Heat oven to 200 °C.
Place 12 paper bun cases in a bun tray.
Heat the milk in a saucepan until it almost comes to the boil, then take it off the heat.
Add the butter and stir to melt, then set aside.
Sift the flour with the baking powder and add a pinch of salt.
In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla extract with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy (about 10 mins).
Gradually beat in the sugar until thick and mousse-like.
Turn the speed down and blend in the flour, then the buttery milk.
Stop beating as soon as it’s all mixed in.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 15 mins or until golden and firm to the touch.
Allow to cool slightly in the tin before moving to a wire rack.
To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with 1 tbsp cream and the vanilla extract; if it’s not a good spreading consistency, add a little more cream.
To ice the cupcakes, dip a table knife into boiling water, then spread the icing over each cake with the warm knife.
Decorate to your taste.
This recipe is by Rachel Allen and is reprinted with the permission of the BBC Lifestyle channel.