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Classic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe: 25 years of baking at Jervaulx Abbey

Vanilla cupcakes are an absolute classic. They’re amazing just as they are, or they can be made as fancy as you like by changing the flavours, decoration or even adding jam into the middle. The finishing touches turn this humble vanilla cupcake into a stunning creation that can be enjoyed by everyone.

For 25 years, The Burdon family have managed Jervaulx Abbey and tea rooms, one of the largest privately-owned Cistercian abbeys in the UK. This is just one recipe from their 25 years of baking book.

Get a copy of 25 years of baking at Jervaulx Abbey for only £12 including free delivery – SAVE 37%

Classic vanilla cupcakes Jerveaulx Valley

Oven temperature 170˚c/150˚c fan oven | Cupcake tin
Baking time 15-20 minutes | Makes sixteen


8oz/227g margarine
8oz/227g caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
8oz/227g self-raising flour


  • Preheat the oven.
  • Cream together the margarine and sugar, beating on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as it’s beating to make sure it’s fully mixed. Add the eggs, two at a time, and vanilla extract on high power. Reduce the speed and add a little flour in between the eggs, then slowly increase the speed again and repeat until all of the eggs and flour are mixed.
  • Beat for a couple of minutes to ensure everything is thoroughly combined before evenly distributing into cupcake cases. The amount you put into each case is important; a rounded tablespoon should be perfect. The cupcake case should be half or just below half full.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes. The cupcakes should rise to the top of the cases.
  • To finish: Choose an icing to top off your creation (recipes on page 120). Vanilla buttercream is our favourite! Use a piping bag to create your topping and decorate with fresh fruits and edible flowers.
  • Variations: To make chocolate cupcakes, swap 2oz/57g of flour for cocoa powder and don’t add any vanilla extract. For the chocolate icing, (See page 120). Finish off with mini chocolates or decorations of your choice.
  • To make lemon icing add the zest from four lemons. Add lemon curd in a piping bag and squeeze into the centre of the cupcake.

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In their footsteps – Celebrating 25 years of baking at Jervaulx Abbey


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Written by

Peter Henry


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