Wholesome Cook
Dessert + Snacks

Nigella’s Cupcakes and the Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting

This simple Nigella Lawson cupcake recipe is my go-to for a wonderfully delicious, soft and fluffy cupcake base. I like to use a cream cheese frosting for the topping. You can use buttercream or simply use lightly sweetened whipped cream to decorate your cupcakes if you prefer.

Nigella Lawson Cupcake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Nigella’s Cupcake Recipe

I recall watching one of Nigella’s cooking shows a while back when she made her signature cupcakes with frosting. It might have been How to be the Domestic Goddess, in fact. What caught my attention was the simple to remember ratio of ingredients for the cupcakes.

Nigella Cupcake Recipe

Nigella’s cupcake recipe calls for a simple ratio of self-raising flour, butter and sugar, as well as eggs, milk and vanilla. You can, of course, make the cupcakes using dairy-free spread and non-dairy milk.

You can try to healthify these by using less refined flours and sugar. However, I’m of the opinion that sometimes we simply need a good old cupcake, the way it was intended to be. You know, for parties and fetes. These are perfect!

Nigella Lawson's Cupcake Recipe

The Perfect Cheese Cream Frosting

I absolutely love this cream cheese frosting – it’s perfect and a very simple recipe to make. It’s my go-to and I hope it will become yours.

It’s light and fluffy and has that unmistakable tang to it.

Because it uses less sugar it lends itself well to carrot cakes and Nigella’s cupcakes!

Nigella Lawson Cupcake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting

Check out also this Chocolate Cake with Rocher Icing. You can actually bake it into cupcakes or donuts! Soooo tasty.

Nigella Lawson Cupcake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting
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2.84 from 12 votes

Nigella’s Cupcake Recipe with Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting

This simple cupcake recipe is one of Nigella Lawson's originals. It's easy and yields light and fluffy cupcakes every time. It might just become your go-to cupcake recipe. Just like the cream cheese frosting! The cupcake base can easily be made dairy-free.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Cooling time20 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes


For Nigella’s Cupcakes

  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 125 g unsalted softened butter (or you can use dairy-free spread)
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or dairy-free milk)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 125 cream cheese softened at room temperature
  • 25 g unsalted butter softened at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk


  • Preheat oven to 200C (180C fan forced, 400F, gas mark 6). Line a 12-hole muffin 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 in the tin for 5 minutes, then on a wire rack.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add icing sugar, vanilla and milk. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on high speed for a further 2 minutes.
  • Once the cupcakes have cooled down completely, spread the icing with a palette knife or butter knife on top of the cupcakes.
  • To pipe, optional, spoon mixture into a medium zip lock bag, twist and push out any air. Tie the end tightly with a rubber band. Cut off the tip and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.
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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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