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Monday, July 07, 2008

Nigella's cupcake recipe (with a chocolate cupcake variation too)

Thank you Nigella.

It was a Friday night with girlfriends cooking up all things Nigella: we had the Feast DVD on perpetual pause on the telly, bucketloads of cream in the fridge, and--most important--, hot pink cardigans and Hollywood tape at the ready.

Nigella's food processor cupcakes are my latest obsession. Quick to make with a recipe that's easy to remember, these instant crowd-pleasers are effortlessly light and fluffy every time.

Such was my obsession I ended up baking a batch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Friday they were vanilla with buttercream icing, Saturday's were lemon with lemon buttercream icing, and Sunday saw them flavoured with cocoa and smothered with chocolate icing then topped suggestively with shiny red Jaffas.

The chocolate ones were my personal favourite but that may have had more to do with the lashings of chocolate icing. They keep well too - I polished off the last one that had been stored in the fridge for a week and it still felt soft and springy. But then again, with cupcakes this more-ish, long-term keeping qualities are rarely worth worrying about!

Vanilla cupcakes with lemon icing

Nigella's Easy Peasy Cupcakes

125g butter, softened
125g sugar
125g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons of milk

Preheat oven to 200C, or 180C if using fan-forced.

Place all the ingredients except the milk into a food processor. Blitz in short bursts until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

Whilst pulsing the mixture, gradually pour in the two tablespoons of milk through the food processor funnel. Blitz until the milk has been incoporated. The mixture should look smooth. Add another tablespoon of milk if necessary.

Divide the mixture across a patty-lined 12-muffin tin. A generous tablespoon should be sufficient, as the mixture should triple in size when baked.

Bake for 15-20min or until well-risen and the tops are a pale gold in colour. Ice when cool.

Lemon cupcakes: Add two teaspoons of finely grated lemon rind.
Chocolate cupcakes: Add two tablespoons of cocoa.

Buttercream icing: Beat 125g softened unsalted butter with 250g pure icing sugar using an electric mixer. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and 2 teaspoons of milk. Beat until smooth (a wooden spoon can be easier at this point), adding either more milk or icing sugar if necessary. Use a piping bag to decorate swirls onto cooled cupcakes.

Chocolate icing: Melt 90g of dark chocolate (broken in pieces) and 30g butter in a bowl sitting over a pot of gently simmering water. Stir until melted, then add 1 cup icing sugar and about 2 tablespoons of hot water. Mix well and add either more hot water or icing sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Using a spatula to slather generously over cooled cupcakes.

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing
all packed into my Wilton cupcake carrier for a housewarming party
28 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/07/2008 12:21:00 am


  • At 7/07/2008 10:55 pm, Blogger Juji said…

    I'm a big fan of this recipe.

    It works well as a "everything in at once" recipe if you don't have a food processor.

  • At 7/07/2008 11:38 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    WOMG these look tasty.

    I had baby raspberry and coconut cupcakes on the weekend. Miniature cupcakes ftw!

    Pity I don't have an oven.

  • At 7/08/2008 8:53 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    Hello I'm backkk did you miss me =P we must catch up again soon. I know what i'll be doing this weekend! And I love love you cupcake carrier where do I get one??

  • At 7/08/2008 10:27 pm, Blogger Memories Of Mine said…

    These look delicious, I love banking cup cakes. I am going to have to try this recipe.
    I like your blog you have some good post with pictures that make me hungry

  • At 7/08/2008 11:18 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi juji - It's a great recipe, and so easy too :)

    Hi Belinda - Argh, no oven? Best reason to visit the bakery, methinks :)

    Hi Pickles - I did notice you were posting again! I got my cupcake carrier from Peters of Kensington but I know there are quite a few different brands available now (eg. Cupcake Courier).

    Hi Liss - Thanks, and hope you enjoy your cupcakes. Glad you're enjoying the blog too.

  • At 7/09/2008 4:01 pm, Blogger Pinky said…

    These looked awesome. I tried the recipe today, but something wasn't right. They came out sunken and goopy. Oh well, maybe I need to try em again.... I will use this lot to practice piping some big swirly tops on. Thanks for the recipe though. If I can get it to work, it will be a good standby!

  • At 7/10/2008 1:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love your blog! And have been reading it faithfully ever since I've moved to Sydney. Btw, I think besides your writing and cooking skills, you have pretty good photography skills too!!! What camera are you using?

    Can't wait to try this recipe once I get into my new place!!

  • At 7/10/2008 6:48 pm, Blogger Y said…

    Those are very cute. I like the way the chocolate icing hangs.

  • At 7/13/2008 11:20 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi pinky - Oh no, I'm not quite sure why that happened. Hope it works for you the next time, and happy decorating :)

    Hi Einna - Thank you and I'm so glad you've been enjoying the blog. I use a Nikon D70s. Do let me know if you find any great feeds of your own too!

    Hi Y - Oh me too :) There's nothing better than the tantalising drip of icing!

  • At 7/24/2008 5:41 pm, Blogger Ms Byrne said…

    oh no! i got a batch of sunken goopey cup cakes too!

  • At 7/24/2008 7:51 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Cooper - Oh dear! I used this recipe just the other day so I'm rather worried that some people are struggling with it. It's the same recipe replicated elsewhere, so I'm at a loss at to why it isn't working. Are you weighing the ingredients? It's a really easy recipe to remember and use and I can't imagine anything worse than failed cupcakes!

  • At 7/27/2008 6:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I made the chocolate ones. They worked fine.

  • At 7/28/2008 10:30 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Maddi - Phew, and thanks for letting me know! I was starting to get more than a little worried there!

  • At 5/11/2010 11:21 am, Anonymous JohnMich said…

    I simply can't understand how people can get this wrong - it is so simple. If the ingredients are measured accurately the only two places that can go wrong (IMHO) are too much milk added at the end and not cooked at the right temperature for long enough. This recipe produces perfect fluffy cup cakes every time. I watched Nigella make them on the ABC show and she virtually threw them together. One thing I did notice was she did not sift the flour - I did and first go they did not end up flat as they were supposed to but rose like little rounded Mt Fugis. Not sifting the flour fixed that.

    Regards, John

  • At 6/01/2010 1:21 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi JohnMich - Thank you for your reassurances. I never sift the flour so good to hear laziness does pay off! The cupcake recipe is super easy - it's why I always use it when I have to whip up something sweet for picnics and get-togethers!

  • At 6/21/2010 12:26 am, Anonymous Amy 82 said…

    These are so easy qand look great will never buy cupcakes again!

  • At 7/04/2010 2:14 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Amy 82 - Cupcakes are terribly easy to make. I don't think I will ever buy them again either. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • At 9/01/2010 6:58 pm, Blogger Andrea said…

    I enjoyed making this recipe with my 10 year old son and he loved the outcome. It was really easy to make and recipes like this one will be passed from friends and family..

  • At 9/12/2010 7:02 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Andrea - It's such an easy recipe. Glad you and your son had such success and hope there are many more cupcakes to come!

  • At 5/06/2011 5:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mine also sank. Anyone have any suggestions why it would do this?

  • At 5/08/2011 11:01 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Cakes only tend to sink if they've risen too fast (oven is too hot) and not allowed to cook all the way through (taken out too quickly).

    The batter should be very thick and it's always best to cook using the middle rack. You may want to use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is heating correctly, and use a skewer to make sure the cupcakes are cooked through. Hope this helps!

  • At 5/30/2011 7:47 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    These are the easiest cupcakes I've ever made! They are light and moist and just so morish! I didn't even bother putting frosting on top..just dusted with icing sugar. Yummo!

  • At 7/09/2011 8:43 pm, Blogger mymentalkitchen said…

    These look awesome. I'm not much of a baker because I have two tinies and there is usually too much prep and mess and such and such. I'm going to do the lemon variation when the rellies come for morning tea because they look super easy!!

  • At 2/07/2012 6:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can you add cocoa to the buttercream to make chocolate buttercream? Any ideas on quantity if you think it will work?

  • At 2/12/2012 12:05 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - You can flavour the buttercream icing with anything you like. I'd start with two teaspoons of cocoa and then keep adding to taste. You can also use grated lemon rind, orange rind, Milo or flavoured essences. Have fun experimenting!

  • At 10/17/2012 3:39 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jesus! I made the cupcakes and they were more the size of muffins I'd say! I think I put in to much bicarbonate of soda in... Taste amazing though!

  • At 6/03/2013 10:45 pm, Anonymous cookie said…

    I made the lemon ones for an exam at my baking institute today and they were great! Was a little nervous because of the sunken goopey comments but they came out just perfect. Topped it with some white chocolate lemon ganache... yummy! Thanks so much!!

  • At 6/25/2016 11:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi guys, just a little comment about the mystery of sunken cupcakes. The reason why any cake sinks is simple. Too much air in the mixture! Try just pulsing till the ingredients are cooperated and that's it. If you desire light and fluffy mixture it wil hardly happen if it's made from the plain flour. Try instead of 125g use only 105g if flour and then just top up with semolina. I know it sounds crazy,but I swear it works in any cakes. I found the cupcakes very sweet so I use only 90g of sugar and its just yummy.


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