured or chocolate sprinkles & enjoy!

Pea green and daffodil yellow
Smurf blue & pea green
Plain butter cream

The vanilla cupcakes took a good 90 minutes from start to finish as there is quite a bit of clearing up when playing around with the food colourings.

The verdict – the cute cupcakes seemed to get the thumbs up from both work colleagues and my parents.  The only issue is transporting iced cup cakes…the icing did end up on the seat of my car when taking over a batch to my folks.

So, what next?  I’ve been challenged to bake a marbled cake, which isn’t in the Cake Days book – eek…. Watch this space to see what I’ll be serving up next.


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