My Favourite Cupcakes..


I got this recipe from the Sainsbury’s magazine years ago, when cupcakes were at their most popular.

I’ve used it ever since, not that I make these light-as-air cupcakes very often – they are strictly  a special occasion bake!

I tend towards the lemony flavours for the icing, to cut the sweetness, I suppose. There are variations in the NOTES section at the end of the recipe. The cinnamon one is very good too..


  • An electric beater
  • cupcake paper cases (medium muffin size)


  • 12-muffin or tart trays.
  • Weighing scales
  • Small saucepan
  • Sieve

INGREDIENTS: For the Cupcakes:

  • 200g butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 200g self-raising Flour
  • Capful of vanilla extract
  • +/- the grated rind and juice of a lemon.

For the Sugar Syrup:

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of water

For the Frosting:

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 600g icing sugar (sifted)


METHOD: This usually gets me about 12-15 cupcakes

  • Put your muffin cases into the muffin trays (I always do this first so that I’m ready to go once the cake mixture is ready)
  • Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees Fan
  • Put the sugar and butter into the mixer bowl and beat together until light and airy
  • Add, a little at a time, the beaten  eggs. Don’t panic if it starts to curdle – just add a teaspoon of the flour
  • Remove from the mixer, and start to sift in the flour in batches, folding in gently but thoroughly,between additions.
  • Add the vanilla extract, and lemon juice and rind, and fold in.
  • Add 1-2 dessertspoons of the mixture to each paper case, and level off.
  • Cook at 170 for 15-18 minutes until they’re a pale golden colour and bounce back when gently pressed with your finger.


  • Let them cool for a few minutes in the trays, then remove them to a cooling rack
  • If you’re adding the syrup ( see NOTES) now’s the time to do this.


  • Can I recommend that you put some newspaper or an old tea towel underneath the cupcakes to absorb the spills? This will save you a load of sticky cleaning up.
  • Make up the syrup, and spoon it gently over each cake, then let them sit for a while, then you’re ready to make the icing.

The Icing:

  • Weigh the cream cheese and butter into a bowl and using either a wooden spoon, or an electric beater, combine them together until completely mixed.
  • At this stage, add your flavourings ( see NOTES)
  • Weigh out the Icing sugar separately, then add it to the cheese/butter mixture, and mix until light and fluffy.
  • It’s really important that you sift the icing sugar – otherwise you’re making a lot of work for yourself..
  • Then either fill a piping bag, and go all artistic on me, or just spread it on with a knife (see notes below).
  • Decorate with sprinkles and seasonal decorations ( it’s obviously Easter for these ones, but a little food colouring and festive sprinkles can make them Christmassy, and individual candles suitable for birthdays.


  • I always find the icing quite soft, no matter how much icing sugar I put in, so I tend to keep these in the fridge before serving.



  1. a teaspoon of ground Cinnamon, or to taste
  2. A capful of vanilla extract, or a teaspoon of vanilla paste, which has the seeds in it.
  3. Grated zest and some of the juice of an orange or lemon.
  • Cupcakes are supposed to be flat on top, but mine often aren’t! Don’t panic, the frosting covers a multitude, and they taste so good that I don’t believe you’ll hear many complaints!
  • I sometimes don’t bother with the syrup, if I’m trying to reduce the over-all sugar content. However, I tend to (again!) add some lemon juice to cut the sugar. If these were for adults only, a drop of home-made Limoncello wouldn’t go amiss 😉
  • I have to confess that I’m the world’s worst at dealing with icing – I get into a complete tizzy when I’m confronted with piping bags. So these days I just slap it on with a flat-bladed knife ,give it a bit of an artistic swirl, and hope that sprinkles and chocolate eggs will distract the punters!



I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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