Basic cupcakes

Fairy cakes are so easy to whip up, get creative and add your own decorative toppings
By Donal Skehan
Basic cupcakes
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 10 cupcakes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 110 g soft butter, cut into small pieces
  • 50 ml water or milk

For the buttercream frosting

  • 150 g butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional
  • 275 g icing sugar, sifted


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole bun tray with paper cases.

2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre of the bowl then break in the eggs and add the margarine or butter. Using an electric hand mixer beat all the ingredients together until combined. Pour in half the milk or water and beat again until combined. You are looking for the batter to be light and creamy. Add the rest of the liquid if you need it - you may not.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the paper cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm and light brown on top. Allow the cupcakes to stand for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

4. To make the buttercream frosting: beat the butter and vanilla extract together in a bowl until light and fluffy then add the icing sugar, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. At this point you can separate the frosting into a few different bowls and stir through different food colourings.

5. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle and ice away. Let your imagination go wild! Top with sprinkles or other decorations.

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