This is a really nice basic recipe that yields fluffy, tasty cupcakes with buttercream frosting that complements them nicely. I went a step further and added a layer of chocolate ganache, just because I was in the mood for some slightly fancier cake decorating. Here’s the finished article

With a cherry on top

Again this is style of decoration was inspired by Bakerella, who has a lot of very cute ideas. The cupcake and frosting recipes are adapted from A Zombie Ate My Cupcake, which is such a great baking book that it once made me miss my stop on the Underground.


For the cupcakes

  • 1&2/3cups plan flour, sifted (twice if you can be bothered)
  • pinch salt
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (if salted, only use a small pinch of extra salt) at room temperature, cut into cubes
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup full milk
  • 2tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temp
  • 2tbsp full milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2tbsp double cream

For the ganache

  • 100g chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) double cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 16-hole tin with paper cases.
  2. Put flour, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl and add the sugar.
  3. Add the cubes of butter, distributing them evenly around the dry ingredients.
  4. Blend with a hand mixer, starting on slow and increasing the speed, until well incorporated.1 Butter and sugar
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  6. 2 Batter
  7. Combine milk and vanilla, then add to the batter in three parts, mixing well after each addition.
  8. Divide the batter between the paper cases. If you want to decorate as above, only fill each case just under half way (you may well have enough batter for more cupcakes) as they will rise a lot. Otherwise, add enough mix that they are about 3/4 full.Batter in cases
  9. Bake for around 15 mins, until they pass the toothpick test.
  10. Baked
  11. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature before decorating.

For the ganache

If you decide to do the ganache:

  1. Chop your chocolate up really small and put into a heatproof bowl. Don’t be lazy at this stage (I have made this mistake many times, to my shame) or you’ll end up with lumpy ganache that is impossible to fix.
  2. Chopped choc
  3. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until just comes to a boil.
  4. Pour over the chopped chocolate, leave for a few seconds and then stir until smooth.
  5. Ganache

For the frosting

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric/hand mixer until smooth.
  2. Add milk, vanilla, cream and two thirds of the sugar. Blend until smooth.
  3. Slowly add the remaining sugar until you reach your desired consistency and the frosting is smooth.

To decorate as above, fill the cupcake liner with ganache until it reaches the edge. It doesn’t matter if the middle of the cupcake pokes through the ganache as that’ll be covered with frosting.

With ganache

Using a large flower tip nozzle (e.g. Wilton 2D), pile on frosting until it resembles whipped cream.

With frosting

Add a spherical red sweet or cherry, sprinkles and a paper straw if you are sad.