Vanilla cupcakes (Magnolia Bakery)


I realised something this afternoon – it’s been almost three months since we got back from America and I am yet to try out some of the baking gadgets and recipe books I collected throughout the journey. What a waste! So I decide to set things straight and try something from the only recipe book I picked up during the trip – The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.

Since they’re famous for their cupcakes, it wasn’t hard to pick what I would be making – while the cookbook is packed with cake, biscuits, slice and pie recipes I just had to try a cupcake recipe first. I’ve already told you about the wonderful cupcakes we picked up from Magnolia Bakery in New York, but here’s a recap: they were light, fluffy, flavoursome and delicious. Exactly what you want in a cupcake, right?

Apparently, Magnolia Bakery’s most popular cupcakes are their classic vanilla with pink buttercream icing and sprinkles – sounds good to me! I dug out some bright pink cupcake liners, pink food colouring and confetti sprinkles and got to work.

The recipe isn’t too dissimilar to the fail-proof Edmond’s vanilla cupcake one, but has a few key differences: this one is a lot bigger (it makes a minimum of 24!) and has a higher liquid content. But as it turns out the latter is an important one, and as soon as I had the batter mixed I knew these were going to be special cupcakes – it had this really light, smooth, fluffy texture to it that kind of puffed away in your mouth.

After 20 minutes in the oven, the cupcakes came out looking absolutely perfect. While they cooled I whipped up a batch of vanilla buttercream, tinted it a very pale shade of pink and got ready to try a different method of icing – the paddled swirls that are signature at Magnolia Bakery. I had absolutely no idea how to do them, but after a little experimenting I think I worked it out… or at least something similar enough to look cute!

I am so, so pleased with these cupcakes – one bite and I felt transported back to our hotel room in New York where we sheltered from the snow and enjoyed our very first Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. But I wasn’t the only one who was blown away by them – Kevin made quite a grand statement after devouring half of his cupcakes: this is the only vanilla cupcake recipe allowed in our house from now on (gasp!).


Recipe adapted from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook


  • 225g butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 ¼ cups plain flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence


  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Cream butter until smooth. Gradually add sugar and cream until light and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes)
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together plain and self-rising flour. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients in three additions, alternating with milk and vanilla.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners to ¾ full. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Cool cupcakes in pan for 15 minutes before placing on rack to cool.

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  • Jo Carroll

    These honestly are the best cupcakes I have every made.
    Use this recipe with HTWD’s butter icing and you will be sure to impress.
    Yum – enjoy!

    • Kirsten

      Wow, what wonderful feedback Jo – thank you! So glad you enjoyed them x

    • Jo Carroll

      Sorry EVER made!

      I have just been asked by my neighbour for the recipe as she tried them & LOVED them, and I need to print off the recipe again!!