A good basic vanilla cupcake recipe is a must in anyone's repertoire. This one is not only super simple but also incredibly reliable – just make sure your butter is at room temperature and soft enough to make an indent when you press your finger into it lightly. The Vanilla Buttercream quantity will make enough for piping it onto your cupcakes, but if you prefer to spread it you only need to make half the quantity.
185g (1¼ cups) self-raising flour 165g (⅔ cup) caster sugar 125g butter, softened 80ml (⅓ cup) milk 2 eggs, at room temperature 2 teaspoons Queen Natural Vanilla Extract or Essence Edible sprinkles of your choice (optional)
250g salted butter, at room temperature 2 teaspoons Queen Natural Vanilla Extract or Essence 60ml (¼ cup) thickened cream, plus extra if required 350g icing sugar mixture, sifted
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole 80ml (⅓ cup) muffin tin with paper cases.
Place the flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is well combined, creamy and very pale in colour. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, dividing evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a rack to cool completely (this will take about 30 minutes).
To make the Vanilla buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and vanilla , scraping down the side of the bowl when necessary, until very pale and creamy. Add the cream and beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until very creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes or until light, creamy and a good spreading or piping consistency. Beat in another tablespoon of cream if the buttercream needs thinning slightly.
Pipe or spread the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate, if desired.
These cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool spot for up to 2 days.
Based on a cake I have made for years as a wedding cake for friends, this recipe is incredibly simple but still has a wonderful celebratory feel. It also makes truly divine individual cakes like these sweet butterfly cakes.
Melted butter, to grease (optional) 200g good-quality white chocolate, chopped 150g unsalted butter, cubed 185ml (¾ cup) water 220g (1 cup) caster sugar 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked 1½ teaspoon natural vanilla extract or essence 225g (1½ cup) plain flour 50g (½ cup) almond meal 1½ teaspoons baking powder 125ml (½ cup) thick (double) cream 165g (½ cup) raspberry or blackberry jam Icing sugar, to dust
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 12-hole 80ml (⅓ cup) capacity muffin tray with melted butter or line with paper cases.
Put the chocolate, butter and water in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and use a balloon whisk to stir until well combined.
In a medium bowl, use a clean whisk or fork to whisk together the flour, almond meal and baking powder, combining the ingredients evenly and breaking up any lumps of almond meal. Add to the chocolate mixture and stir with the whisk until just combined.
Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin holes and lightly tap the tin on the bench top to remove any large air bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a cake comes out clean. Leave the cakes to stand in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When cool, cut a shallow cone-shaped piece out of the top of a cake, leaving about a 1cm border. Cut the piece of cake in half. Spoon a little cream and then some jam into the hole to fill. Arrange the two pieces of cake in the jam to form wings. Repeat with the remaining cakes, cream and jam. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
The unfilled cakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool spot for up to 2 days. Alternatively they will freeze well sealed in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature.
These cakes are best eaten the day they are filled.