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Cupcake Icing Tips

With Domenica Houlihan

Basic cupcake recipe:

Makes: 24 small cupcakes

Prep time: 1 hour

Cost: $6.80


125g butter, softened

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ cup milk


Preheat oven to 170pC

Place baby muffin papers in small muffin tray or 12 large papers if making large cupcakes, in a large muffin tray.

Beat the butter until pale and creamy, add sugar slowly whilst still beating on medium high speed.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about a minute between each addition, add vanilla.

Sift flour and baking powder and add half to butter mixture with half of the milk, mix intil well combined, repeat with remaining flour and milk.

For mini cupcakes, cook for about 10-15 minutes, for larger ones, cook for approx. 25 minutes. Do not overcook the cupcakes, they should still be pale in colour not golden brown, this will keep them moist.

Butter Icing


50g butter, softened

2 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Food colouring and flavouring if desired


Beat the butter with the icing sugar and milk on high speed, until smooth and creamy, add any colours or flavours, you wish.

Cool the cupcakes thoroughly before icing, ice the cupcakes and keep cool.

Royal Icing


3 medium egg whites

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

700g icing sugar, sieved

Colouring paste


Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, add lemon juice and gradually add the icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it is all used, by now the icing should be quite stiff, like a meringue, however if it is too thick, add a little more lemon juice.

Divide the icing among several bowls, depending on how many colours you want, you will only need a tiny amount of colour in each one.

Keep the bowls covered with cling film when not in use.