Vanessa Levis

There are many possibilities when it comes to decorating cupcakes. For children, try a selection of sweets to decorate, such as fruit jellies and sparkles. A pretty effect is achieved by slicing the fruit jellies first to reveal their shiny centres. Hundreds and thousands, Smarties, chocolate sprinkles, nuts or cherries can be used. Or, top with freshly picked violets and perfect rose petals. Just remember to add the topping while the icing is still not completely set.


Quantity Ingredient
125g butter, softened
165g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs, beaten
300g self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
2/3 cup milk

Glacé icing

Quantity Ingredient
160g sifted icing sugar
1 tablespoon boiling water
1 teaspoon butter
a few drops flavoured essence, (optional)
food colouring, (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place paper cases in patty or muffin tins.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar and beat until light and creamy. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs gradually and beat well after each addition.
  3. Sift the flour and salt and fold lightly into the creamed mixture, alternately with the milk, to make a smooth dropping consistency. Spoon into the paper cases. Bake for about 15 minutes until risen and golden. Remove the paper cases and cool on a wire rack.
  4. To make the glacé icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the boiling water, butter and flavouring if using. Stir until smooth and shiny. Colour as desired and use to ice the cupcakes.


  • Butterfly cakes

    Use the same mixture as for cupcakes, but increase the oven temperature to 200°C and bake the cakes in the hottest part of the oven. The tops of the cakes will rise in a peak. When cool, cut a slice from the top of each cake and reserve. Top the cakes with a peak of sweetened whipped cream and a small dollop of jam in the centre. Cut the cake slices in half, arrange on top of the cream to form ‘wings’ and dust with sifted icing sugar.


  • If the cupcakes are to be iced and smooth tops are required, bake in a moderately hot oven, at 190°C. For peaked tops, necessary for butterfly cakes, increase the heat by 10°C and place the cakes in the hottest part of the oven, usually near the top of gas ovens and at the bottom of electric ovens. To make sure, check the guide for your own oven. This recipe is similar to a basic butter cake mixture but calls for extra milk.
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