Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

When I first got properly into baking, about five years ago now, cupcakes very quickly became my signature bake. I started with this exact vanilla bean cupcake recipe and then went on to experiment with various different flavours. But I always come back to this recipe as it really does take some beating. I use vanilla bean paste rather than essence as I find it gives a much more intense vanilla flavour. The sponge is super airy and the frosting is lovely and light. A match made in cupcake heaved.

This recipe is extremely versatile and you could use any colour for the frosting and decorate them to your personal taste. I made these for my nieces fifth birthday and she had requested pink so I decided to go with a pretty pale pink frosting. I let Bella choose the decorations and she opted for these sparkly pastel sprinkles. Simple, yet effective!


Ingredients (Makes 10ish)


  • Cupcake tray
  • Cupcake cases – I always get mine from Sainsburys as they sell specific cupcakes ones rather than muffin or fairy cakes.
  • 120g Plain Flour
  • 140g Caster Sugar
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Of Baking Powder
  • A Pinch Of Salt
  • 40g Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
  • 120ml Milk (Semi Skimmer of Whole)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Bean Paste


  • 250g Icing Sugar
  • 80g of Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
  • 25ml of Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Bean Paste
  • Sprinkles or decorations of your choice
  • Piping bag and nozzle



  1. Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees / Gas mark 3.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
  3. Gradually pour in half of the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
  4. Whisk the egg, vanilla paste and remaining milk together in a separate jug and then pour into your cake mixture and continue beating for a couple of minutes until smooth. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of a bowl using a silicone spatula.
  5. Spoon an even amount into your paper cases (I normally fill the cases until they are about two thirds full). Bake your cupcakes in the pre heated over for 20-25 minutes. They should be a light golden colour and should bounce back when touched. Leave them to cool for a few minutes in the tin before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Once your cupcakes have cooled. Begin making your frosting in a freestanding electric mixer or by using an electric hand whisk. Beat the icing sugar and butter on a medium speed until the mixture comes together. Turn the mixer down to slow.
  7.  Combine the milk and vanilla paste in a separate bowl and then add the butter mixture a couple of spoonfuls at a time. Once all the milk has been added, add in any colouring if you are using it (I personally use Wilton Colours) then turn the mixer up to high and beat for around 5 minutes which will result in beautiful light fluffy frosting.
  8. Transfer three quarters of the frosting into a piping bag with a medium star nozzle and set to one side.
  9. Using the remaining frosting and a butter knife, spread a thin layer of the frosting over the top of each cupcake, paying close attention to filling the edges of the cupcake case.
  10. Starting from the outside, pipe your frosting in a circle onto each cupcake then top with your decorations! Finally, dig in and enjoy!

*** NOTE – These cupcakes will last in an airtight container for around 3 days***









As always, please do share a photo on social media with me @lifewithmrslee if you give these a try!
Harriet XO


You may also like


  • Nic Powell

    Aw these look so lovely! What nozzle do you use to do your icing? Xx

    March 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm Reply
  • Tinuke

    These look lovely! I have a very similar recipe, but I add a zest of a lemon, have you ever tried that?
    Fabulous photos btw x

    March 30, 2017 at 10:55 am Reply
  • Leave a Reply