Recipe: Classic Vanilla Owl Cupcakes

This classic vanilla recipe is the perfect canvas for creating all kinds of adorable cupcakes

This classic vanilla recipe is the perfect canvas for creating all kinds of adorable cupcakes

Looking to make a difference this year? Help save the lives of animals in our communities by making cupcakes and giving them away in exchange for a donation. It’s all part of National Cupcake Day™, a cross-country fundraiser presented by the BC SPCA, the Ontario SPCA and participating humane societies.

This year, Cupcake Day falls on Monday, February 27, but animal lovers and bakers are encouraged to fundraise throughout January and February. To learn more about National Cupcake Day, register or donate, click here. Register and raise $50 online by January 31st to be entered to win a KitchenAid stand mixer.  

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp butter (cubed and softened at room temperature)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder  
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease or line a 12-capacity cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour and baking powder.  
  3. Using a mixer, cream butter and add sugar. Blend well. Add eggs one at a time and continue to mix. Add in vanilla.
  4. Add in the flour mixture and the milk, alternating, until the whole thing is mixed well, light and smooth. 
  5. Spoon the mixture into prepared pan and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let stand in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. 

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • ? cup butter (cubed and softened at room temperature)
  • 2 ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk


  • Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Sift icing sugar and gradually add it to the butter.
  • Gradually add milk and beat until smooth. You may need more or less than 1 tablespoon to reach the perfect consistency.


  • Make sure you do sift the icing sugar first—this will help prevent clumps.
  • We recommend avoiding recipes that also contain granulated sugar; it’s much more difficult to make the frosting smooth.
  • Make sure your cupcakes are cool before you frost and decorate them. 

Owl Decorating Instructions

Thanks to Oreo cookies, these adorable owls are super easy to make.

  • Use half an Oreo with cream for each eye.
  • Cut the remaining cookie and use it for ears.
  • Use brown Smarties or other black candies for pupils (we used licorice here)
  • Yellow banana candies (found at your local candy store) make for the perfect beak.


  • Don’t have a piping bag? No worries. Just use a knife or a cake spatula.  
  • If you do want to do some fancy piping, use a ziplock bag and just snip off a small corner.
  • The cookie aisle, bulk section of the grocery store and the candy store are great places to look for edible decorating tools. 
  • Add a few drops of food colouring to the icing to create custom hues. Keep in mind a little goes a long way.