Get the children involved with this super easy cupcake recipe. Pudsey Cupcakes are simple vanilla sponge cakes with delicious buttercream icing.
They are perfect for school bake sales, Children in Need charity events or as a delicious treat for the family while you watch the appeal.
We also have a chocolate chip cupcake recipe with no buttercream required they are even easier than this recipe!
Jump straight to the recipe card for everything you need to make these cakes today, or continue reading the blog post for more about the charity and to read about the ingredients in more detail.
Pudsey Cupcakes Video
Check out the video below to see how easy it is to make these Pudsey Cupcakes recipe that all children love!
What is Children in Need?
Children in Need began in 1980 as a series of short segments in between the usual TV programming and it raised 1 million in that very first year… an incredible amount for the time.
In 1985 Pudsey Bear became the mascot. That first year he was a cuddly brown bear but by the next year, he appeared in his trademark yellow with his spotty bandage. He's remained largely unchanged since then.
His designer's hometown was Pudsey in West Yorkshire, earning him the name we all know so well!
Children in Need has raised 800 million pounds for disadvantaged children over the years… and we think that is definitely something to celebrate!
These easy vanilla sponge cupcakes with buttercream only require a few everyday ingredients.
Butter (besides being delicious) is used to give the cupcakes a rich flavour and a tender crumb.
Make sure you use room-temperature butter if you do decide to go for the real thing.
Do not melt the butter, it will change the texture of the cupcakes. Bring it to room temperature naturally.
We actually suggest using stork in the sponge as we find it works better and is soft and ready to use.
For the buttercream frosting, we find unsalted butter works best!
Caster Sugar makes them sweet… which is pretty much the point of these children's cupcakes!
Egg whites bind the ingredients together, they also add volume through their leavening properties.
We suggest using Two Chicks Egg Whites as it's ready to use and works well to create pale white and soft sponge cupcakes. Saves you the hassle of separating the egg yourself and no wasted yolks!
Self Raising Flour
We recommend using self raising flour in these children's cupcakes it has all the ingesdients needed for them to raise well, and it's also easier!
However, if you don't have self-raising flour, you can substitute it with plain flour (all-purpose flour), baking powder, and salt.
The purpose of milk in baking is to stop the sponge from being dry, to add flavour and to help with browning.
Usually, whole milk is best, though you can use semi or skimmed milk if preferred.
Canned Coconut Milk is a great non-dairy alternative.
Vanilla extract adds a lovely warm flavour and scent to the cupcakes that all kids love.
Icing sugar is one of the main ingredients in making buttercream. Icing sugar is super fine, so it makes a lovely soft buttercream.
We chose the Dr Oetkter Bright and Bold mix, shown by pudsey bear below! But you can use any that you like!
Chocolate Chips or Raisins could also be added to your cake mix if you wanted to add some more flavour.
You will need a cupcake tray or muffin tin to make the cupcakes. You will also need cupcake cases.
A large mixing bowl with a whisk (or a stand mixer) helps mix the cupcake batter.
An ice cream scoop can be used to evenly distribute the batter into each case (this isn't a necessity, you can use a piping bag or simply spoon it in)
Piping bags to pipe the buttercream on.
If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a Ziploc bag instead. Fill the bag with the buttercream and snip off one of the corners to make a small hole. Then pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes in a circular motion.
Or simply use a knife to spread the buttercream onto the cupcakes for a rustic, homemade look.
Here is our favourite simple cupcake recipe, so simple & easy to make and guaranteed to make light, fluffy cupcakes every time! Get the kids to help you.
Simple Cupcake Mixture
Start by beating the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric whisk will make this step far easier! Keep going until it's smooth, creamy and fluffy.
Add the egg whites and then whisk again!
Now it's time to add in the flour, milk and vanilla extract.
Don't want to make a big mess? Mix the flour with a spoon before whisking, or it will shower it everywhere. Not that we're talking from experience or anything.
Pop cupcake cases into two cupcake tins, and then use your ice-cream scoop to pop a scoop of mixture into each liner, it will give you a consistent amount and is just the right size.
You can always use a piping bag or a regular spoon if you don't have a scoop!
Bake in a preheated oven set to fan 170°C/ 190°C/ 350°F /Gas Mark 5 for 15-18 minutes.
When they are ready, they will be a lovely pale, slightly golden colour.
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before piping on the icing!
Vanilla Buttercream Mixture
For the icing, start by whisking the butter until it is soft and creamy.
Next, add the icing sugar. Use a spoon to stir it and allow the icing sugar to settle, once it's settled, you can go ahead and whisk it.
Finally, add the vanilla extract and ensure the icing is the right consistency. You want it thick enough to hold its shape, but soft enough to pipe or spread easily.
Add a tablespoon at a time of more icing sugar if too runny, or milk if too firm.
How to pipe buttercream on cupcakes?
I used a 6 star closed nozzle tip to pipe the buttercream on the cupcakes.
Start from the outside edge and follow around the case until you reach where you started and circle inside until you reach the middle, then stop squeezing and pull away to leave a small peak!
You can build it up bigger if you want, but some children find it too sickly with too much icing!
Decorating Pudsey Cupcakes?
Sprinkle with your choice of decorations!
📖 Step by Step Recipe
Children in Need Cupcakes - Easy Sponge Cupcakes with Buttercream
- 300 g (2 ½ Cups) Self Raising flour see notes for substitutions
- 140 g (½ cup) Butter Must be softened (not melted). We find Stork gives best results.
- 360 g (1 ½ cups) Caster Sugar
- 4 Egg Whites We use Two Chicks brand
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 g (1 cup) Butter
- 400 g (4 cups) Icing Sugar powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon Milk
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- sprinkles your choice, we used colours that represent children in need
Vanilla Cupcakes- makes 24
- Preheat oven to fan 170°C/ 190°C/ 350°F /Gas Mark 5In a large mixing bowl using an electric whisk on low, beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes until smooth, creamy and fluffy.140 g (½ cup) Butter, 360 g (1 ½ cups) Caster Sugar
- Add egg whites and whisk for further 2 minutes.4 Egg Whites
- Add the flour, milk and vanilla extract. Mix with a spoon at the start to prevent the whisk showering flour everywhere! Then use the whisk for 3 more minutes.300 g (2 ½ Cups) Self Raising flour, 250 ml (1 cup) milk, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Put cupcake liners in 2 x cupcake tin. We like to pipe them in to just above halfway. You can spoon them in if prefered.
- Bake in the preheated oven set to fan 170°C/ 190°C/ 350°F /Gas Mark 5 for 15-18 mins they should have a pale golden colour when ready.Place on a cooling rack and make sure fully cooled before you pipe icing on top.
Simple Vanilla Buttercream - Wait for the cakes to cool before making.
- Beat butter in mixing bowl using a whisk for 2 minutes200 g (1 cup) Butter
- Add icing sugar, stir with a spoon to start. Then once settled into butter, whisk for 5 minutes.400 g (4 cups) Icing Sugar
- Add vanilla extract, whisk for 2 minutes.2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Check the consistency of the buttercream before piping.The consistency you want is thick enough to hold its shape, but soft enough to pipe or spread easily. Add a tablespoon at a time of more icing sugar if too runny, or milk if too firm.1 tablespoon Milk
Decorating- If you don't have piping bags see notes or you can spread the icing on instead.
- Make sure cakes are cool, or the icing will melt!! Start from the outside and swirl in circles into the middle.
- Once you reach the middle pull up to leave a tip.
- Now sprinkle on the edible decorationssprinkles
- Enjoy! Will be fine stored at room temperature if made night ahead of cake sale.If you make more than 1 day ahead they will need to be stored in the fridge (upto 3 days ahead)
FlourIf you don't have self-rising flour for this recipe, you can substitute it with plain flour (all-purpose flour) plus baking powder and salt. For 300g of self-rising flour called for in the recipe, use the same amount of plain flour plus 3 teaspoons of baking powder and ½ teaspoon of salt.
ButterFor the sponge cupcakes, we find using stork is better than butter. If using real butter, make sure it is softened by bringing it to room temperature before starting. Do not melt the butter it will change the texture of the cupcakes. On the other hand, for the butter icing, I find unsalted butter gives a better texture and taste result than stork.
No Piping Bags?If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a Ziploc bag instead. Fill the bag with the buttercream and snip off one of the corners to make a small hole. Then pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes in a circular motion. Or simply use a knife to spread the buttercream onto the cupcakes for a rustic, homemade look
This post was updated on 12/11/2022 with new pictures, and more tips on how to make vanilla sponge cupcakes with buttercream icing.
How to store cupcakes with butter icing?
Butter icing will be fine stored at room temperature if made day/night ahead of cake sale.
However, if you make more than 1 day ahead they will need to be stored in the fridge to stop the butter icing from spoiling.
Don't forget to donate to this great cause if you can?
Hope you enjoy these Children in Need Cupcakes?! Please pin and comment below, letting us know how you got on!
More Cake Sale Recipes
Take a look at our other sweet treat cake sale recipes that kids love.
Another simple, yet delicious bake is our thumbprint cookie; you can experiment with the centres to find your favourite filling!
These classic cut-out cookies always go down well with kids school bake sales too.