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My Mother-In-Law's Best Cupcake Recipe

Updated on August 20, 2018

Or any cakes come to that!

This is my Mother-In-Law's basic cake recipe.

So, Ann, I'd like to thank you. This is a recipe you gave to me years ago when you started adapting to gluten free baking (to accommodate your awkward Daughter-in-Law) and it has served me well. Thanks to your ingenuity and experience this recipe has become the basis for all sponge cakes I now make and it's never let me down. I make this recipe gluten and lactose (milk) free, great for any of us who have to stay away from these allergens. But if you are allergy free, hooray, this recipe will still work for you. Just substitute for normal self raising flour and milk.

Happy baking!

For all occasions

I have make this cake for birthdays, valentines, wedding anniversaries and on rainy days when we were just down right bored. It's a simple sponge that can be eaten plain or decorated with butter cream or water icing. It is even sturdy enough to support fondant icing, be it home made or ready to roll, if you're going for a novelty cake and that extra special wow factor! However you dress it up a good cake recipe is always the best place to start.

Baking Essentials

Gluten free flour is a must for this and brightly coloured cases really bring out the wow factor.

cakes for all occasions
cakes for all occasions

This recipe has great heritage in our family and is now a gluten free version suitable for coeliacs. Ann, my Mother-in-Law, passed this recipe to me having tweaked it a little to make it work gluten free. However, I think this is adapted from a recipe she got from her mother, a lady we all called Big Gran. I now make this cake with my own son, so I'm hoping it will pass down the family. But I'm also passing it on to you as it seems such a shame to keep such a delicious, easy cake to myself!

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10-15 mins

Total Time: 30 - 40 mins

Serves: 1 large cake or up to 16 fairy cakes


  • Vanilla Sponge Cake:
  • 5 oz caster sugar - I use golden caster sugar as it gives a better colour
  • 6 oz soya margarine
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 oz gluten free self-raising flour blend - I like Dove Farms
  • 1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp soya milk
  • Chocolate Sponge Cake:
  • As above but use 5oz gluten free self-raising flour blend
  • 1 oz coco powder
  • Coffee Sponge Cake:
  • Add 1 tsp instant coffee granules mixed with 1-2 tsp boiling water
  • Beware: not all instant coffee is gluten free!


  1. Arrange your fairy cake cases in the baking tray or grease and line two 7" cake tins.
  2. Preheat your oven to 175°C, 350°F or gas mark 4
  3. Cream together the margarine and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl or jug and add the vanilla.
  5. Add the egg to the sugar and margarine a little at a time beating vigorously between each addition.
  6. Mix together the flour and baking powder (along with the coco powder if making a chocolate cake).
  7. Add the flour mixture to your main cake mix and fold until mixture is smooth.
  8. Add the milk (or coffee at this point if making a coffee sponge) and mix again to get the right consistency. The mixture should be smooth but not runny.
  9. Divide mixture between cake tins or fairy cake cases. If making a large cake make sure you spread the mixture right to the edges of the tin.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 15 - 20 mins for fairy cakes or 20-25 mins for large cakes
Cast your vote for Bake Cakes Beloved of Adults and Children Alike

For Halloween

or any time...

The cake is a great quick and easy pudding staple. It's also an excellent simple bake with the kids on a rainy day (see my lens; Rainy Day - Don't Despair). But why not give your bake a twist to suit the occasion. You could try one of the options below.

For Halloween why not add a few drops of green food colouring to your mix as you add the flour for a spooky ectoplasmic glow? Or, when filling paper cases you could try adding a teaspoon of the mix, place a blob of jam in the middle and then another teaspoon on top. When you sink your fangs into the cake it'll display a blood red heart. Or combine the two for a Halloween party wow factor.

How about halving the batch once made and stirring through a different colour in each half before you bake? Pink and yellow cakes make a colourful addition to summer parties. And you don't have to stop with the jam. You could bake all sorts into the centre of your cakes. Try it with lemon curd or even a few chocolate chips. We also shouldn't forget the good old marble cake. Split the mixture and flavour on half with cocoa. Mix them back together but not thoroughly leaving a marbled pattern when baked - kids love this one.

Did you try the recipe?

what did you think of my cake recipe?

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This one was part of a batch for the cubs
This one was part of a batch for the cubs

Lynne - Queen of Cakes

"There isn't much in life that can't be eased with cake"

It'd be great to hear if you tried this out. Also if you have any gluten free recipes to share I'd love to hear from you.

What did you think?

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