Are you looking for a cupcake recipe that’s easy to follow?

That will work every time?

That doesn’t need 3 separate bowls just to mix the batter? (a-la Crabapple Bakery recipes)

The perfect cupcake recipe?

You’ve come to the right place!

This is a recipe that I’ve been using for well over 4 years. For all the cupcake books I own (almost a whole row on our kitchen bookshelf!), I always find myself going back to this vanilla buttercake cupcake recipe. You throw all the ingredients in at once and it just works.

Technically, this is a recipe for patty cakes (anyone remember those??), so they’re slightly smaller than the now-popular “American-sized” cupcake.

Vanilla Buttercake Cupcakes with Vanilla Butter Cream Icing

Makes 24 “patty-cake” (slightly-smaller-than-average) sized cupcakes.

Based on this recipe, each cupcake contains 9.5g fat and 186 calories.


125g softened unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g caster sugar (2/3 of a cup)
3 eggs (room temperature if possible)
225g self raising flour (1 ½ cups)
60ml milk ( ¼ of a cup)


  1. Preheat oven to moderate (180 ºC/160 ºC fan-forced). Line two deep 12-hole patty pans with paper cases
  2. Combine ingredients in small bowl of electric mixer; beat on low speed until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium; beat about 3 minutes or until mixture is smooth and changed to a paler colour
  3. Drop slightly rounded tablespoons of mixture into paper cases. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack; turn top-side up to cool.

Cupcake papers and my colour-coordinated decorations

Can’t we just eat the batter straight from the bowl?

Ready for the oven

Buttercream icing:

(Double this if you want to create funky swirls on your cupcakes)

125g softened unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240g icing sugar or icing mixture (1 ½ cups)
2 tablespoons milk


Beat butter and extract in small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible. Gradually beat in half the sifted icing sugar, milk, then the remaining icing sugar. Tint with food colouring, if desired.

Buttercream icing ready to be piped onto the cupcakes

I use a glass to make it easier to get the
icing into my disposable piping bag

VOILA! I piped the icing using the Wilton 1M swirl piping tip

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9 thoughts on “The perfect cupcake recipe

  1. Can I comment before the post goes live? Cause OMG, the glass thing..that is genius..never thought of that before. Pipping bags are a bastard sometimes.
    Will have to give this a go, doesn’t seem nap educing like the Crabapple ne.

    Posted on 31 August 2009 at 6:15 am
  2. brilliant just what I needed Laura….more reasons to break my diet .
    .-= trish´s last blog ..Weekly Winners 35 2009 =-.

    Posted on 1 September 2009 at 10:15 am
  3. don’t worry trish, my bride diet is COMPLETELY out the window after this
    sheesh, the things I do for this blog ;)
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Have permission. Back soon. =-.

    Posted on 1 September 2009 at 2:39 pm
  4. yummo will make a batch for the upcoming sports carnival at school :)
    .-= Tina´s last blog ..Meet Dolly…….. =-.

    Posted on 1 September 2009 at 3:10 pm
  5. This is the single greatest cupcake recipe I have ever tried. They just came out of the oven, perfectly moist and risen, delicious and so goddamn adorable! Thank you thank you thank you <3

    Posted on 19 January 2010 at 4:59 pm
  6. Hi, could you add a bit of cocoa to the icing recipe to make it chocolate icing?

    Posted on 10 July 2010 at 3:39 pm
  7. I haven’t tried that Karen, but I’m sure it’d work a treat.

    PS Anakin, glad the recipe worked so well for you!!

    Posted on 12 July 2010 at 8:59 pm
  8. This is awesome! Easiest cupcakes I’ve ever made!

    Posted on 15 December 2012 at 4:54 pm