How To Make One Vanilla Cupcake

Do you ever have the hankering for a perfect vanilla cupcake, but don’t want to have a whole dozen sitting around once you’ve satisfied that craving? A single vanilla cupcake can be baked in a toaster oven with just a few pantry staples that you probably already have at home. This single vanilla cupcake doesn’t even require a scale.

The Joy of Baking One Vanilla Cupcake

Baking for one is a pleasure that you might overlook. Creating a single vanilla cupcake is as practical as it is fun. Solo baking reduces waste — instead of throwing away uneaten (or even freezer-burned) cupcakes, you bake just what you want when you want it. The ability to bake a single cupcake also cuts down on trips to those high-priced cupcake bakeries. Solo baking is also a great way to bake with your children. The smaller amounts in this recipe are easier for them to handle, and the toaster oven is far more manageable than the oven.

Make Mine Vanilla

Vanilla cupcakes are a bakery essential, as they can serve as a base for so many other flavors. The secret to making this simple cupcake anything but dull is to use a simple base of egg white, granulated sugar, and all-purpose flour, but add a whopping full teaspoon of vanilla for this single cupcake. A bit of vanilla extract is also added to the frosting for a double dose of vanilla scent and flavor. This single vanilla cupcake is a perfect time to use a favorite or homemade vanilla extract.

Equipment for Baking for One

This single vanilla cupcake doesn’t require a scale or a large stand mixer: A simple set of measuring spoons, a small bowl, and a small whisk will do most of the work for you. While there are small six-cup muffin pans that will fit in a toaster oven, you won’t need one. A small, oven-safe ramekin will do the trick for this single cupcake since it can hold a cupcake liner very neatly. Doubling up the cupcake liner and using the smallest ramekin you can find will keep the cupcake from spreading in the oven.

Baking in a toaster oven is very similar to baking in a standard oven — just make sure you have a rack in the center of the oven and give the toaster oven plenty of time to preheat. Also, make sure you’re familiar with your toaster oven’s operating procedures before baking — mine shuts off completely when the self-timer goes off.

How To Make One Vanilla Cupcake

What You Need

For the cupcake:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons self-rising flour

1 tablespoon whole milk or almond milk

For the frosting:
1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkles (optional, but seriously? Add them!)

Toaster oven (optional, but recommended)
Oven-safe ramekin
2 paper cupcake liners
Small mixing bowl
Small whisk
Small spatula
Wooden spoon


  1. Heat the oven and prep the baking vessel: Arrange a rack in the middle of a regular or toaster oven and heat to 350°F. Stack 2 cupcake liners together inside a small, oven-safe ramekin.
  2. Cream the wet ingredients: Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, egg white, and vanilla extract in a small bowl until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredient: Add the self-rising flour and mix with a spatula until mostly smooth.
  4. Add the milk: Gently stir in the milk, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Bake the cupcake: Pour the batter into the prepared liner. The liner will be quite full. Bake until the cake is golden-brown and springs back when touched, 18 to 20 minutes.
  6. Cool: Cool the cupcake completely on a wire rack while preparing the frosting.
  7. Make the frosting: Beat the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla together in a small bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. You can do this by hand, but it will take at least 5 minutes of mixing to get a smooth mixture.
  8. Frost and decorate: Frost the cupcake and decorate with sprinkles, if using.

Recipe Notes

  • Ramekin: Use the smallest ramekin you have that will hold a standard cupcake liner, and make sure you line it with 2 paper liners to avoid the cupcake from spreading while baking.
  • Self-rising flour substitute: Whisk together a 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and a 1/4 teaspoon salt and then measure off two tablespoons for your cupcake. The rest can be stored in an airtight container for future use.
  • One tablespoon egg white: Half of a large egg white is approximately one tablespoon. You can freeze leftover egg whites for future use.
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