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Vanilla cupcakes with lemon frosting

Thank you to Claire Giddy for this scrumptious recipe!

Makes 24

I like my cupcakes to be big so I use this amount to make 12

Actual cakes

1 vanilla pod

200g soft butter

200g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

200g self raising flour

1 x quantity of vanilla sugar syrup

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC, fan 160oC, gas 4.
  2. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla pod lengthways and remove the seeds. Put the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer and cream together until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl, and slowly add to the mix, using medium speed.  If the mixture starts curdling, add a little flour.  Once he eggs and butter mixture are well combined, mix in the remaining flour at low speed
  4. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases – I used a piping bag but you can just use a spoon.  Bake for 18-20mins or until the sponge is lightly golden and springs back to the touch.
  5. Leave the cupcakes to cook for 10mins.  Prick the tops with a skewer and, using a pastry brush and while the cupcakes are still warm, soak each one with sugar syrup. Once completely cooled remove from the tins. Tip – my cakes rose quite a lot in the middle so I cut the tops off and skewered the flattened cake – this made the icing much easier).

Vanilla Sugar Syrup

Makes enough for 24 (I always make the full amount of this even if I’m only making 12 to make sure the consistency is right)

25g caster sugar

1/2 vanilla pod or vanilla extract

  1. Put 5 tables of water and the caster sugar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool.
  2. Once cool, stir in the vanilla pod.

Lemon Frosting

Makes enough for 24 cakes (or 12 cakes with lots of icing)

200g full fat cream cheese – at room temperature

100g soft unsalted butter

600g icing sugar – sieved

Grated zest of 1 lemon

  1. Put the cream cheese, butter and icing in a mixing bowl
  2. Slowly mix together, using an electric hand whisk or wooden spoon until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add the lemon zest.  If it gets a bit runny, add a little more icing sugar (but add a small bit at a time).


Makes enough for 12

75g white sugar paste

50g of sugar paste coloured green (I use any green that I can find)

10g of sugar paste coloured lemon

  1. Roll out the sugar pasta thinly.
  2. Using cutters stamp out 24 daisies and 24 leaves (I didn’t have a leaf cutter so just used a knife and drew my own) and make 12 daisy centres from balls of sugar paste.  Mark the leaves to make them look leaf like (you could also do the same with the petals if you have time)
  3. Stick 2 daisies together at a slight angle using a dab of water.
  4. Dry upside on icing nozzles overnight to make a flower cup shape.  (I didn’t have enough nozzles so I used balls of foil and they worked just as well.)
  5. Stick on the centres using water and then place on top of the frosting.

I made these cakes for my Goddaughters 1st birthday and they were a great hit and quite a few people asked for the recipe. I’ve made them a few times now and every time they come out perfect although I only do the daisies decorations for special occasions.

Original recipe from Sainsbury’s Magazine



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