recipe; vanilla cupcakes


The first time I made these cupcakes was about four years ago for my youngest sister’s 11th birthday. She was having a purple zebra themed party, and I wanted to make something, so I attempted a simple recipe, but I coloured half the batter purple and tried layering it.

The layering wasn’t done brilliantly, but the cupcakes were a hit.

Which is a surprise in our family where everybody always asks for half a cupcake because nobody wants to finish the whole thing. Except this time, our cousins were asking for seconds.

(There were not enough cupcakes for seconds.)

vanilla cupcakes

Since then, these cupcakes have been my go-to when I want to make a quick dessert for friends and family. They are simple to make, and you can add in things like cinnamon or Nutella or coffee powder to change it up.

The original recipe – which I don’t remember where I got from, sorry! – had a buttercream icing to go with it, but I haven’t made it with that. I did make it as a cake with Nutella buttercream frosting earlier this year for my daughter’s birthday.

vanilla cupcakes3

Vanilla Cupcakes


  • 125g butter, softened
  • ½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup carnation milk
  • 2 teaspsoons custard powder
  • 1 cup self-raising flour (or 1 cup standard flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder)
  • 3 tablespoons milk, warmed for ten seconds in microwave


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Line a 12 hole muffin pan with cupcake cases.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, vanilla, carnation milk, custard powder and flour into a food processor (or use an electric handheld mixer, it works just as well) and pulse for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Pour in the warmed milk and pulse again till combined.
    (This is where you might want to add in your cinnamon or coffee powder.)
  4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cases filling each 3/4 full.
    (This is where you might want to spoon on some Nutella or peanut butter.)
  5. Bake for 17 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Sneak one for yourself while it’s still a little warm.
  7. Or two.

vanilla cupcakes2

If you’re making a cake, one recipe makes one cake plus a few cupcakes.



I’m Ara, a Southeast Asian writer who someday hopes to have published a novel, and who is currently losing herself in the worlds created by others. I love books and food and television and blogging and I get distracted and sidetracked easily.

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