Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Coca-Cola Cake - an ode to the Anderson fam

Coca Cola Cake

I don’t want to cloud this post with commentary, but what can I say? This cake is just, awesome.
It is incredibly (for lack of a better word) moist, chocolately, sweet and will last for up to a week (if it hasn’t been eaten already).
It’s funny that there is coca cola in the cake batter as well as the icing, as really there is only a hint of coca cola flavour, really it is best described as a really good chocolate cake.

I found that one regular can of coke was enough for the cake, the icing, and a small glass of it for my mum to drink!

Do make it though, it is so easy and will definitely please a crowd.

Ingredients (can be made into one cake, or 12 cupcakes)

For the cake:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 250g golden caster sugar (I just used regular caster sugar)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml buttermilk (or 30g natural yogurt mixed with 100ml skim milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 2 tblsp cocoa powder
  • 175ml coca cola

For the icing:

  • 225g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 2 tblsp (30g) unsalted butter
  • 3 tblsp (45ml) coca cola
  • 1 tblsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and put in a baking sheet at the same time (the cake tin will go on top of this). Grease the cake tin and line it (I lined mine with foil, wrapping the foil around the outside of the tin as well to avoid the mixture leaking – it is quite a runny cake mixture). While the foil is a slight pain to peel off the cake at the end, you could try baking paper instead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you…
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  3. Beat the egg, buttermilk (or yogurt and milk mixture) and vanilla in a measuring jug.
  4. In a heavy based saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and coca cola, heating it gently.
  5. Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the liquid ingredients in the jug (buttermilk, egg and vanilla), beating until it is well blended.
  6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake on the warm sheet for 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean (my cake needed about 45 minutes).
  7. Leave to stand for 15 minutes in the tin before unmoulding. Then, turn the cake out on to a wire rack, and place some throw away newspaper underneath the wire rack (this is to catch any icing that drips through).
  8. Sieve the icing sugar and set aside for the moment. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the butter, coca cola and cocoa and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted.
  9. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and spoon in the sieved icing sugar slowly, mixing until you have a good, spreadable and well-combined icing. It will be runny and this is okay. 
  10. Pour the icing over a cake, letting it drip a bit, it looks great and it will set slightly after some time. You do this step while the cake is still warm, not piping hot, but warm. Leave the cake to cool until transferring it to your serving plate and sharing with your friends and family…. Right? 


Jam-Doughnut Muffins - that's right...doughnut...

 Jam-Doughnut Muffins – that’s right…doughnut….

These were a bit risky with no picture to refer to, so I took a chance – and what a great outcome!
I did make a couple of mistakes though, which is good because now you won’t make the same!
My advice – coat with butter and sugar when warm, and eat warm, just like a fresh, jam-filled vanilla doughnut, only in a muffin form and SUPER easy!
These couldn’t really be simpler – and there is no fiddling around with a deep fryer like for regular doughnuts; nor is there a requirement for a special doughnut baking tray – simple pimple. Wait….

Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)

  • 125ml milk (1/2 cup, FULL CREAM do not even bother anything else)
  • 85ml vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 12 tsp strawberry jam
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease a 12-bun muffin tray (not the huge muffin size, the regular size), and grease incredibly well (with the oil) – I used muffin patties for mine and that was mistake one (incredibly hard to peel off!)
  2. With a fork, beat together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Stir this into the flour and caster sugar to combine (just, do not over mix and lumps do not matter!)
  4. Spoon the mixture into each muffin cup so that it’s just under a third full.
  5. Then, add a tsp of jam to the centre of each muffin mix, and finally top with the remaining muffin mix so that the cases are just about full.
  6. Put them into the preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the tops feel springy and resistant and the muffins have puffed up into little toadstools.
  7. Once you have taken the muffins out of the oven, melt the butter slowly in a thick-bottomed pan, and lay the sugar out in a wide and shallow bowl.
  8. As soon as the muffins are manageable to handle (but still warm), take them out of the moulds, dip them in the butter (the whole muffin) and roll them in the caster sugar.
  9. Eat warm – just like a fresh doughnut J

An ode to Nigella - beginning with Blueberry muffins

Nigella’s Blueberry Muffins

This recipe and the few to follow are all a result of my Sunday afternoon spent non-stop baking, and of course, inspired by the one and only Nigella Lawson.
I don’t care what people say, she is still my idol, and she is still the original domestic goddess in my eyes.

I love when I get on a baking role, and these muffins were the first off the mark this past Sunday afternoon. I had spent much of the weekend looking through all of my Nigella cookbooks after a big room clean out (yes, I have all of her books) and this recipe caught my eye.
These muffins actually aren’t terribly sweet, which is good! They taste just that little bit healthier…
I am a muffin rookie (cupcakes are my thing, and there is a big difference between the two!) and I was able to make these with ease, so you should find these a breeze! 

You can find this recipe in Nigella's most faaaaabulous book for the baking mad (and one of her oldest) "How to be a Domestic Goddess - Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking"  - you can purchase the book here (I HIGHLY recommend) - https://www.google.com.au/search?q=how+to+be+a+domestic+goddess&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=fflb&gfe_rd=ctrl&ei=W5GdUt_VEsyN8QfM24DICQ&gws_rd=cr#channel=fflb&q=how+to+be+a+domestic+goddess&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=shop


  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 75g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)
  • 200ml buttermilk (alternatively, use 100g natural yogurt and 100ml skim milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 200g blueberries


  1. Melt the butter, and set it aside to cool a little. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, and in a measuring jug beat together the buttermilk (or yogurt and skim milk), egg and melted butter.
  3. Using a wooden spoon and a light hand, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently to combine. Don’t worry about the lumps: the important thing with muffins is that the mixture isn’t over worked, as this will result in a tough and dry muffin (yuk). This step definitely tests my heavy-handedness…
  4. Fold in the blueberries, again keeping the mixing to an absolute minimum.
  5. Spoon into the muffin cases, best way to ensure they are all the same is by using an ice cream scoop, but any spoonful will do.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, until the muffins are risen and golden, and firm to the touch.
  7. EAT. Warm, cold, with butter (you don’t really need it though) – they are fabulous warm because the hot fresh blueberries creates its own jam.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

 These cupcakes are fairly new to my life, but since the first batch have rapidly become a staple and a popular choice by many.
First let’s be clear, they definitely aren’t healthy carrot cakes, but really you could pretend that they are with the amount of time you spend grating carrots. That’s what I like about these cakes; you burn some calories grating carrots, strengthen your right (or left) arm muscles, and subsequently replenish those calories with one (or four) of these babies.

I made these for a friend last year for her birthday – she wrote me a post-it thank you note saying something along the lines of – “so nutty, so carroty, so delicious” – I feel that sums up these new favourites of mine. I may add a few more though – “gingery, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, more-ish, moist” I know…those last two were a bit schmaltzy.

These are adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s original recipe – another faaaaaabulous blog that you all must check out! You can get her recipe here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/12/carrot-cake-with-maple-cream-cheese-frosting/

Carrot Cupcakes


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup rice bran oil (sunflower/canola oil would also work but preferably not)
  • 4 eggs – you know what kind of eggs by now…
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 3-4 medium sized carrots, I also don’t bother to peel mine – more nutrition/roughage) J
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup sultanas

1.     Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
2.     Line 24 cupcake molds with patty tins.
3.     Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend and set aside.
4.     Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended – you can do this either with a hand held electric mixer, or an electric stand-mixer.
5.     Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.
6.     Add flour mixture and stir with spatula to combine.
7.     Stir in grated carrots, walnuts and raisins and mix until well blended.
8.     Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each (you may find you can make more than 24 cupcakes but generally this makes enough for 24).
9.     Bake cupcakes for 15 minutes, turn pans around to ensure cakes are evenly baked within the oven, and bake for another 5 minutes (approximately – as this depends on your oven) or until a cake skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
10.  Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack.
11.  Let cool completely before icing them – a good trick is to place cupcake on the back of your wrist, when they feel cool on your wrist, they are ready to be iced.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
*Makes enough for about 20 cupcakes (comfortably) and enough for 24 cupcakes at a stretch – if you want a lot of icing on each cupcake, then I suggest you times this recipe by 1.5


  • Two 250g packets of Philadelphia cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup


  1. Beat butter and Philadelphia together until well combined –  beat for a few minutes.
  2. When combined, add icing sugar one cup at a time and mix on a low speed.
  3. Finally add maple syrup and beat all ingredients for a few minutes on medium speed until well combined and of smooth consistency.
  4. Pipe, spread, slap – whatever – the frosting on to the cupcake. I like to pipe the icing on to mine with a star nozzle tip, and then top the cupcakes with a whole walnut or just a piece of a walnut.


Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

 These cupcakes are my beautiful mother Lee Brown’s favourite cupcakes. She is “not a sweet tooth” apparently; however anytime these are baking in the oven she is more than happy to eat at least one, smothered in cream cheese icing. 
Another fan is my absolute legend of an uncle Pete Arlington, who also needs to taste at least 2 or 3 each time I bake them, "...just to make sure of the flavour" he says.

I love when people love cupcakes, especially mine. While these recipes aren’t my own, I have adapted them in my own way and now they are a favourite of many of my friends and family. 
All I can say is – go ahead and make these awesome red cakes; because red velvet is red hot right now, and their flavour is only describable as tasting red - you will just have to see for yourself - oh, did I mention they're red?

Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes original recipe can be found here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Velvet-Cupcakes-with-Creamy-Vanilla-Icing-241544

Butter Lane Cream Cheese Frosting recipe cannot be accessed online, so, you’re welcome.

Very importantly - many thanks to my wonderful colleague JuJu (Julia de Berg) for her fabulous photography skills - she took all of these photos for me!

Now to the recipe... 

Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes


  • 3 1/3 cups plain flour
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature - about 187.5g: use kitchen scales or guesstimate like I do J
  • 2 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature – free range, always
  • 6 tablespoons red food colouring (this equals to two bottles of Queen Pillar Box Red food colouring)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (never use imitation vanilla or vanilla essence, always vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (I always use Himalayan pink rock salt)
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line cupcake tins with cupcake patties, this recipe yields approximately 36 cupcakes.
  3. To make the cupcake mix: in a small bowl sift the flour and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food colouring, cocoa and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well. Ensure top scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated – this stage it may look curdled which is OK.
  7. In a measuring cup, whisk the salt in to the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. (Remember, always start and finish with dry ingredients when incorporating wet and dry – this means you will need to portion the flour in to four parts, and the buttermilk/salt in to three).
  8. Also in this part – ensure not to overbeat. This is imperative!!!!! Make sure you mix with the electric mixer until just combined, and at the end you can finish it off with the spatula.
  9. In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Add to the batter and mix well, again just lightly beat with the electric mixer and do the rest by hand – making sure the mixture is well blended and smooth.
  10. Divide the batter among the cupcake patty tins, you may need to bake in two batches as this mixture makes more than 24 cupcakes – I use an old fashioned ice cream scoop that releases the same portion per cupcake – one of the many best things that has ever happened to me.
  11. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes before turning them around to make sure both ends of the cupcake tray are evenly baked. After 20 minutes, turn them around and bake for a further 5 minutes. You may want to watch them at this stage, because all ovens vary.
  12. When a cake skewer is inserted and comes out clean, the cupcakes are ready. Leave them in their trays for 5-10 minutes before moving to a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.
  • A trick that I have said before, you can test when a cupcake is completely cool by placing it on your wrist, if your wrist feels no heat, then the cupcakes are ready to ice! 
  • This recipe also yields 2-3 cakes depending on how big you want them, if you want to do a layer cake then bake the cakes for 40-50 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean. 

Butter Lane Cream Cheese Frosting

*Yields enough icing for 36 cupcakes, but this can be stretched a bit further.


  • 227g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (225g is fine, I mean reeeeally….).
  • 454g Philadelphia full fat cream cheese (450g is fine, I mean reeeeally….).
  • 8 cups pure icing sugar, sifted.
  • 1 splash vanilla extract.


  1. Mix butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat on a medium speed for 5 minutes until well combined.
  2. Once combined and while mixing on a low speed, add the sifted icing sugar, one cup at a time.
  3. Once all the sugar is well mixed, add a splash of vanilla extract and mix on a medium-high speed for 3 minutes or until smooth and fully combined.
  4. Frost, ice, spread, however you want to ice your cupcakes with the icing – do not refrigerate!
  5. Stuff 1, 2, 3 or 4 in your face and eat quickly to forget it ever happened and avoid guilt at all costs, they’re worth it :)


Monday, July 15, 2013

Movie Cookies

These cookies began as a complete replica of Joy The Baker’s Buttered Popcorn and Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe available here at http://joythebaker.com/2013/04/buttered-popcorn-chocolate-chip-cookies/
But then my very wise cousin Lucie Arlington brought to my attention one day, how much better popcorn and malteser cookies would be, as popcorn and maltesers are one of my favourite things to eat at the movies, why not combine them in a cookie?
The result - the movie cookie.

Read it and weep my friends. Then go make them, because they’re awesome.


  • 125g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet microwave buttered and salted popcorn
  • Maltesers – as many as you like
  • Pink salt or sea salt for sprinkling


  1. For the popcorn - place packet of microwavable popcorn in microwave – follow the instructions on the back of the packet. When finished, allow popcorn to cool. You’ll have about 4 cups of popcorn, however about 2 cups of this you will have shoved down your gob while preparing the dough…or maybe that’s just me… 
  2. Next - place oven racks in the centre and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Set aside. 
  3. For the dough - in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (alternatively can use hand held electric whisks), cream together butter, brown sugar, and caster sugar.  Cream until butter is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in egg and vanilla extract for one more minute.  
  5. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat on low until just combined.  
  6. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a spatula to fold in the popcorn.  It might seem like a disproportionate amount of popcorn considering the cookie batter.  Keep folding.  The popcorn will break down a bit as it’s folded in.  Be patient with this step as it can be a bit tedious.
  7. Next mix through the maltesers. 
  8. Scoop dough by the heaping tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets, again this can be a bit tedious as it will seem like a disproportionate amount of cookie dough for the popcorn and maltesers, but be patient. Also – if you shoved in half the popcorn while baking, that will make this step that little bit easier!
  9. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the pink salt or sea salt (this is an optional step but I love salt on sweet baked goods so I highly recommend)
  10.  Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until the edges and tops are golden brown.  
  11.  Remove from the oven; allow to rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
  12. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature, they can last for several days, but will likely be eaten by this time :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Chocolate Orange Biscotti

 Chocolate Orange Biscotti
Biscotti is new in my life….. I had never made biscotti before until about a month ago when I decided to give Joy the Baker’s (http://joythebaker.com/) Dark chocolate and anise biscotti a go, from her cook book. The original recipe is available here - http://www.rookno17.com/2012/03/dark-chocolate-anise-biscotti-joy-baker.html. While her flavour combination was good… I wanted something citrus-y. My love for biscotti only really developed in the last couple of months. This was from all of those take away flat white’s at Manly Vale’s Belaroma cafĂ©, where I was sometimes lucky enough to be given a small piece of citrus and pistachio biscotti to go. While I loved these little morsels, their biscotti was very crunchy (as biscotti always is due to being twice baked) – however that’s what I love about this recipe – they are crunchy on the outside, still a little bit soft on the inside, and the aroma and taste of Allens Jaffas fills the room, what could be bad about that?

Note: This recipe is very versatile…the flavour combinations are endless – think about it: white chocolate, pistachio and cranberry for Christmas time; lemon, lime, orange zest and almonds; coffee and walnuts; vanilla and cinnamon… OY! The list goes on.


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (around 94g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped 
  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped


    1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 176 Degrees Celsius.  Line two large baking sheets with bakingpaper and set aside. 
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
    3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy - 3 to 5 minutes.
    4. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add 1 of the eggs and egg yolk and beat until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
    5. Add the flour mixture, all at once, to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until well combined.  Mixture may seem a bit dry, but that’s okay.  Add chocolate chunks and grated orange zest and mix until combined – but don’t overmix.
    6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  If the dough is shaggy and crumbly, that’s fine – just knead it until it comes together.  Shape each piece of dough into a log (about 1.5” wide and 8” long) on the baking sheets.  Beat the remaining egg, brush over the logs, and sprinkle generously with sugar.
    7. Bake biscotti on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes.  Let biscotti rest until cool enough to handle.  Use a serrated knife to gently slice biscotti into 1-inch-thick slices.  Flip cut side up onto the baking sheet and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Biscotti will still be slightly soft to the touch.  Let cool and enjoy.
    8. Biscotti will last, in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 2 weeks (but I can assure you they will be eaten well before then)


Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

These cupcakes are the first cupcakes I started making many years ago. As the years have passed me by, I like to think that these have improved somewhat.
When I think back to the cupcakes I used to make, I often cringe!
I would like to thank my family (The Brown’s) and my cousins (The Arlington’s) for being my main taste testers and most honest critics over the years.

These cupcakes are classic vanilla cupcakes; I use the Magnolia Bakery’s recipe for the cupcakes, and Butter Lane Cupcakes frosting recipe for the buttercream (both bakery’s are in New York, so you know they’re good).
While I cannot take credit for these recipes, I can provide you with the link to the Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcakes recipe, right here -  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/saras-secrets/magnolias-vanilla-cupcake-recipe/index.html.
I am also providing you with the Butter Lane Cupcakes vanilla buttercream recipe, and this is pretty special because you cannot access it on the Internet; and they do not have a cookbook!
I did a cupcake class at their East Village bakery with a friend of mine in June 2012 and was given copies of the recipe; I haven’t been able to find their recipes anywhere online since – so here is my gift to you! You’re welcome.

One other thing… the reason I use the two different bakery’s recipes is simple - Butter Lane use some cream cheese in all of their frostings, which cuts back on the butter. This, I believe makes a huge difference in the taste and also makes the icing less sickening - while still retaining their deliciousness and making it worth every calorific bite. Enjoy!


(Makes 24 cupcakes)


  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature (free range!)
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use vanilla bean paste which gives the beautiful black dots through the cupcakes, but good quality vanilla extract is fine)


  • Preheat oven to around 175 degrees Celsius.
  • Line 2 trays each of 12 capacity muffin tins with cupcake patty tins.
  • In a small bowl, sift and combine the flours. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  • Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla (whisk the milk and vanilla together in measuring cup beforehand). With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. (I cannot stress this enough how important this is – I suggest mixing both wet and dry ingredients until it is all not completely incorporated and doing the rest by hand at the end with the spatula)
  • When completely mixed (But not over mixed! Over mixing will produce a horrible dry cupcake) - carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 18 to 25 minutes (depending on your oven), or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. (I bake mine for 18-22 minutes maximum and that’s always perfect, usually just 18 is fine but it can depend. There is nothing worse than a dry cupcake!)
Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. (You can always tell when a cupcake is completely cool, by picking one up and putting the bottom of it on your wrist; once you can’t feel any heat on your wrists, then the cupcakes are ready for icing – this doesn’t take long)


Vanilla Buttercream
(Makes enough to ice 36 cupcakes)


  • 453g unsalted butter
  • 113g cream cheese (full fat Philadelphia)
  • 7 cups icing sugar (must be pure icing sugar – I suggest CSR brand in the purple packet – do not even THINK about using ‘soft icing mixture’ as it will completely change the texture of the icing – in a very bad way)
  • 1 vanilla bean (the seeds)
  • 1 splash of vanilla extract (I almost always use 2 tsp of vanilla bean paste instead of the scrapings of the bean and the extract – this is up to you – it is so nice having the black specks of vanilla through the icing though)


  • Combine butter and cream cheese (both at room temperature – all baking ingredients should always be at room temperature for the best results) in a mixing bowl and mix on a medium speed for 5 minutes.
  • Add the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean (or the 2 tsp of vanilla bean paste) and mix for one more minute.
  • While mixing at a low speed, add the icing sugar, one cup at a time.
  • Once sugar is combined, add a splash of vanilla extract and mix on medium to high speed for 3 more minutes until really light and fluffy (if you used vanilla bean paste instead, then you can omit adding the vanilla extract, but will still need to mix for at least three minutes to ensure sugar is completely combined).
  • Load up a piping bag or a palette knife with this frosting and frost cupcakes to your taste!