Wholesome Cook
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Nigella’s Cupcakes and the Perfect Cupcake Frosting

Nigella's Cupcakes and the Perfect Cupcake Frosting

It seems in the last couple of weeks I have gone from being a Wholesome Cook to a sugar obsessed, baking queen person. I assure you we have been eating right, I just haven’t been able to post about the savoury dishes as much as I’d planned to because I’ve been coming across so many new and exciting  goodies to bake!

But before I get the balance of sweet and savoury amongst my posts back on track, I need to tell you about these little cupcakes.

A couple of days ago Mr Chipconnoisseur’s kids and I attended the Sun-Herald Sydney Family Show at Moore Park. In amongst all the rides and tonnes of arcade fun we found a little cupcake decorating stall sparkling with glittery sugar crystals and dozens of various sprinkles.

It was so much fun decorating our own cupcakes with fluffy icing, sugary toppings and the whole caboodle! I felt like a kid again, back in the days when sugar was my best friend and just before drawn out visits to the dentist’s began. We also decorated a special cupcake for Mr Chipconnoisseur to surpise him with after dinner. He loved it.

Nigella's Cupcakes and the Perfect Cupcake Frosting

The next morning the little girl, her imagination awakend by the previous day’s experiences, was keen to bake and decorate some more cupcakes, but wanted to do so on her own. This time it was me who got relegated to the duties of a cook’s assistant.  I used Nigella’s cupcake recipe which I saw for the first time about 10 years ago, because it’s one of the easiest ones around. To make and to remember. We just made half a batch. I rewrote the recipe a little, with no disrespect to the goddess who wrote the original of course, to make for an easy kids version. The little girl wanted to keep it in her own recipe folder for future use.

As far as the icing goes, fate had it that I read a post by Alison about the perfect icing on the morning of our outing. I was surpised to hear that it contained plain flour which I found interesting to say the least, but I was considering giving it a go. When I tasted the icing at the fun fair, it was light and fluffy and I thought it just might be the flour-type icing I read about earlier. So we made it and it was perfect indeed!

Later in the morning, I got a message from Laura at Starloz saying she was baking hot cross buns and if we wanted to, we could meet up and exchange the goodies. So we wandered down the road with a couple of cupcakes in hand around afternoon tea time to be treated with some yummy home-made hot cross buns and a glass of milk. I’m liking having Laura nearby.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Nigella’s cupcakes and the perfect cupcake frosting

This recipe is great for kids to make on their own or with a little assistance from grown-ups.

Nigella's Cupcakes and the Perfect Cupcake Frosting


  •  125g self-raising flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened (we used dairy free margarine)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • food colouring
  • sprinkles to decorate

Preheat oven to 200C ( 180C fan forced, 400F, gas mark 6). Line a 12-hole miffin tray with paper casings.

To make the cupcakes, place all cupcake ingredients except for milk into a mixer bowl and process until smooth and well combined. Add milk and mix for another 30 seconds or so.

Divide mixture between paper cups. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Nigella's Cupcakes and the Perfect Cupcake Frosting

In the meantime, start on the icing. Combine flour and milk in a small saucepan and whisk together. Place over medium heat and continue whisking until the mixture starts to thicken on the bottom – whisk to create a smooth paste, you should be able to see the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, transfer into a bowl, cool at room temperature.

Once cooled, cream butter and sugar in a bowl using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice and flour mixture and beat continuously for 7 to 10 minutes on a high speed, scraping the sides of the bowl from time to time. This will yield a light, highly aerated frosting.

Divide between 2-3 bowls and add your favourite food colouring. Mix in for a smooth colour.

Spoon mixture into the corners of medium glad wrap zip lock bags, twist and tie the opening tightly with a rubber band. Cut off the tip and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

Decorate with your favourite sprinkles.

Nigella's Cupcakes and the Perfect Cupcake Frosting


Alison April 21, 2011 at 7:33 am

Your cupcakes look great! Your daughter is a baking and decorating genius! I am so glad that you liked the frosting. It looks great with the colouring. :)

Wholesome Cook April 21, 2011 at 7:43 am

Thank you! They are gorgeous, aren’t they. She is actually Mr Chipconnoisseur’s little girl, and I’m sure while she gets influenced by me, she gets her creativity and love of sparkly decorations from her Mum who is pretty good at decorating cakes too :-)

Phuoc'n Delicious April 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

That’s cute of your little girl, I think it’s wonderful to get kids involved in the kitchen when they are young. I remember my fondest memories as a kid making things with mum in the kitchen. One day I’ll do the same when I have kids!

Mez April 21, 2011 at 11:21 am

Beautiful, I want to bake gorgeous cupcakes nowwwww!!!

veggiegrettie April 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm

It’s hard not to love cupcakes…yours look great!

Wholesome Cook April 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Thank you ladies :-)

Laura (starloz) May 30, 2011 at 6:55 pm

i missed this post, oops!

i love having you as my neighbor also.

Melissa August 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Where does the lemon juice come in to the icing recipe?

Wholesome Cook August 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm

H Melissa, good pick up. Add the lemon juice once you’ve creamed the butter and sugar. I’ve updated the recipe now. Thanks!

Sean Chambers October 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Fantastic recipe, i am going to do it together with my better half this evening. Hope i get it right! Cheers

KT October 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Thank You. I’ve been searching for a nice frosting recipe for my sisters baby shower party. Can’t wait to try it!!

Kerryn January 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

These were so quick and easy – thanks!! I’ve never made icing like this – it was delicious!

katrina berbano February 10, 2012 at 7:17 am

i’m excited to try this for my grand children’s birthday party..btw. does this type of frosting go well with all cupcake flavors and will the frosting melt, as it is summer here in the philippines and we will be holding an outdoor party in the afternoon. thank you

Wholesome Cook February 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

Hi Katrina, the frosting should be more stable than a regular buttercream frosting, but I would keep the cupcakes in a cool area before serving them outside. Happy Birthday wishes to your grandchildren :-)

Jennifer February 11, 2012 at 5:05 am

I’m baking these cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday party this year. We did a test run and she loved them so much that she wants me to make extras so her friends to take one home with them. I checked online and found that Box and Wrap was a great place to get cupcake boxes. I have stickers, markers, and crayons so the kids decorate their own cupcake box. At least the extra baking will keep me from buying party favors to give the kids.

HASEENA MOTALA February 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm


Wholesome Cook February 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Hi there, I assume it could be once the cupcakes are iced. I have not tried it through, sp perhaps try on one and see – it should be fine food safety wise, just not sure about any changes in flavour or texture.

Tracey May 10, 2012 at 5:26 am

Wow! Made three batches in the last 2 days!! So quick and easy, and very delicious!! I’m not a fan of conventional icing and always Ice my cakes with melted chocolate or cream cheese frosting, but this is lovely! I do however, and having made three lots, keep ending up with the frosting splitting!! Although the taste is sensational, it is not at all appealing to the eye!! I have reduced the amount of time whisking it, but the end result is always the same! Do you have any suggestions or ideas as to where I’m going wrong? And also possibly on how to make it slightly firmer?? Thank you!

Tayla August 24, 2012 at 8:32 am

Hi I made some chocolate cupcakes, and I want to icing which is white.

Helen September 9, 2012 at 10:10 am

This is delicious frosting. I made my first batch yesterday and loved the taste. I ended up, like Tracey, with it splitting though. Did I beat it for too long, perhaps? Mine is also too soft to pipe. Can I check – what are the measurements exactly. i.e. are those metric cups and 1/2 cup = 125ml? Thanks!

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook September 9, 2012 at 10:28 am

Hi Helen, they are metric cups so yes, 1/2 cup is 125ml. It’s important to cool the milk flour mixture to room temp, this should help prevent splitting and the mixture become too runny. Also, I’d suggest beating the icing for a shorter time – all mixers are different, so you should use your judgement here. And if it appears a little too soft still, place icing in the fridge for 10 minutes before piping… I hope that helps! :-)


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