Food > Cakes & Desserts

The Cupcake Revival

How nice to have time to chat over a cup of tea with a good friend and not spend time worrying about calories. It is after all just one little cake!

Category Cakes & Desserts
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 20-25 minutes
Serves 24 cakes

When I was a kid, we called them ‘queen cakes’. They went out of fashion and came back as ‘healthy muffins’ in the 1990’s when bran, oats and blueberries were added.

This time around the trend is once again for daintier ‘cup cakes.’ though no longer made in a traditional sized tea-cup. Though there’s nothing to stop you if you have oven proof crockery.

Cupcakes 2The cup cake ties in with our love of all things ‘vintage’ and a hankering after traditional values. They evoke images of returning home to the smell of Mum’s baking, time spent chatting in tea-rooms, and the wonderfully nostalgic Downton Abbey. Ah yes!

Basic cupcake recipe

  • 250g (8oz) margarine or unsalted butter
  • 250g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 250g (8oz) self-raising flour, sieved
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat oven to 190C, 374C or gas mark 5
  2. Place the margarine in a large bowl and beat until softened. Add the caster sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat eggs and milk lightly in a separate bowl and sieve flour.
  4. Add two tablespoons of flour to creamed mixture, then add some egg and mix
  5. Repeat number (4) adding flour and eggs alternatively, until all ingredients are added and mix well.
  6. Using two teaspoons, 2/3 fill each paper case.
  7. Place in oven to cook for 15 minutes then swap the position of the tins over and bake for a further 8 minutes, until both trays of cupcakes are a light golden colour.
  8. Remove tins from the oven. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool before decorating.


Cupcakes 3If you don’t want plain cupcakes, then try one of these flavours:

  • Chocolate: Use 2 level tablespoons less flour, instead add 2 level tablespoons cocoa.
  • Chocolate and pear: As above. Then either use tinned pears or fresh pears. Cut in slivers
  • Coffee: Omit the milk and in its place, use 2 tablespoons of coffee essence or instant coffee dissolved in boiling water.
  • Lemon butterfly buns: Add finely grated rind of one lemon to the mixture, and use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in place of milk.
  • Butterfly buns: When lemon cupcakes are cold use a serrated knife to cut a circle from the top of each cupcake and then cut each circle in half. Piped or place butter cream on top of the cupcake. Position the 2 halves at an angle to resemble butterfly wings. (See my picture). Dust with sifted icing sugar before serving. Can also be made from chocolate flavoured cakes and chocolate icing.
  • Cupcakes 4Suspiro cup cakes: follow chocolate cup cake recipe. When spooning out the mixture leave a hollow in the centre. Add a trickle of dulce de leche and cover with a little mixture.

Butter cream icing is traditionally used to decorate cupcakes as in the making of butterfly buns where the top is cut off and halved.

Buttercream icing Ingredients

  • 100g tub margarine or unsalted butter
  • 200g sieved icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Beat margarine with an electric mixer.
  2. Add icing sugar bit and by bit and continue mixing until light and fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla essence for plain butter cream icing

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerate in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.

For a lighter (spreading) consistency icing, add an extra 2 tablespoons milk, water or light corn syrup.


  • Chocolate butter cream; remove 20g icing sugar and replace with 20g cocoa. For a very rich flavour rum can be added instead of milk
  • Coffee flavour; instead of adding 2 talespoons of milk, add coffee essence or instant coffee made with boiled water- allow to cool before using.


Cupcakes 5The sky’s the limit to your creativity. Do whatever you fancy and use whatever you like to decorate. Chose between fresh cream, buttercream, fondant icing or melted chocolate.

Add mini marshmallows, sprinkles, or tiny Easter eggs for mini Easter cakes.

Children are especially innovative and creative when decorating cupcakes.

I love the cute wedding cake in shades of pink and blue here.

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