How to bake cupcakes
This recipe makes approx. 20 standard muffin-sized cupcakes
• 2 cups (260 g/9 1/4 oz ) self-rising flour
• 1 1/4 cup (250 g/9 oz) granulated sugar
• 1 cup (230 g/8 1/4 oz) salted butter, softened (or at room temperature)
• 4 large eggs
• 1/4 cup (60 ml/2 1/4 fl oz) milk
• 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla essence or vanilla extract
Tip: I use salted butter in my recipes as it is easier to find and cheaper than unsalted butter. The salt in the butter enhances the flavor of the cupcakes, but if you prefer to use unsalted butter, add a generous pinch of salt to the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 325 F (160°C) for a conventional oven.
Place 20 standard muffin-wrappers into muffin tins and assemble your ingredients.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, softened butter and eggs. Mix for 30 seconds with a handheld electric beater or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed to combine all the ingredients.
Add the milk and vanilla essence or extract and beat for another 2 minutes or until the mixture looks light and fluffy.
Spoon rounded ice cream scoops (± 1/4 cup/ 60 ml/ 2 1/4 fl oz) of batter into the wrappers and bake for about 20-22 minutes or until an inserted skewer or toothpick just comes out clean.
Take the cupcakes out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Lift them out of the muffin tins and place on a wire cooling rack.
Decorate the cupcakes with the icing of your choice.
Keep un-iced cupcakes for 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature or freeze for up to 2 months.
Iced cupcakes will last for four days at room temperature in an airtight container.
Basic butter cupcakes recipe variations
Replace 1/3 cup (40 g/1 1/2 oz) flour with a 1/3 cup (30 g/1 oz) of unsweetened cocoa powder. Add 1 tsp (5 ml) instant coffee granules to the milk to give a deeper flavor to the cupcakes.
Make 1/2 a recipe vanilla and 1/2 a recipe chocolate batter and spoon alternate dollops of batter into each cupcake wrapper. Use a toothpick to marble the two cupcake batters together.
Mix 1/2 cup (125 ml/4 1/2 fl oz) chunky strawberry jam into the cupcake batter. You could also add a few drops of red food coloring and strawberry essence instead of vanilla essence to create an authentic look and flavor.
Peanut butter, nut butter or cookie butter cupcakes
Mix 1/2 cup (125 ml/4 1/2 fl oz) chunky peanut butter, nut butter or cookie butter into the cupcake batter.
Orange or lemon cupcakes
Add the grated zest of 1 orange or lemon to the cupcake batter and use the juice of the orange or lemon with milk to make up the liquid amount to a 1/4 cup (60 ml/2 1/4 fl oz).
Add 1/4 cup (35 g/1 1/4 oz) ground almonds to the cake batter and replace 1 tsp (5 ml) of the vanilla essence or extract with almond essence or extract.
Stir 1/4 cup (60 ml/2 1/4 fl oz) instant coffee granules into the milk before adding it to the cupcake batter.
Use soft brown treacle or Demerara sugar instead of white sugar and replace the vanilla essence or extract with caramel essence.
Pineapple, apple, peach or pear cupcakes
Add 1/2 a can (±190 g/6 3/4 oz) of drained pineapple pieces, drained apple slices, drained and chopped peach or pear slices to the cupcake batter, folding them in before spooning the mixture into the cupcake wrappers.
Add 1/3 cup (45g/1 1/2 oz) toasted, unsweetened desiccated coconut to the cupcake batter and if preferred replace 1 tsp (5 ml) of the vanilla essence or extract with 1 tsp (5 ml) coconut essence or coconut liqueur.
Passion fruit cupcakes
Replace the 1/4 cup (60 ml/2 1/4 fl oz) of milk with passion fruit juice or with 1 small can (115 g/4 oz) or 1/3 cup (80 ml/3 fl oz) passion fruit pulp with or without seeds.
Replace the milk with a 1/4 cup (60 ml/2 1/4 fl oz) of cooled milky tea and add ½ tsp (2.5 ml) each of ginger powder, cinnamon powder and finely ground cardamom or mixed spice to the mixture.
Replace the self-rising flour with gluten-free self-rising flour.
Replace the 1 cup (230 g/8 1/4 oz) of salted butter with dairy-free shortening or margarine and add a generous pinch of salt to the batter. Replace the 1/4 cup (60 ml/2 1/4 fl oz) of milk with almond milk, soy milk, rice milk or oat milk.