Updated: Nov 14, 2020
I've based my vanilla cupcake recipe on the Hummingbird Bakery recipe as I haven't encountered a better one, quite honestly! However I don't use their buttercream recipe as I find it much too sweet, so I've listed my own here and it really is a perfect balance. I have used this recipe for years and it's light, moist and utterly delicious. You will NOT regret trying these! To see how to pipe the buttercream and make sugar flower decorations, subscribe to my tutorials on Patreon.
Makes about 12-16 cupcakes
You'll need: a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases
80g unsalted butter, softened
280g caster sugar
240g self-raising flour (preferably fine 'sponge' flour)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
240ml whole milk
2 large eggs at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk - though I normally just use a food processor and it works perfectly well) and beat on slow speed until you get a breadcrumb consistency and everything is combined.
Lightly whisk the milk, egg, vanilla extract a together in a separate bowl or jug, then pour 3/4 of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients with the mixer/processor motor running and continue beating until fully incorporated. Then, scrape any mixture from the sides and add the rest of the milk mixture. Continue mixing, now on medium speed, until the mixture is smooth.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full. Leftover batter can often fill four more cases in a second muffin tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.
Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cold, pipe or spoon the buttercream on top and decorate as desired!
Makes 500g, enough to fill and crumb coat one 20cm cake (or 24 cupcakes) - so halve it if you like (I often just whip up an extra batch of cupcakes instead!)
175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g icing sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp cooled boiled water or milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
(for chocolate buttercream, add 3 Tbsps Cocoa)
a few drops of whatever food colouring you like!
In a mixer or food processor, or with hand-held electric beater, mix the butter and icing sugar, milk and vanilla (and cocoa, if using) together for at least 5 minutes until light and fluffy. You can store this for up to a week in an airtight container, but bring it to room temperature before attempting to use! You can also add a pinch of cream of tartar if your buttercream is refusing to firm up - especially in summer!
The buttercream takes well to colouring. Be inventive! The world is your cinnamon oyster. If you'd like to learn how to make the sugar flower decorations in the picture, subscribe to my patreon page!