Last month, my son turned 3.  For his small family party the weekend before, we celebrated with an amazing rainbow cake; but on his actual day, we indulged in a whole bunch of these pretty pastel cupcakes.  I decided to try out a recipe from my newly acquired Phillippa’s Home Baking cookbook by Phillippa Grogan & Richard Cornish and gave Phillippa’s Cupcakes recipe a go.  Why?  Because I was tired, we had a road trip to Puffing Billy the next morning, I surprisingly had a bag of unopened self-raising flour in my larder, and these sounded so simple (you throw everything in your mixer bowl and beat for 3 minutes!) and so delicious that I simply had to whip them up.

Due to the fact that ‘Happy Birthday’ has 13 letters, I doubled the batch to make 24 cupcakes, instead of the intended 12 in the recipe.  The result was surprisingly good and definitely a recipe worth sharing for those of you keen for super easy recipes which reap reliable results.

160 g very soft butter
150 g caster sugar
225 g self-raising flour, sifted
3 eggs
80 mL milk
2 teaspoons natural vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan.  Place a dozen patty pans into a regular muffin tray or arrange a closely spaced, double layer of patty pans on a baking tray.

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a free-standing mixer and, using the paddle, beat the ingredients together on a slow speed until they are combined.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes or just until the batter is smooth and pale.  Do not over-mix.

TIP: If you are mixing by hand, rest the bowl on a damp dish cloth on the bench to stop the bowl from slipping, then mix with a wooden spoon.  It will take a little longer; but keep going until the batter is smooth & pale.

Spoon or pour the batter evenly into the patty pans and flatten the tops with the back of a spoon.  Bake on the centre shelf of the oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden.  Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

The un-iced cakes will keep in an airtight container for a few days, but they are really best enjoyed within a day or two of baking.

These cupcakes can be simply iced with buttercream or decorated in any way you like.


I ended up using Martha Stewart’s Swiss meringue buttercream recipe, and used gel paste to colour the icing.  I piped on rosettes using a Wilton 1M tip, and then showered them in confetti sprinkles – because everyone loves sprinkles – including the very special birthday boy…

Phillippa's cupcakes 1280-19

Phillippa's cupcakes 1280-20

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