Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Sink your teeth into the rich layer of delicious Carnation icing on top of a velvety soft vanilla sponge cake. Our Carnation vanilla cupcakes recipe is super easy to make and there are endless ways to decorate and make them your own!

Follow our step-by-step guide and bake these tempting sweet treats in no time at all!
Serves: 12

You will also need...

a 12 hole muffin tin and muffin cases
  • Very easy

    A guide to our ratings

    • Ridiculously easy!
    • Very easy
    • Easy
  • Prep time
    20 mins

    Cook time
    15 mins

Each serving typically contains

  • Energy 1091kJ 260kcal 13%
  • Fat 10.6g 15%
  • Saturates 3.1g 16%
  • Sugars 14.0g 16%
  • Salt 0.41g 7%

of an adult's Reference Intake (RI)*
Energy per 100g: 1625kJ/387kcal
*Reference Intake of an average adult (8400kJ/2000kcal).
Portions should be adjusted for children of different ages.

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Here's how easy it is...
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, (160°C for fan ovens), Gas Mark 4.
  2. 2. Put the cupcake ingredients in a bowl and beat (use an electric hand mixer if you have one!) until light and creamy.
  3. 3. Put the cupcake cases into the tin and spoon in the mixture. Bake for about 15-18 minutes until springy. Cool slightly then lift out onto a cooling rack.
  4. 4. When cool, beat the icing sugar, butter and vanilla with enough condensed milk to make a thick icing. Spread or pipe onto the cakes. Add natural colours and finish with a few sugar decorations!
  5. Learn how to make vanilla cupcakes and look out for other fun ways to decorate your cakes – try edible glitter, sugar shapes or sprinkles. *recipe is based on 70% fat buttery spread

    Have you tried making this delicious recipe yet? 'Let us know by clicking ‘I made it!’, or give us your tips and tricks on the discussion board.  

Discussion Board

  • Jenny
    October 22, 2015
    Ace little cupcake recipe. Much nicer than any shop bought.
  • Lainybee
    March 02, 2015
    This recipe is so simple ! The cakes are delicious! Will be making again
  • veggiekitchen
    November 03, 2013
    Made these tonight but used carnation caramel instead of condensed milk and they taste fab! so moist and fluffy! Made a caramel buttercream with the leftover too, a drizzle of the caramel and mashed up dark chocolate drops sprinkled on top! delicious!
  • Claudia
    September 13, 2013
    My cupcakes rose unevenly, why? I used an oven thermometer. :-(. They were nice though!

    Carnation says:
    Hi Claudia, sometimes ovens can have hot spots which will make some parts cook quicker than others, this could be a reason. The best way to avoid this is to use the oven fan (if you have one) or wait until two thirds of the way through cooking and then quickly turn the cupcake try around.
  • Claudia
    September 05, 2013
    Can I use the Light Carnation Condensed Milk instead?
    Thank you

    Carnation says:
    Hi Claudia, yes light condensed milk will work just as well in this recipe. They make a lovely sweet treat!
  • MJB
    March 01, 2013
    This such an easy to follow and delicious recipe - I will definitely use this again, provided the rest of the family don't get to the condensed milk before I do! Quick question - can I use the recipe to make a cake instead of cupcakes?

    Carnation says:
    Hi Madeline, so glad you love our recipe! Yes of course you can make a whole one - we suggest to double the mixture and split between 2 18cm cake tins (lined with baking parchment), bake for 20-30 minutes or until springy to the touch at 180C (160C for fan ovens) or Gas mark 4. Happy Baking!
  • ummhafsa
    February 01, 2013
    Hi. Can I substitute the plain flour and baking powder with self-raising flour? If so, do I just use the same amount?

    Carnation says:
    Hi Iram, we prefer to use plain flour and baking powder as we feel it gives a better rise in this particular recipe - though you can use self raising if you prefer. If you use self raising and also have some baking powder in your cupboard then add an extra pinch for best results!
  • Sharmistha
    January 16, 2013
    This might now be my "standard" cupcake recipe- very moist sponge.- see

    Carnation says:
    Hi Sharmistha, WOW these are just gorgeous! So glad you like the recipe and our website! Look out for new recipes coming soon :)
  • bettybuttocks
    November 14, 2012
    made with my 2 year old. best cake ever!

    Carnation says:
    Hi Julia - sounds like you've got a mini chef in the making! Happy baking!
  • Glitterkitty
    August 18, 2012
    Makes the best cupcakes been trying for ages to get my cupcakes perfect and these work every single time
  • fatma
    July 20, 2012
    wanna try it. seems very easy
  • MrsB
    July 20, 2012
    Great recipe, very yummy and very easy to make.
  • denny
    June 24, 2012
    i have made these several times what a great sucess everybody loves them thanks for a great recipe that is so easy
  • Sal
    May 10, 2012
    good recipe - amazingly easy cupcake recipe!!