Donna Hay: Basics To Brilliance Kids

This delicious cupcake recipe offers both chocolate and vanilla icing - which one's your favourite?! Perfect for a day of cooking with the kids ... 


  • 125g unsalted butter

  • 1¾ cups (260g) self-raising (self-rising) flour

  • ¾ cup (165g) caster (superfine) sugar

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder (for extra puff)

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (in a small bowl)

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • ½ cup (125ml) milk

  • Vanilla icing

  • 1/3 cup (80g) chopped and softened cream cheese

  • ½ cup (120g) fresh firm ricotta

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Chocolate icing

  • 1/3 cup (80g) chopped and softened cream cheese

  • ½ cup (120g) fresh firm ricotta

  • 2 2/3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1½ tablespoons sifted raw cacao or cocoa powder


  • 1.

    Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line 12 x ½-cup-capacity (125ml) muffin tins with paper cupcake cases.

  • 2.

    Place the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring with a spatula, until melted.

  • 3.

    Place the flour, sugar and baking powder in a big bowl and, using a whisk, mix to combine. Add the melted butter, the eggs, vanilla and milk and whisk until well combined and smooth.

  • 4.

    Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

  • 5.

    Wearing oven gloves, carefully remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Move onto wire racks to cool completely, before spreading with your favourite icing (instructions below).

  • Vanilla icing:

  • 1.

    Place cream cheese and fresh firm ricotta in a medium bowl. Using a whisk, mix them together until lovely and smooth (you can use a food processor for this step if you don’t have time to soften your cream cheese).

  • 2.

    Add maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Keep in the fridge and spread over the cooled cakes when ready to serve.

  • Chocolate icing:

  • 1.

    Follow the same instructions for the vanilla icing, but add the cocoa powder and extra maple syrup in the ingredients list before whisking.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (12 servings)

  • Energy 342kj
  • Fat Total 19g
  • Saturated Fat 12g
  • Protein 8g
  • Carbohydrate 33g
  • Sugar 23g
  • Sodium 135mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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For more recipes like this, purchase your copy of Donna Hay's new cookbook, 'Basics to Brilliance Kids' at or from your favourite book store.

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