A Foolproof Method for Baking Perfect Cupcakes in 30 Minutes or Less

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This flop-proof cupcake recipe will delight both the baker and eater, it is my all-time favorite to bake for family and clients alike, the quickest and easiest method I know. Guaranteed not to fail, I am sure this will become your staple recipe too. These cupcakes are moist, with a light texture and are not overly sweet. They create a base for any flavor combinations you can think of.

With this tutorial + recipe for how to bake cupcakes, you too can have sweet treats ready to decorate in a jiffy!

Photos via Katrien's Cakes

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How to bake cupcakes

This recipe makes approx. 20 standard muffin-sized cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 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.

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 325 F (160°C) for a conventional oven. 

Place 20 standard muffin-wrappers into muffin tins and assemble your ingredients.

Step 2:

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.

Step 3:

Add the milk and vanilla essence or extract and beat for another 2 minutes or until the mixture looks light and fluffy.

Step 4:

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.

Step 5:

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.

Step 6:

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.

Want more cupcake ideas? Check out our resources here.

Basic butter cupcakes recipe variations

Chocolate cupcakes

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.

Marbled 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.

Strawberry cupcakes

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).

Almond cupcakes

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.

Coffee cupcakes

Stir 1/4 cup (60 ml/2 1/4 fl oz) instant coffee granules into the milk before adding it to the cupcake batter.

Caramel cupcakes

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.

Coconut cupcakes

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.

Chai cupcakes

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.

Gluten-free cupcakes

Replace the self-rising flour with gluten-free self-rising flour.

Dairy-free cupcakes

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.

Learn More About Baking Perfect Cupcakes!

The Pefect Cupcake

Discover irresistible flavor combinations and impressive decorating techniques for designer cupcakes that will satisfy any sweet tooth.Enroll Now »


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A Foolproof Method for Baking Perfect Cupcakes in 30 Minutes or Less