1 For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) 350°F gas 4. Place paper cases in a 10 hole bun tin.
2 Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla.
3 Add the eggs gradually, beating well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold into the mixture.
4 Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
5 For the buttercream: beat the butter with an electric whisk for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Mix in the cream and vanilla extract alternately with the icing sugar and whisk until the cream is light and fluffy.
6 Spoon into a piping bag and pipe swirls on top of the cakes. Decorate with sugar pearls.