These cupcakes are made using a simple sponge recipe, but you can take these basic cakes in so many differentdirections by making a variety of icings and toppings – far too many to mention here! So I'm going to give you one of my favorites. See what you think and then have a go at making up some of your own.

JAMIE'S TOP TIP

  • Always make sure that your weights and measures are accurate when you are making cakes, if you get these wrong, there is a chance that your cake won’t turn out right.
  • You can always make cakes ahead of time and store them in an airtight tin, then you can ice them and finish them freshly at the last minute.
  • The secret to a light cake is to start with room temperature (soft) butter and to beat it with the sugar until it’s nice and fluffy. It’s easier in a food processor but you can get there if you’re making it without one – just beat it really well!

METHOD

To make your cakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one in well before you add the next. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add the milk. Finely grate in the zest of the lemon then fold the mixture together just until blended. Don’t over mix.

To bake your cakes:

  • Place 18 paper baking cups into your muffin tins. Use tablespoons to evenly divide the mixture between your paper baking cups.
  • Put the muffin tins into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. You can check to see if the cakes are cooked by sticking a toothpick right into one of them. Remove it after 5 seconds and if it comes out clean they’re cooked; if slightly sticky they’ll need a bit longer, so put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on top. If you cook them for too long, though, they will just go dry so keep an eye on them. Remove the cakes from the tins and transfer to a wire rack to cool.


To make your icing and ice your cakes:

  • Mash up 1 ½ cups of your chosen berries with a fork or whiz them in a food processor. If the fruit has seeds you may want to pass it through a sieve to make it lovely and smooth. Stir together with the confectioners’ sugar and mix until you have a smooth paste.
  • When the cakes have cooled completely, drizzle a teaspoon of your icing over each one then top with the rest of the fruit – if you’re using strawberries, slice them up first.

MORE INFORMATION

Serving suggestions: Delicious with a hot tea and some extra fresh berries.

Tips from the dietitian: The great thing about making these cakes at home is that you know exactly what’s going into them. Often store bought cakes have preservatives and even flavorings added that you just don’t need when making them fresh. This icing is lower in fat and calories than the traditional butter cream, but like all sweet things, these are a treat and shouldn’t be eaten too often.

Food safety: Avoid the temptation to lick the bowl. Raw eggs are generally not safe to eat.

hServes 18

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup milk


For the fresh fruit icing
1½ cups berries (raspberries, strawberries or
blackberries), plus extra fruit or crystallized
flower petals for decoration
1½cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

EQUIPMENT LIST

Bowl
Wooden spoon
Liquid measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Microplane or grater
Muffin tins (enough to hold 18 cakes) Paper baking cups
Toothpick
Wire rack
Cutting board
Knife
Fork or food processor
Small bowl
Sieve
Spoon