Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Swiss Buttercream

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Without a doubt, this recipe is my favourite vanilla sponge recipe. I don't think I have any reason to go dabbling around with other vanilla cake recipes 'cause I just love this one too much. 

It's buttery and moist and oh so heavenly. You can dress it up or down, use any frosting you like, add a little bit of zest to the batter, fill it with curd or jam or caramel or ganache or anything else you fancy. This vanilla sponge recipe is absolutely perfect for cupcakes.

It is in fact the Magnolia's vanilla cupcake recipe. 

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You can also bake this as a two layer 9" cake, I have yet to do so but I can imagine it would be fantastic!

Why haven't I gone all crazy with flavour combinations for this post? Well, as the saying goes, Keep It Simple Stupid. So a big KISS it is. A big vanilla kiss!

Awaiting their adornments

Awaiting their adornments

Perfectly sweet and moist vanilla sponge kissed with a generous swirl of velvety vanilla Swiss buttercream, and hiding inside, a white chocolate ganache centre.

I'm just about swooning as I write this!

Pretty in pink. Valentines perhaps? Or maybe a baby or bridal shower or a princess's birthday

Pretty in pink. Valentines perhaps? Or maybe a baby or bridal shower or a princess's birthday

This recipe uses the creaming method so be careful not to overmix the batter as you add each addition of the dry ingredients 'cause you want to avoid toughening up the gluten in the flour. If you're interested in the workings/science behind baking, read through the two articles over at The Joy of Baking about the two types of cake recipes: Foam/Unshortened Cakes & Butter/Shortened Cakes. That's for the baking nerds out there (hey, I'm the one who's posting the links so I'm not dissing anyone! :) )

And then we have the frosting. Again, it will take a lot to get me dabbling with other buttercreams!


Ever since I discovered Swiss buttercream it's been one of my favourite frostings to use. It's not as sweet as simple buttercream (icing sugar, butter, flavouring & cream or milk) and is far more creamy. It is a little bit more work than simple buttercream but it's well worth the effort. 


As for ganache, it's probably one of the easiest things to make and is also versatile. Warm it up and serve as a sauce with ice-cream. Firmer and you have the perfect filling for cupcakes, cakes and cookies or even use it as a frosting. It's only two ingredients, but again, sometimes the simple things are the best things. 

Happy baking!

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Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes, easily halved to make a dozen


1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour

1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour

225g Unsalted Butter, softened (1 cup / 2 sticks)

2 cups Granulated Sugar

4 Large Eggs, at room temperature

1 cup Milk

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Salt



  • Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted / 350°F)
  • Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners
  • In a small bowl sift the flours together then set aside
  • Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug or small bowl and set aside
  • In a large bowl cream the butter until smooth
  • Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes
  • Add eggs 1 at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl between adding each egg
  • Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and beat until just incorporated
  • Beat in 1/2 of the milk & vanilla
  • Repeat the previous 2 steps, ending with the last of the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners to about 3/4 full
  • Bake for 20 - 25 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Leave to cool in the pans for 15 mins
  • Remove cupcakes from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before filling & frosting
  • Use an apple corer or small round pastry cutter to remove the centre of each cupcake (then enjoy nibbling on the bits you removed!)
  • Fill a pastry bag with the white chocolate ganache and fill each cupcake
  • Using a large star tip, frost each cupcake with a generous swirl of Swiss buttercream then decorate with edible glitters, dragees, sprinkles, sugarpaste decorations, etc.


White Chocolate Ganache

Enough to fill 24 cupcakes


200g White Chocolate

150ml Double Cream



  • Finely chop/grate the chocolate and put into a heat resistant bowl
  • Put the cream into a saucepan and heat until just about to boil, it will start to bubble around the edges
  • Remove from heat and pour hot cream over the chocolate
  • Using a whisk or fork, stir the cream and chocolate together making sure all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth
  • Refrigerate and stir with a fork every now and then so that it thickens evenly, then use when it reaches the desired consistency
  • Tip: Dark chocolate ganache can thicken up in as little as 2-3 hours because of the high cocoa content, milk chocolate ganache takes longer and white chocolate ganache longer still. Because of this, I find it best to make the white chocolate ganache a day ahead and leave it refrigerated overnight. Leave it to sit out at room temperature for 2-3 hours to soften up before using to fill your cupcakes
  • Tip: To speed up the process you can use a higher ratio of white chocolate to cream but I like to keep it simple and use equal amounts 'cause it's easier for me to remember when figuring ingredient amounts when I'm out shopping! If you do want to speed things up, use about 250g-300g white chocolate to 100ml cream
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Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Enough for a generous swirl of frosting on 24 cupcakes


4 Large Egg Whites, room temperature

200g Granulated White Sugar

350g Unsalted Butter, room temperature

Seeds scraped from 2 vanilla beans


3-4 tsp Vanilla Extract (to taste)



  • Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl
  • Put the bowl over a pot of simmering water
  • Whisk over heat until all the sugar is dissolved and it resembles marshmallow fluff, about 3 mins
  • Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat until the mixture is cool and you have a glossy meringue
  • Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time, making sure it's completely mixed in before adding more
  • Tip: At some point it will look curdled, DON'T WORRY! Once you've added all of the butter, just keep beating and it will come together to form a smooth, creamy buttercream
  • Beat in the vanilla extract or seeds from vanilla beans
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Vanilla Cupcakes recipe adapted from "More from Magnolia"

Posted on February 1, 2011 and filed under Baked, Sweet.