This recipe is from Issue 1 of "Baked and Delicious" magazine, that I've altered by changing the flour to a gluten and wheat free blend from Dove's Farm. For those needing sugar free, the sugar is quite easily changed to sweetener alternatives(not tried this yet myself), and the butter and milk can be easily changed for your normal alternatives if you're dairy free (I have used Flora margarine and goats milk, in the past).
Here's the recipe:
For the Cupcakes:
125g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
125g/4oz caster sugar (I just use granulated, because that's what's here)
2 large eggs, beaten
125g/4oz self-raising flour, sifted (I'm naughty and rarely sift anything but icing sugar)
2tbsp semi-skimmed or whole milk (I had just a small dash more, just in case, for gluten free)
1tsp vanilla extract
(for chocolate, replace a tbsp of the flour with a tbsp of cocoa powder and sift it into the mixture at the same time. Add a heaped tspt of sifted cocoa powder to the icing sugar, too)
For the Buttercream Icing
75g /3oz unsalted butter, softened
2tbsp semi-skimmed or whole milk
1tsp vanilla extract
225g/8oz icing sugar, sifted
food colouring, optional
In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. Whisk in the beaten eggs a little at a time, adding a spoonful of the measured flour to prevent the mixture curdling. Use a metal spoon to gently fold in the remaining flour and then add the milk and vanilla extract. Stand the cupcake cases (I use silicone, but you could also use paper cases in a muffin tin) on a large baking tray and divide the mixture equally between them. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C/375F/gas mark 5 until well risen and golden, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire tray.
For the icing, in a large bowl beat the butter until completely soft. Tim in the milk and vanilla extract, add half the sifted icing sugar and beat for several minutes (warning...for me, this coats my entire kitchen in icing sugar). Add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. If you are adding food colouring, put it in a drop at a time until you get the shade that you want. You can either spread it onto your cupcakes, or I have an icing gun-thing that I fill and just squirt it on (I actually double the icing recipe, because I'm rather generous with it, and that's my favourite part.
If you want to add decorations, i.e. sprinkles or fruit such as raspberries or strawberries, lemon zest (I've contemplated exchanging the vanilla out of the entire recipe and adding lemon extract. I haven't gotten around to it yet), etc., add it before the icing sets.
This, overall, is a rather quick recipe if I need a quick treat. I think it takes me about 10 or 15 minutes to put it all together, then the 15 to 20 minutes of baking, half hour or so of letting it cool, and 5 minutes to apply the icing (that I make during the cooling off time).