• 175g castor sugar
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 175g Stork margarine
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature

I get asked a lot about very few things. One of those things is how I stay so slim which make me chuckle so much I want to reach for a biscuit. Having spent my twenties working in advertising where everyone was stick thin, posh and Oxbridge (silly hybrid word) educated, the very thought that someone might consider ME slim tickles me. For the record I am a size 14 and pretty tall. So yes, I do eat a lot but no, I am not thin or even slim… I am curvy and most of the time pretty happy that way.

The other thing I get asked about is what Paul Hollywood is like. Followed by whether I fancied him. (I didn’t by the way.) The next most popular thing I get asked is what nozzle I used for various icing related projects. It’s almost always a Wilton 1M for no other reason that I am lazy and all my icing paraphernalia is kept in the spare bedroom. The size 14 bottom and my choice of nozzle are oddly interlinked then you see.

Lastly I get asked a lot about how to achieve a perfectly flat cupcake. I’m not sure why as I’ve never had an issue with peaked cupcakes myself. They look cute and if you want them flat you snip the top off with a pair of scissors and gobble the offending peak up. Again, related to my size 14 bottom.

But as people ask… here we go.

Comments as always appreciated…

One year ago: Choc dipped ice-cream cones and Sweetie covered ice-cream wafers and Razzamatazz ribs and Thoroughly British banana and custard cupcakes

Two years ago: Banana and custard melts and Thomas fairy cakes

Flat vanilla cupcakes

Makes 12 – 18 depending on the size of the cases


- 175g castor sugar

- 175g self raising flour

- 1 tsp baking powder

- 175g Stork margarine

- 1tbsp vanilla extract

- 3 large eggs at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3 and make sure a rack is in the centre of the oven. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cases. Mix all the ingredients together until lighter in colour than when you started and creamy looking. This takes about 4 minutes in a KitchenAid mixer with the flat beater (start on 1 and work up to 6) or about 10 minutes by hand with a wooden spoon. Fill each case only half full and do not be tempted to use up extra batter by over filling the cases – that’s how the domes happen.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until just browning and a toothpick comes out of the centre of the middle cupcakes clean. Remove from the oven and from the tin and cool on a wire rack. If you have any mixture leftover bake some more cupcakes! Despite having baking powder in it this mixture will be fine to sit about unbaked for 20ish minutes.

If you still have domes then I would suggest you buy an oven thermometer as baking at a lower temperature is key to achieving a flat cupcake. (As is not overfilling.) Also, try to bake in the middle of the oven. If you bake on a higher rack the oven is usually hotter, again resulting in a peaked cupcake.

Once cool cover your cupcake with any icing you fancy. Perhaps… banana, rose, caramel coffee, Mars bar, brandy butter inspired stuff, chocolate ganache, Italian meringue buttercream or just plain old glace.


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