The Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcakes

(524 ratings)
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  • Makes: 12

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

  • Costs: Mid-price

  • Skill level: Bit of effort

  • Child friendly

These vanilla cupcakes, topped with candy-coloured vanilla frosting and sprinkles, are what the Hummingbird Bakery is best known for. These professional vanilla cupcakes are so easy to make and really do look the part too. They're ideal for kids parties or family gatherings as you can make 12 in one batch. When you make these at home, dont overcook them they should be light golden and spring back when touched. This way you will ensure an airy, moist sponge with a subtle vanilla taste. This easy vanilla cupcakes recipe makes 12 cupcakes and will take around 1hr and 5 mins to make, bake and decorate your vanilla cupcakes. Store your cupcakes in a cake tin or airtight Tupperware on the kitchen side for up 3-4 days - of course, the sooner you eat them, the better they'll taste!

These cupcakes would make great food gifts - just pop into a cupcake box and tie with a ribbon!


For the cake:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 quantity vanilla frosting
  • hundreds and thousands or other edible sprinkles, to decorate
  • a 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases

For the vanilla frosting:

  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 25ml whole milk
  • a couple of drops of vanilla extract


For the cake:

  1. To make this cupcake recipe, preheat the oven to 170C (325F) Gas 3.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.
  3. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 2025 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched.
  5. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the vanilla frosting on top and decorate with hundreds and thousands.

For the vanilla frosting:

  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.
  2. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.
  3. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.
This recipe is taken from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers
Photography by Peter Cassidy
Published by Ryland Peters & Small
Text Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers
Photography copyright Ryland Peters & Small

Nutritional information

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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Jolene goodtoknow Editor

I made the lavender version of this Hummingbird Bakery cupcakes over the weekend and I was really pleased with them. The batter is incredibly runny and I worried they wouldn't rise, but Hummingbird Bakery know their stuff and they turned out really well :)


Hi, I would like to make a 3 layer cake, but I am not sure how much ingrediants I would need. Can you help please. Thanks

Katie, goodtoknow

Hi Amy, yes it will be fine to use semi-skimmed milk! Katie, goodtoknow


hi i really want to try this recipe but can i use semi- skimmed milk instead of whole milk? x

GTK Recipes Editor

Hi Elle, Yes, you can freeze the undecorated cupcakes. Let the cupcakes cool off completely. Double wrap with cling film and place in tupperware or a zipped plastic bag, or wrap again in aluminum foil. You can store them for up to 3 months.


I used only 120g of vanilla caster sugar instead of 140g of plain sugar and the cakes tasted lovely. Using the stated amount would have made them too sweet for me. Had to bake them for 35 mins however, so it seems in a conventional gas oven you will have to bake them longer than the instructions say. Also made only 10 cupcakes, but that could have been due to using less sugar. I think this is a good recipe if you need to make cup cakes in a hurry and /or if you're a novice. I would like to know if you could freeze the uniced cakes for future use.


I am making them Right now with my younger brother! they sould be done in about 6mins they smell lovely! :)


I made these and they were so sweet and fluffy, i did have to leave them in the oven for 40 mins, i think next time il add a little flower. But they were very yummy!! :)


I made the vanilla cupcakes yesterday which turned out to be very light and fluffy (gorgeous). However, they weren't very managable in that they didn't hold their shape very well. Also, very crumbly but delicious - what did i do wrong?


Hiya, i have bought your book, and love it. Just one thing, i have bought a giant cupcake tin and was wondering if you had the recipe to make this? Many thanks


I have just made these cakes and they turned out to be really stodgy and gloopy! They also took 35 minutes in a gas oven to cook. I don't know if it's my oven but I am not impressed. Won't be trying these again!


Aww thankyou very much! I have my daughters christening at the end of the month so will be using your recipe to make lots and lots of cupcakes! Many thanks!


Hi Linda - we're so glad you gave these a go. Well done! To make 24, you just need to double all the ingredients, but keep the cooking time the same. If the trays are on two different shelves in the oven, the lower ones might need a minute extra. The ingredients for 24 would be: For the cake: * 240g plain flour * 280g caster sugar * 3 tsp baking powder * a pinch of salt * 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature * 240ml whole milk * 2 eggs * 1/2tsp vanilla extract * 2 quantities vanilla frosting * hundreds and thousands or other edible sprinkles, to decorate * 2x 12-hole cupcake tray, lined with paper cases For the vanilla frosting: * 500g icing sugar, sifted * 160g unsalted butter, at room temperature * 50ml whole milk * a few drops of vanilla extract


I made this yesterday and they are so light and fluffy! Gorgeous! Just one thing i'm quite a novis when cooking and want to make a batch of 24, how do i calculate the ingredients? Thanks




I got 9 large cupcakes out of this recipe, it would have no way made 12! I'm yet to taste but they rose well and was simple enough to pull together. Usually I really enjoy hummingbird recipes but this one seemed a bit "loose" and I was skeptical of it working! They smell lovely though!

Tara Kerr

can you use semi- skimmed milk and lof fat butter?


Cooked this afternoon and turned out great however the sponge stuck to the paper cases. The sponge tasted good and light but not sure why they stuck and didn't come away easily. Advice please for next time! Thanks


Make double the quantity of everything for 12 cupcakes! I had to make the recipe twice to make 12! Next time I will just double everything. Tasted amazing though :-)


@de0cd862e23f515026c31c7707b67cba:disqus Globby doesn't even begin to describe this debacle. Do the barbecue briquettes need to be completely white prior to cooking? I think I may have been over eager.


These cakes turned out nice and light and rose well, I did only get 8 cup cakes though, these were muffin size but I only filled the cases two thirds as said. I didn't add quite as much sugar I kept it even with 120g as I read a couple of people saying they're too sweet, this did the job and they were fine especially with the frosting. :)


Just made a batch of these again, not sure what's the fuss. The batter is a little runny, I'm glad I'd thought to add a bit of flour and a dash of oil, still only 24 cupcakes based on 2.5 portions, the cupcakes rose fine, but didn't taste all that great, a bit 'hollow' . Remember trying this recipe on festival once ( I'm doing cupcakes as a business ) put on a preference try and nearly every single person chose buttery ones. So not just me. Also far too much icing sugar in the buttercream for these light cupcakes, not sure why. All in all ok starting point but for me would only work as a base for different flavours or as an adjusted recipe.

Pastry Chef Gary

Too those with cakes too crumbly, or pale and unrisen, then your oven is too cool. I use a fan oven and baked mine muffin sized at 175 C for 20-25 mins (as per the recipe from my copy of the cookbook - not sure why this one is different?), probably about 27 mins total for mine due to the size and oven temp set with an oven thermometer. They rose beautifully and were light and moist inside. There is a difference between a proper, catering style fan oven and a fan-assisted oven like you get at home. Home ovens do not perform anywhere near as well as a proper fan oven which the heat reduction is designed for, so don't reduce the temperature too much! From my experience, baking anything below 160 C has generally been unsuitable and has left me with either unrisen or crumbly, poorly structured cakes. If I am trying out a new or improvised cupcake recipe I find around 170 C for 20 minutes to be suitable for most batters as a benchmark bake (add 5-10 mins for muffin size cakes).


Stunning and so light - great fro afternoon tea. Make double quantity - they go fast!


Made these cupcakes, but, instead of icing them, I made a big hollow, filled it with lemon curd, and topped it with Italian meringue, to make lemon meringue cupcakes. Absolutely fabulous!


this recipe only made 6 cupcakes for me! I followed the instructions saying to fill the papers 3/4 full.

Cathy Delos Santos

I followed this recipe just awhile ago. the cupcakes domed nicely. I'm still waiting for them cool completely so I could put icing decoration on top. I will be using meringue icing so it will be lighter and would have much lesser fat.The kids can't wait to taste them.

Lauren Chapelhow

tasted great, could have probably made 14-15 but didn't have enough room on the cupcake tray. Also, icing was a bit runny, maybe i'll ease up on the milk next time

Susan Connell

i have made these cupcakes this morning they tasted alright but they did not rise and were doughy what am i doing wrong !!!

Debbie Scott

These cupcakes are outstanding, I found there was quite a lot of frosting so will be stretching it to two batches when I make them tomorrow. (Ive got a very sweet tooth but found it didnt need much frosting as the sponge was very tasty). Don't think twice about making these, go for it!!


I love making these cupcakes and I am making them again for a party on Sunday, they always come out so well, and I love the frosting - it makes enough for nice high piping! You can check mine out at I do find though that it pays to have an oven thermometer - all ovens are different so cooking times vary. Don't forget to leave them to cool in the tin for a few minutes so they don't collapse xx


i was recommended this recipe and i love it! it is very sweet but it is an american cupcake recipe. and i think as a one off treat its fine. very easy to make and came out exactly as described. cooked perfectly (i have a gas oven) in 25 minutes were a light golden colour and very moist inside. everyone really enjoyed them. will definitely be making again!!! i got 15 cupcakes out of the recipe.

Jolene goodtoknow Editor

Hi Netty What temperature did you have your oven set at? If you were using a fan it should be on 150 degrees

ellie cakes

if i was to make these again i would have to cut down the sugar to the same amount of flour as these are the sweetest cakes i have ever had, and thats not a good thing. also i found that it tasted quite like a scone, i know that sounds strange but it was quite bland.


Can you give me advice on the vanilla cupcakes as mine shrink when they cool. Im trying to perfect them for my grandaughters birthday. Thanks


I too made the vanilla cupcakes today but as niamhg said mine didn't particulary colour and beautiful when taken out of the oven but sank in the middle once cooled and away from the sides. Any suggestions? I'm thinking maybe a little warmer in the oven. I also found that I needed to make 10 not 12 to make them the right height.

Katy goodtoknow Recipes

Hi niamhg - sorry to hear that. Hummingbird batter is very runny but they should make very light cakes. It sounds like your oven might've been too cool - for a fan oven, take 20 degrees off of the temp on the recipe, so try them at 150 degrees. Might be worth checking your baking powder is in date too, it has a surprisingly short shelf-life! good luck and let us know how you get on. K

Katy goodtoknow Recipes

Hi Linda - check out our giant cupcake recipe here:


I've tried these twice in a fan oven (140 degrees). Both times the cupcakes rose well, but didn't brown at all, and then sunk back down. Using exact recipe except semi-skimmed milk. Batter is very runny, and makes more than 12 (15). What am I doing wrong? :-(


I love making these cupcakes, everyone who i make them for absolutely loves them, i would reccomend this recipe to everyone.

Pauline Clapton

12 cupcakes: 100g marg/150g SR Flour/150g Castor sugar/3 tbsp milk/2 Eggs/.5 tsp vanilla essence. About 42 g per cupcake. Cook at 160 degrees fan oven for 22 minutes.


hi, can you share your recipe, please?

Libby Davies

I am wondering if the 140g of sugar is correct, seems a lot compared to other quantities of ingredients?

Meow Pancake

Made 24 cupcakes because i doubled the recipe but the icing was enough for 24! They taste very good but stuck to cases.


You will end up with a different consistency of baked cupcake. Whole milk is highly recommended.


take them out 30 seconds to a minute earlier and then allow the majority of cooling time in the tin, then when warm, turn out onto a wire wrack to cool (the cooling in the tin will still cook the cupcakes and you want to keep them light and fluffy, not chewy on the outside) :)


There could be a number of things... are you using eggs at room temperature (recommended). Are you cooking them long enough? (try inserting a skewer after recommended time into one of the cupcake, if it comes away clear without any traces of runny or sticky batter, then you are good to go. If not, put back in, but check in one minute intervals as burning or over baking can and will occur very fast!) Are you using whole milk? Are you using good quality ingredients? (cheaper ingredients can result in poor quality bakes)... other than knowing exactly how you are cooking, I can't really give you an exact solution, but I hope this advice helps :)


This quite often means that the room temperature for making the icing is too warm. Chefs recommendation: try chilling the icing (not too long as you don't want it to completely harden and i can't give an approx time as batch sizes may vary, but try 30 mins covered) then gently whip. Hope this helps :)


sorry, i just realised that this is half of the original recipe, so yes, you would have only made 6 :)


I'm a bit of a cupcake master and I only use whole milk to achieve the correct consistency. You need the whole milk for the fat content. Light milk makes a runnier batter and not as fluffy cupcakes.


Did you use standard cupcake wrappers or muffin/ jumbo cupcake wrappers? I have made this recipe many many times and i have only ended up with 6 cupcakes when I used the jumbo cupcake wrappers. Hope this helps.


the best cupcake recipe I've ever used! The chocolate one is even better...very moist. Sponge sometimes sticks to cases but they have a great rise. The mixture is very runny though but don't worry it does work!! The frosting is way too sweet and a bit too soft to pipe so that may need adjusting. I made 9 muffin sized cupcakes but don't fill cases too high cos they run over!


Followed instructions exactly and the cakes turned out great. Delicious, light and rose beautifully. I added ~3 tbsp of ground black sesame to make a sesame cupcake, and topped it off with black sesame cream cheese frosting. This recipe got me 7 cupcakes but they were all a little too tall. Will only fill liners halfway next time.

Donna Parkes

Well I made a quad batch and got 24 muffin size cakes, great softness and texture, adapted fairly well to lemon drizzle and white chocolate, but it is incredibly eggy tasting.


Excellent recipe, I double the ingredients to make more! Comes out perfect everytime.


Used this recipe today, the cakes and the buttercream came out brilliant! Very good tips along the way as well.

Pauline Clapton

Made these today for the first time. Very light and fluffy and made 16 good sized cupcakes. Papercases didn't stick as in previous comments but personally I prefer my Mary Berry recipe.


This recipe is so easy to follow. I have made these twice now with perfect results each time. This time I added coconut into the mixture it was delicious! Will be using this as my go to cupcake recipe


as a few other people said, it sticks to the paper a little bit but to be honest, even though I'm not a great chef (my family have a joke of not eating anything I've cooked for fear of death) these came out perfectly!!!! so moist, soft and fluffy...I ate 4 within 15 minutes :D however instead of using the vanilla icing (I didn't trust myself to make it myself, i'm still just learning) I melted a bar of milk chocolate and squeezed a bit of maple syrup into it to use as a topping, and wow! it was thick and solid on top which made a nice contrast to the soft fluffy cake, and the maple/chocolate went really well with the vanilla! love this recipe, i'm actually making them again right now, and i'm even going to try making the icing, so wish me luck! super easy and delicious recipe, even my grandma was impressed! thanks guys!!!

Tina Deluca Tsourtsoulas

Same her I tripled he recipe and got 24 small cupcakes. The sponge stuck to the cases.


This is only half the recipe of the original hummingbird vanilla cupcake recipe.

helpful cow



This is the best ever recipe for cupcakes I have ever made..I am 100% delighted with the result. I did however make double quantity which did make 12 american size cupcakes.The sponge is so fluffy & light & the frosting is so creamy. I have recommended this recipe to all my friends. many thanks.


Thanks. The cupcakes came out perfect. I was able to get 12 flat top cupcakes. I only needed to baked for 18min. They were light and moist.


Love this Recipe, used it for my Sons Birthday, went down very well....

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