Basic Vanilla Cupcakes

Perfect for parties, weddings – or just a Tuesday night treat, cupcakes are one of my favourite desserts. Not only are they the perfect portion, they’re light and fluffy and have the most amazing vanilla flavour!

It actually took me a couple of years of experimenting to land on the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe. I tried a couple of different variations using more flour, less eggs and different kinds of vanilla extract, as well as different mixing methods before landing on the recipe below.

I use the ‘all-in-one’ method, which is quick, easy and consistently produces light, fluffy and delicious cupcakes. And the cherry on top? You can whip up a batch with minimal clean up (because no one likes extra washing up).


As the name suggests, vanilla is pretty important in this recipe, so you have to get your hands on a good quality vanilla extract. There are a lot of options out there when it comes to vanilla and it can get a bit confusing, so the best thing you can do is check the label. There’s a big difference between vanilla flavouring and vanilla extract, so you should always check before you buy.

I prefer to use vanilla bean paste – it tastes so good, and you get those little vanilla specks in your cupcakes. Good vanilla isn’t cheap but trust me, it’s worth the investment.


Makes 12

160g self-raising flour
160g caster sugar
160g softened butter
1 tsp baking powder
3 medium eggs (room temperature)
1tsp vanilla extract


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160°C (320°F, gas mark 4) and place 12 cupcake cases into a muffin tin. Why is it called a muffin tin, I hear you ask? Confusing – I know. Put simply, cupcakes actually hail from the US, and are much larger than the traditional British fairy cakes we all grew up eating as children. Cupcakes are roughly the size of muffins, hence the name. Back to the recipe…

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and whisk together. This is the key to a light and airy sponge! Add the eggs, butter and vanilla and mix until well combined. Be careful not to over mix – stop when you cannot see any more flour.

  3. Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake cases, filling to about two thirds of the way and bake for 22-25 minutes.

  4. Allow your cupcakes to cool for a few minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Top with your favourite buttercream and enjoy!

If you want to make your cupcakes ahead of time or have any cupcakes left over, you can freeze them. Allow them to cool completely and wrap each cupcake well in clingfilm, followed by a layer of aluminium foil. They will last in the freezer for up to six months. Make sure you defrost thoroughly before serving.

What’s your favourite cupcake topping? Leave me a comment below!

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