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Sugar Cookies and Vanilla Cupcakes: My Go-To Baking Recipes for DIY Dessert Art

Posted in Food, and Recipes

Today is National Dessert Day!!! Since this day just so happens to be in October and I’ve been baking Halloween treats pretty much nonstop, I thought now would be a good time to share a couple of go-to recipes of mine. You may have noticed that I’ll often say “use your favorite sugar cookie recipe” when sharing DIY dessert decorating ideas. Well here is my favorite recipe to use for rolled sugar cookies (not too sweet, not too sticky) and my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe.

Rolled Sugar Cookies


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF
  2. Using a standing mixer, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add in one egg at a time and mix until the eggs are fully incorporated.
  3. With mixer on its lowest setting, slowly add in flour just until all of the flour has been moistened by the wet mixture. (It’s important not to over-mix)
  4. Sprinkle a thin layer of flour onto a clean surface and roll your cookie dough into a ball. Using a rolling pin, evenly roll the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes.
  5. Place cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 6 – 8 minutes.
    Tip to avoid over-cooking: Stay close to the kitchen. As soon as you can smell the cookie’s baking, it’s time to pull them out.
  6. Let cool completely and decorate with royal icing.

Vanilla Cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of softened unsalted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
  3. In a separate bowl use an electric hand-held or standing mixer to mix butter, vanilla, and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time. Beat until smooth.
  4. Slowly add in 1/4 of flour mixture, then 1/4 milk, continuing to alternate between the two until all flour and milk have been incorporated into the batter.
  5. Fill each cupcake liner to about 2/3 full. Bake for 16 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and pulled out clean.
  6. Cool completely before frosting.