7 08 2009

Welcome to cakes and bakes, my first foray into the blogging world.  I hope to share my baking endeavours with all the fun and pitfalls that entails.  While I continue to bake up a storm and learn to take stylish photographs for the blog I’m going to be posting some older recipes and pictures to whet the appetite for what is yet to come.

I’ll start with the basics.  Every baker attempts a wide variety of recipes when they first start out but you soon find yourself going back to a few simple plain cupcake or cake recipes that become your no-fail, go-to recipes that can form the basis of so many moderations and additions.  Here is my no fail vanilla cupcake recipe that I have used as a base for many cupcakes.  Its versatility comes from the frostings that you can use or by adding fruit or chocolate chips.  Here are some double vanilla cupcakes with vanilla cream, sprinkles & mini fondant roses.


Recipe and more photos after the jump.

Vanilla Cupcakes – Adapted from 500 cupcakes & muffins by Fergal Connolly

Makes 18 cupcakes

225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened

225g (8oz) vanilla sugar

225g (8oz) self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

Seeds from half a vanilla pod (optional)

– Preheat oven to 175C (350F/ Gas Mark 4).  Place 18 paper baking cases in muffin tins.

– Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes.

– Spoon the mixture into the cases.  Bake for 20 minutes.

– Remove the tins from the oven and cool for 5 minutes then remove the cupcakes and cool on a baking rack.

– Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, freeze for up to 3 months or top with your favourite frosting and enjoy!

A few of my favourite additions to this recipe are crushed oreo cookies with mini oreos on top of vanilla cream, chopped dried figs, hundreds & thousands to create funfetti cupcakes or even splitting the batter and adding a variety of colours to make rainbow cupcakes….






13 responses

8 08 2009

omg Leah, those oreo ones look devine!! pretty please post me some??? 😀

8 08 2009

Thanks, I wish I could pet!

8 08 2009

Hi Leah!
So good to see you up and running. Love the pics – they look so yummy 🙂 Also loving the recipes – maybe I’ll even try some cupcakes myself some day. I should be making some for Donna’s birthday but I already decided lemon cheesecake. Plenty of birthdays through the year though. I just wish there was any hope mine would look as amazing as yours – they’re so perfect!
Good luck with the blog 🙂


8 08 2009

Cheers missus! You should definitely try them out sometime, they are so easy and so adaptable. Lemon cheesecake = yum, lucky Donna!

8 08 2009

Hi, I have followed Tam’s facebook link here. I have a question – does it REALLY work just combining all the ingredients? I always use the old fashioned ‘cream butter & sugar, add eggs with spoons of flour, fold in flour’ technique. i am not brave enough to put everything in a bowl! Thanks!

9 08 2009

Hi Kat,

I know what you mean but this recipe does actually work by putting it all in a bowl and mixing. It’s not as common and many of my cake recipes do follow the traditional creaming then adding method but this one always works out for me. The victoria sponge recipe I use also employs the one bowl method and creates a lovely light sponge. Do let me know if you try this recipe with the creaming method to see if it works for you.


14 08 2009

hi again. i tried this recipe today but accidentally made exactly the number of cakes i needed so couldn’t taste them yet! they seemed mostly ok but i am not sure about the use of baking powder. i think it made my cakes rise too much then fall and they had a strange pointiness about them. so maybe i’ll try the combining everything technique again but with no baking powder.

17 08 2009


I’m sorry it didn’t work the way you had hoped. I will admit that mine aren’t always domed but as I’m usually adding a topping or decoration to the top of the cupcake I rarely concern myself with their appearance straight out of the oven. I’d be interested to know how they turn out without the baking powder. I tend to be a stickler for following recipes and always worry that they won’t turn out so have never been brave enough to leave out a base ingredient.

I hope you have better luck next time!

8 08 2009

I love how you decorated the cupcake in the last picture! Congrats on your blog 😀

9 08 2009

Thanks, that means a lot coming from such a good blogger as yourself!!

9 08 2009

Hi well done, looks really good, but tastes even, take my word for it(yum) x

9 08 2009

sorry, meant to say (tastes even better than it looks)

9 08 2009

Thanks mum! Enjoy the brownies and lemon meringue squares!

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