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Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

vanilla cupcake

Need a really simple and beautiful cupcake? Here you go. I love to lay in bed at night and leaf through cookbooks. It calms me. One of my favorites is Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I was intrigued by the idea of icing the cupcake with royal icing. It kept me up that night. I woke up the next morning and made these immediately. And then we ate them all. They were delicious.

When I made these cupcakes for the first time I was convinced that there would not be enough batter to fill all 12 liners. But there was, you just need to have a little faith and you need to completely scrape the bowl. The cupcakes only need a few tablespoons of batter because you really do not want them to bake up higher than the cupcake liners. You need room for the icing to cover the top and leave of blanket of sweet goodness. This icing is perfect for travel because it dries hard. It is like the frosting that you get on a Christmas cookie. These are a wonderful little treat. I like to put sugared flowers on mine that you can find in a bakery supply store or even at a craft store. But they are just as beautiful plain.

vanilla cupcakeFor the cupcakes:

1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon butter room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
2 eggs room temperature
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 Tablespoons milk temperature

vanilla cupcake recipeFor the Royal Icing:

2 egg whites (or powdered egg whites)
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
food coloring (optional)
sugared flowers (optional)

* adapted from Nigella Lawson *

vanilla cupcake recipePut all of the ingredients in a food processor except for the milk.

vanilla cupcake recipePour the milk through the tunnel and process until smooth.

vanilla cupcake recipePut the batter in the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until brown in a 350 degree oven. Cool completely and then ice.

vanilla cupcake recipeCombine the egg whites and confectioners sugar in a mixing bowl and whip with a mixer until opaque and shiny, about 5 minutes.

vanilla cupcake recipeWhisk in the lemon juice to thin out the icing.

vanilla cupcake recipeMix for a few more minutes until you reach the consistency for spreading on cupcakes.

vanilla cupcake recipeSpread the icing on the top of the cooled cupcakes.

vanilla cupcake recipeHow cute are these sugar flowers?

vanilla cupcake recipeTop with a sugar flower and let harden.

vanilla cupcake recipeMy new favorite cupcake.


Simple Vanilla Cupcakes


  • 1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk temperature
  • For the Royal Icing:
  • 2 egg whites (or powdered egg whites)
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • food coloring (optional)
  • sugared flowers (optional)


  1. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor except for the milk.
  2. Pour the milk through the tunnel and process until smooth.
  3. Put the batter in the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until brown in a 350 degree oven. Cool completely and then ice.
  4. Combine the egg whites and confectioners sugar in a mixing bowl and whip with a mixer until opaque and shiny, about 5 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the lemon juice to thin out the icing.
  6. Mix for a few more minutes until you reach the consistency for spreading on cupcakes.
  7. Spread the icing on the top of the cooled cupcakes.
  8. How cute are these sugar flowers?
  9. Top with a sugar flower and let harden.

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  1. The Blue-Eyed Bakers

    August 25th, 2010 at 6:13 am

    These almost look to gorgeous to eat…almost. Love Nigella but have never tried these…will absolutely have to now – intrigued by the royal icing!

  2. bakedbree

    August 25th, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Aren’t they pretty? They really surprised me by being as good as they are. I find that a lot of her recipes are very eggy tasting and this one is not. Plus the icing is really good.

  3. Beverly

    August 25th, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Can you use a mixer rather than a food processor?

  4. bakedbree

    August 25th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I don’t see why not…

  5. marla {family fresh cooking}

    August 25th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    These cupcakes are adorable. Perfect for so many occasions….or just for munching with a cup of hot coffee. Love those dainty blue flowers, they add so much to the presentation.

  6. bakedbree

    August 25th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks Marla! Will at I see you at the Camp Blogaway Event in September?

  7. cianne

    August 25th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    my cupcakes are cooling as I type. so easy in the food processor and so darn cute! I wish I has some sugar flowers to top mine with but white sprinkles will have to do.

  8. bakedbree

    August 25th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Awesome!! Isn’t this the easiest recipe ever?

  9. Megan

    August 26th, 2010 at 6:57 am

    These cupcakes look gorgeous. I love the concept of a cupcake that just rises to the top of the cup and gets a hard icing. I’ve never made any like this and know I will soon. And the way you decorate them with the suagr flowers is just so simple and perfect.

  10. bakedbree

    August 26th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    These are so pretty that you almost don’t want to eat them, and then you get over it and eat a few because they are so good!

  11. Maribel

    August 26th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I am inspired to make some cupcakes this weekend, thanks to you.. πŸ™‚

  12. bakedbree

    August 26th, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Great! I can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  13. Alesia

    August 26th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Beautiful pictures! And it does seems easy to make, I’m all for easy and yummy recipes πŸ˜€

  14. bakedbree

    August 26th, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    so easy. I like easy too. I really have to be in the mood to make something hard these days.

  15. patty

    August 26th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    hi there – i see from your photo that there is meringue powder…where do you use that? they look fabulous by the way.

  16. bakedbree

    August 26th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I used meringue powder instead of the egg whites. Thanks for reminding me. You can use either… if you use the meringue powder I would use 3 Tablespoons of the meringue powder.

  17. patty

    August 27th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    thank you for the update so would you only use 3 tablespoons of meringue powder, to the 3 cups of sugar and only 1 teaspoon of lemon juice? no more liquid is needed? sorry for all the questions and thank you in advance.

  18. bakedbree

    August 27th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    If you need more liquid, add it about a half teaspoon at a time. You can always add, but not take away. You are looking for a good thick spreading consistency. How much liquid will depend on a lot of factors, the weather, the consistency you are looking for. Please ask away, that is what I am here for!

  19. Memoria

    August 28th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    These cupcakes look simply lovely and inviting!!

  20. bakedbree

    August 29th, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Thank you Memoria!

  21. DJ

    November 13th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks for the easy recipe, but I had to guess how hot to make the oven… I used 325 but then lowered the heat as I was making mini cupcakes so I didn’t leave them in as long.

  22. bakedbree

    November 15th, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Sorry! I’ll go and fix it.

  23. Adriana

    November 16th, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    At what temperature do we have to set the oven?

  24. bakedbree

    November 17th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    400. I need to edit that and fix it.

  25. Louisa

    January 3rd, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Wonderful recipe! I baked these for my friends and they were asking for seconds! =] I was wondering though, how did you manage to bake them with flat tops? Mine always came out domed at the top and it is hard to ice over them.

  26. bakedbree

    January 3rd, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I only put a teeny tiny bit of batter in the tins. Maybe half?

  27. Sheli

    February 13th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    How many cupcakes does this recipe make? They look divine!

  28. bakedbree

    February 14th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I believe 12.

  29. Bonnie

    February 19th, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Hi!… wanted to know do you still bake for the same amount of time and 400 degrees for mini cupcakes?

  30. bakedbree

    February 19th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I am not sure, I have never made them into mini cupcakes, but I would think that they would take less time.

  31. Bonnie

    February 20th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Oh okay…because I burnt them….lol! I’m going to try another batch and see how they come out.

  32. kendall

    February 28th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    i have a question what is thetunnle thing

  33. bakedbree

    March 1st, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I am not sure what you are asking me…

  34. Barb

    November 28th, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I’m guessing you mean the tunnel on the food processor…

  35. bakedbree

    December 2nd, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Yes. What else would I mean?

  36. rosario

    March 2nd, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    can you make a cake instead of cupcakes with this recipie?

  37. shai

    March 14th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    WHERE IS THE OVEN TEMP.?????????????

  38. bakedbree

    March 14th, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    350 degrees.

  39. I

    April 10th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I really love how my cupcakes turned out! This is one of the best cupcake recipes I have tried.

  40. bakedbree

    April 10th, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    thanks! I love this recipe too. So simple and pretty.

  41. Jasmyn

    April 16th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Can you use an electric mixer instead of a food processor?

  42. bakedbree

    April 16th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I don’t see why not, but you will probably have to cream the butter with the sugar first.

  43. Sally

    April 22nd, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Mine didn’t come out very well they tasted bad. I don’t know what I did wrong!

  44. bakedbree

    April 24th, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I am really sorry Sally. I have never had that problem before. Maybe you got a bad egg or something?

  45. Joanne

    May 8th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Awesome recipe! I Just made these and they came out ssssssso delicious. I almost didn’t even leave any for my husband lol. I used lemon extract instread of the vanilla extract for the batter. And they were perfect. Thank you πŸ™‚

  46. bakedbree

    May 9th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I am glad that you liked these, the lemon extract must have been delicious in these.

  47. Victoria

    May 21st, 2011 at 6:12 am

    I was wondering that for the cupcakes, is it possible for me to use a cake flour instead of regular flour?

  48. bakedbree

    May 25th, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    I am not sure, I have never tried to use cake flour in this recipe.

  49. KD

    July 7th, 2011 at 9:01 am

    These cupcakes look so simple and cute! Have you ever tried doing mini cupcakes with this recipe?

  50. bakedbree

    July 7th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    No, I haven’t, but I bet that they would be great. Just reduce the cooking time.

  51. Arlene

    July 12th, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I tried this recipe last night to take to my running group. I think next time I might not add the extra butter, but they came out really good. I used a hand mixer and it seemed to work just fine. I did take them out after 12 minutes and they were done.

    My 7 yr old nephew rated them a 7 out of 10. Not bad! He loves chocolate so next time I’ll make chocolate frosting and I’m sure he will rate them 10 for sure. πŸ™‚


  52. Anuradha kumari

    August 2nd, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    thanks for this recipe.

  53. bakedbree

    August 4th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    you are very welcome. πŸ™‚

  54. Kari

    August 8th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    they were so icky and gross we had to throw them away

  55. bakedbree

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    sorry to hear that, I have never had a problem with them. Maybe you need to change out your baking powder and baking soda.

  56. Kari

    August 8th, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I just tried making these cupcakes with my nanny girls and we looked in the oven with about 4 minutes left to cook and they were spilling over the top mushy watery fried on the top looking disasters. Not sure what we did wrong but we followed the recipe to the exact. Can you explain?

  57. bakedbree

    August 8th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I really cannot. I am sorry that these did not turn out for you.

  58. Kari

    August 8th, 2011 at 10:10 am

    they look like pancakes

  59. Karine

    August 12th, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Im thinking of making these….But i was just wondering why on the pictures the cupcakes look so dark, do they always turn out like that, or is that just another picture just to show the icing???

  60. bakedbree

    August 12th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    No, they just turn out like that.

  61. maya

    August 16th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Wow!! I love how have all these ingredients are in my pantry

  62. bakedbree

    August 17th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Those are the best kinds of recipes.

  63. Kristina

    August 16th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    i looooove these cupcakes! i made the for my sisters birthday and they were a big hit! and the best part is, they were sooo simple and easy to make!!!

  64. bakedbree

    August 17th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    thanks Kristina! These are so easy to make.

  65. Sandra

    August 22nd, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I loved these! I made these for my friend’s birthday. They were sweet, cute, and delicious. (:

  66. bakedbree

    August 24th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Great Sandra!

  67. chinchin

    October 10th, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Approximately, how many grams is 1 stick of butter? I want to try this recipe. Looks delicious. πŸ™‚

  68. bakedbree

    October 10th, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    I am not sure, but 1 stick is 8 Tablespoons or 1/2 cup.

  69. Lisa

    November 2nd, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I made these but tasted overpowering baking soda…? This may be why others had trouble with the taste.

  70. bakedbree

    November 7th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I need to make these again, I get so many questions about this recipe. It is a British recipe and sometime the measurements can be off.

  71. Alexa

    November 19th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Mine came out very greasy (the baking cups are now wet with grease, and I didn’t grease the cups or anything) and have a very mealy consistency. I did not have baking powder so I used a substitute, could this have affected them? Also, in the pictures above, the cupcakes are brown in color, while mine were yellow.

  72. bakedbree

    November 21st, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Yes, it could have. When you are baking you really cannot substitute, especially a leavener. I am sorry that these did not work out how you wanted them to.

  73. grace

    December 20th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    the cupcakes turned out way to buttery! it was to rich!

  74. bakedbree

    December 22nd, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Sorry Grace.

  75. yourmom

    December 28th, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    those were some awful cupcakes!!!!!!!!!!

  76. bakedbree

    December 31st, 2011 at 12:47 am


  77. Mzzy

    February 5th, 2012 at 11:48 am

    If I’m using a stand mixer, would I just cream the butter and sugar first? I’m a total bonehead and like to attempt recipes when I know the step by step process, so I’m scared to attempt this without knowing how to. Lol.

    Also, when I finally get around to getting this food processor, when you say to pour the milk through the tunnel…what tunnel do you speak of? The food chute? (Again, I’m a total bonehead so I’m pretending I understand.) Thanks~!

  78. bakedbree

    February 9th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    yes, and yes, the food chute is also called the tunnel.

  79. Nyki M

    February 22nd, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    So I did have the same problem as one of the ladies before me. I tried the mini cupcake idea, and they tasted great. The problem is that the very bottom of the cupcake liner is just greasy! Did we ever find a solution for this? (And thanks so much for posting this recipe, it’s AWESOME!)



  80. bakedbree

    March 1st, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Let me know if you figure it out. Maybe they are being overbaked.

  81. Jamie

    February 27th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Beautiful easy muffins! I did mine in my bullet with the blender attachment. Thank you so much

  82. bakedbree

    March 1st, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Great Jamie!

  83. Jen

    March 2nd, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Baking these cupcakes right now. I’m going to try to use them as a base cupcake for a cookie dough cupcake creation I’m making. Thank you.

  84. bakedbree

    March 4th, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Hope that your creation is wonderful!

  85. Dayeeng:)

    April 20th, 2012 at 2:50 am

    You are my inspiration in making my ever first cupcakes to be bake right now. and I thank you for that πŸ™‚ but i am bit concerned or nervous in using our oven, its in celsius right? and our oven only reaches at 280degrees, so i’ll just put it on 280 degrees? or another oven? First-timer πŸ˜€

  86. bakedbree

    April 26th, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Uh oh, Fahrenheit.

  87. Maggie

    May 4th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Hey there! My name is Maggie and I am 12. I just started my own cupcake business and your cupcakes have helped me get started! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  88. bakedbree

    May 6th, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Congratulations Maggie!

  89. Maggie

    May 4th, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Your so pretty!

  90. Fatma

    May 9th, 2012 at 5:36 am

    hey Bree,
    i love your blog. i just tried this recipe and
    wooow it turn out to be amazing.
    i tagged you in my last post where i sheared my result of your recipe and i sheared also the recipe if u don’t mind.
    Fatma, xo

  91. bakedbree

    May 22nd, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you Fatma!

  92. Katerina

    May 29th, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Was just wondering if you knew of any way to make these less greasy? How would cutting down the butter affect the recipe? I’m new with baking so I don’t really know how to tweak recipes to make them perfect for me haha. These were divine, just a bit too buttery- my hands were slippery after I ate one and the liners are pretty greasy too and I followed the measurements to a T

  93. bakedbree

    May 29th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I have never had this problem, and I have made them many times. 9 Tablespoons is not a lot of butter, so I am not sure what the problem is.

  94. Sarah

    May 30th, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I recently discovered your blog. It’s so nice. my questions is may i use self rising flour for your cake recipe?

  95. bakedbree

    May 31st, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I have no idea, I have never used self-rising flour before.

  96. yummy101

    June 27th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    can i use a blender instead of a electric mixer or food procceser?

  97. bakedbree

    June 27th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    You are probably better off doing it by hand. I think that a cake batter would be too thick for it.

  98. Kyleah

    July 8th, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I have tried countless cupcake recipes, and they have all been disappointments until today! I just baked them for my sister’s birthday and they turned out amazing. They rose really nicely in the oven. Unlike the other recipes, they came out fluffy, not dense at all. Thank you, you’re a life saver! πŸ™‚

  99. bakedbree

    July 12th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    this makes me so happy! This recipe is so hot or miss for people. I make it all the time and have never had an issue, I am so glad that it worked so well for you.

  100. The Girl and Dog Bakery

    October 15th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Hello these cupcakes look so good! I am going to bake them this afternoon just because they look so good and thanks to you I know how. Oh yes and where did you get the blue sugar ( Pretty ) flowers I wonder?

  101. Madi

    November 22nd, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    there was a few typos involving this recipe the temperature of the milk was unclear and the suger and flour were not the right portions for baking.. all my cupcakes did was sink.

  102. Danielle

    March 13th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Is the milk room temp?? It just says temp!!

  103. bakedbree

    March 14th, 2013 at 9:56 pm


  104. JAG

    March 17th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I have a lot of leftover frosting. Can I put it in the fridge to use in two weeks time, or will it not keep?

  105. bakedbree

    March 18th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I don’t think so, royal frosting can be kept in an airtight container for a few days at room temp, but not weeks.

  106. Jessica

    March 28th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Your recipes are outstanding!! Truly superior. I have tried the chocolate cake w/ chocolate butter cream as well as some others. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I am thrilled to try out these cupcakes.

  107. jane

    June 27th, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Wow this is an awesome cupcake recipe! It was just sweet enough and the the texture was great. I didnt have a food processor so I did it by hand and it was just fine. Also at the end I added a mashed banana and some chocolate and it was very yummy. Thanks for the simple and delicious recipe!!!

  108. bakedbree

    June 27th, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I am glad that you like it so much Jane!

  109. Eunice

    August 25th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    just wondering what kind of flour to use? all purpose? cake flour?

  110. bakedbree

    August 25th, 2013 at 3:54 pm


  111. Daisy

    January 31st, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Hi πŸ™‚ I am 14 years old haha but I was wondering how do you start a blog for recipes? Does it cost money for a website? Sounds so fun! Thanks πŸ˜›

  112. bakedbree

    February 4th, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    You can start one for free on blogger.com. Good luck!

  113. Jennifer Smith

    January 27th, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I just made these this afternoon. They are delicious. I love that they were fluffy and not dense like so many of the countless recipes I have made. These are my new go to when my children want vanilla cupcakes. I topped them with a cinnamon crumb and they were perfect! Thank you!

  114. bakedbree

    January 28th, 2015 at 11:51 am

    That sounds delicious!

  115. Sara

    August 6th, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Can you tell me where you got the cute blue flowers from? Thanks!

  116. bakedbree

    August 16th, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    I got them in a bakery supply store, but I think they were Wilton.

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