sweet alchemy.

I had forgotten how much I loved to bake. That is, until I left ordering a large batch of cupcakes too late and was left to my own (once quite practiced) baking devices on the eve of my daughter’s third birthday party. Three kiddies tucked neatly into bed, hubby out for a couple of hours with the guys, and donning a black-on-black embroidered cotton summer frock, I hoisted out my dust-covered Cuisinart mixer.

Reawakening the oven.

the cupcake that lit my oven.

Flour-speckled, and excited with the crunchy crack of each organic, free-run egg, I could feel my passion for baking re-awakening after years of being too busy to practice this delectable craft. Now, with my kitchen windows wide open, heavenly scents wafted out of my oven, announcing the sweet alchemy that arises when flour, sugar, butter and eggs come together in just the right way.

Vanilla cupcake batter

Glossy vanilla batter, pretty in pink and purple frilly cupcake cups.

Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cupcake Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cup self-rising flour
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Buttercream Frosting in Blender

Frosting which causes tasters to (joyfully) weep tears of sugar... mmmmm!

Frosting Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 cups confectionary sugar (powdered sugar)
½ cup Whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. For the lightest, most moist and flavorful cupcakes, make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. If you have a stand mixer this recipe is much quicker to make. Using whole milk makes the taste of the cupcakes and icing much smoother.

Cupcake Directions

  1. Whip butter until very smooth in texture. Add sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth in texture. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating very well between each addition.
  2. In separate bowl, mix the 2 flours together.
  3. In separate bowl, mix milk and vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture and milk mixture 1 cup at a time to butter mixture, beating very well between each addition.
  5. Spoon into lined cupcake pan (approx. ¼ c batter per cupcake)
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes in preheated oven (350 degrees F)
  7. Cool cupcakes before 10 minutes in pan; finish cooling fully on wire rack before frosting

Frosting Directions

  1. Whip butter until smooth.
  2. Add ½ of sugar (4 cups), 1 cup at a time, beating well between each addition.
  3. Add milk, and vanilla
  4. Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well between each addition.
  5. Add a few drops of food coloring to icing.
  6. Beat icing well, until good spreading consistency.
  7. Frost the cupcakes and then sprinkle them with sprinkles. Bon appetit!

Cupcakes Fresh from the Oven

Cupcakes Fresh from the Oven

Cupcake Closeup

Cupcakes rising to the occasion.


Never refrigerate cupcakes – this will cause them to lose flavor and dry out more quickly. If not using cupcakes immediately, store them for a few hours or overnight in an air-tight plastic or glass container. For longer storage, freeze cupcakes – this will retain the moisture and much of the flavor – then defrost at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours and serve… but you just can’t beat fresh cupcakes.

Rows of Lovely Cupcakes

Let Them Eat Cake

Bon appetit!

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  1. Leanne Rankin (Keating)

    Love the site Johneen! I’ll be a regular :)

    • Thanks Leanne! I thought about making a recipe binder, but this seemed like so much more fun!

  2. Those are the cutest cupcake papers. I have never seen them before. Did you order them online?

    • Aren’t they sweet? No, I bought them at Michael’s craft store – they were $7 for 12 cups – eek!

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