Basic cupcake recipe

(17097 ratings)

Make a batch of 24 cupcakes in just 40 minutes with this basic recipe. Ideal for bake sales, school fetes, kids' parties, and more.

Basic cupcake recipe
  • healthy
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time25 mins plus cooling time
Total Time40 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories159 Kcal8%
Sugar11 g12%
Fat9 g13%
Salt0.1 gRow 3 - Cell 2
Protein2 g4%
Carbohydrates18 g7%
Salt0.1 gRow 6 - Cell 2

Ideal for novice bakers, this basic cupcake recipe takes just 15 minutes to prepare and uses just five ingredients.

This cupcake recipe makes a batch of 24 basic cupcakes; perfect for birthday parties or bake sales. To make sure these basic cupcakes are extra light, cream the butter and sugar together before adding the remaining ingredients. This ensures as much air is in the mixture as possible resulting in soft, fluffy cupcakes every time.

Our cupcake recipe is perfect for beginner bakers or children who want to learn how to measure, mix and bake. This recipe uses just six ingredients, most of which are store cupboard essentials that you may already have in the kitchen. 


  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • Pinch of salt (optional)

You will also need:

  • Ice-cream scoop (optional)
  • 2 x 12-hole muffin tins, lined with paper cases




  1. Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F, gas 5. Line two muffin trays with 12 cupcake cases or bake in batches of 12 using one muffin tray.
  2. Start by creaming butter and sugar (opens in new tab) together in a bowl using a wooden spoon or electric whisk. Beat until soft and fluffy. Then add the flour, eggs, milk, and salt and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Use a traditional-style ice-cream scoop, or spoon, to divide the mixture between all the paper cases making sure to get an even amount of mixture in each.
  4. Place both muffin tins in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then swap over the position of the tins over and bake for a further 3-7 minutes, until both trays of cupcakes are a light golden colour.
  5. Remove the tins from the oven. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tins for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Once completely cooled, the cupcakes can be decorated.

    Watch how to make basic cupcakes

Top tips for making this cupcake recipe

These easy cupcakes are so versatile and can be decorated in a variety of different ways, for example, topped with a sweet buttercream icing (opens in new tab) or cream cheese frosting (opens in new tab). Spread the icing with a palette knife on top of your cooled cupcakes or make a piping bag (opens in new tab), and pipe swirls onto your cupcakes instead.

Find out everything you need to know about how to ice cupcakes (opens in new tab) with our handy guide including how to create rose and ice cream style swirls.

Can I change the flavour of this cupcake recipe?

It’s easy to turn these basic cupcakes into chocolate cupcakes (opens in new tab), zingy lemon cupcakes (opens in new tab) or even rich coffee cupcakes (opens in new tab); just follow the method above and add drops of your chosen extract to add flavour to each cupcake.

For example, try a few drops of vanilla extract for a sweet vanilla flavour or swap the milk in this recipe for orange or lemon juice for citrusy cupcakes. If you want to make chocolate cupcakes just swap 1-2oz of flour for cocoa powder instead.

How can I make sure all of my cupcakes are the same size?

To make sure your cupcakes bake evenly, use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake cases with the mixture. This will make sure you have an even amount of mixture in each case and that they should rise to the same height.

It's also best to make these cupcakes in a bun tray so the cupcake cases can be held in place when baking.