vanilla cupcakes and baking equipment with icing bag and tray

Nothing beats the sweet smell of warm vanilla sponge, fresh from the oven. This super-reliable cupcake recipe is a great one to make with kids, or if you’re batch baking for a party or cake sale. It’s a simple six-step recipe that should be in every baker’s bible.

Once you master the basic sponges, you can get creative with the decoration. It’s also really easy to upscale the method for bigger cakes, too. This classic Victoria sponge uses the same technique, with very slightly tweaked quantities.


Makes 24

225g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
225g golden caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
1 vanilla pod
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3. Line two 12-hole cupcake trays with paper cases.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. One by one, crack in the eggs, making sure you beat each one in before adding the next. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds, then add half the seeds to the mixture.
  4. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then pulse until just combined, or gently fold together by hand.
  5. Using two teaspoons, divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden, cooked through and an inserted skewer comes out clean of cake mixture. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

For some extra flavour inspiration, take a look at our cupcake collection. You can make the recipe gluten-free by using ground almonds and a gluten-free flour, or for the vegans among you, check out this vegan cupcake recipe, from Cupcake Jemma and if you want to get the kids involved here’s a how to do it: 


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