Cupcakes: Back to Basics

This post may seem completely useless to some of you but when it comes to baking cupcakes I find I so often stumble at the first step. I decide I want to make and decorate some cupcakes and even though I know all I want to bake is the simplest of cakes and frosting's I find myself spending hours googling, wondering whether I want vanilla or lemon, chocolate frosting or cream cheese icing, in the end I usually just give up from all the options and go watch Greys Anatomy. So, mostly to help me out, but hopefully to help some other people with the same problem, here is the most basic cupcake recipe and the most basic frosting recipe in the world. Enjoy! 

The Most Basic Cupcake: 

Ingredients (makes 12)
- 125g (4.5oz) of butter softened or cubed
- 125g (4.5oz) of caster sugar
- 125g (4.5oz) of self-raising flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of whole milk
Yummy Additions
- For vanilla - 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- For chocolate - 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
- For lemon - the zest of one lemon

- Preheat the oven to 190 degree Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit)

1. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs, flour and milk and the chocolate, vanilla or lemon if you choose. Beat until the mixture is smooth.
3. Put the mixture in paper cases and bake until the cakes have risen and a cocktail stick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
4. Standard cakes take 12-15 minutes and mini cakes take 10-12 minutes.
5. Remove cakes from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack.

The Most Basic Buttercream Frosting:

Ingredients (makes 12)
- 140g (4oz) of butter softened or cubed
- 280g (10oz) of icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon of milk (if needed)

1. Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer or wisk.
2. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
4. If the mixture is too thick add the milk.
5. Stir in food colouring or flavouring if needed.


  1. Thank you! I often find myself doing the same, now I can save this recipe ;)

  2. Definitely going to save this recipe! I always find myself thinking about how I'm going to decorate the cake before I've even got a recipe to make the basis!

  3. Mmm, looks yummy :) I have a basic recipe, very similar to this, that I find myself using all the time too!

  4. I always weigh everything against the eggs which is fine for the sponge, but my icing never ever looks as good as yours.

    Out of interest, can you remember what the cake cases in the top shot are? Do they really look like little flowers or is that my imagination?

  5. thank you for sharing this! i've been thinking about baking and this post of yours was quite helpful.. lovely site btw I will link you up will it be ok with you? :)


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