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How to make cupcakes: Mary Berry’s easy fairy cakes in under 30 minutes

Cupcakes are a perfect sweet treat for the Platinum Jubilee, and look no further than Mary Berry’s delicious orange butterfly cakes, or be a little more adventurous and make her lemon meringue cupcakes. Both have easy recipes, with their signature ‘all-in-one’ sponge mixture.

Orange butterfly cakes

Mary Berry’s “easy butterfly fairy cakes are filled with orange curd and topped with icing”.

They take less than 30 minutes to prepare, and 10 to 30 minutes to cook.

The recipe makes 12.


For the sponge

100g/3½oz baking spread

100g/3½oz caster sugar

Two large free-range eggs

100g/3½oz self-raising flour

One level tsp baking powder

One orange, grated zest only

For the filling

Three tbsp orange curd

For the ice

50g/1¾oz soft butter

100g/3½oz sifted icing sugar

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1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas mark four.

2. Put all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for two to three minutes, the mixture should be well-blended and smooth. Fill each paper case with about 35g of mixture.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and golden-brown. Lift the paper cases out of the bun tin and cool the cakes on a wire rack.

4. When cool, cut a disc from the top of each cake leaving a little gap around the edge and cut this slice in half. Spoon half a teaspoonful of orange curd in each.

5. To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until well blended. Pipe or spoon a swirl of buttercream on top of the orange curd and place the half slices of cake on top to resemble butterfly wings. Dust the cakes with icing sugar to finish.

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lemon meringue cupcakes

Mary’s “easy all-in-one sponge” lemon meringue cupcakes have a “lemon curd center with a swirly meringue top” which make them “a classy and irresistible addition to afternoon tea”.

During BBC’s Mary Berry Everyday, which aired in 2017, Mary explained how she has upgraded a classic sponge recipe to include strawberries.

“These are lemony cupcakes to which I’ve added some freeze dried strawberries to.

“It’s all a bit of a surprise when you get inside. This is a nice, easy sponge.”

They take less than 30 minutes to prepare, and 10 to 30 minutes to cook, and the recipe makes 12.


For the sponge

100g/3½oz baking spread or softened unsalted butter

150g/5½oz self-raising flour

150g/5½oz caster sugar

Three tbsp full-fat milk

Two free-range eggs

One unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest only

7g freeze-dried strawberries to decorate

For the filling

lemon curd

For the meringue

Two free-range egg whites

100g/3½oz caster sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas mark four. Line a muffin tray with 12 cases.

2. Put all the sponge ingredients into a bowl – this is Mary’s signature ‘all-in-one’ mixture – and whisk until light and fluffy. Spoon the mixture evenly between the cases. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until golden brown, risen and springy to the touch. Set aside to cool completely.

3. Cut a deep circle in the center of each cake (about the width of a £2 coin) and pull out a walnut size of sponge to leave a hole. You can use an apple corer for this. Spoon one teaspoon of lemon curd into each hole, making sure the curd is level with the top.

4. To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk until stiff. Gradually add the sugar as you continue whisking on full speed until you have a stiff glossy mixture. Spread or pipe on the top of each cupcake and sit back in their tins.

5. Use a chef’s blowtorch to brown the meringues or slide the tray under the grill. Watch carefully and remove when golden brown.

6. Sprinkle with the freeze-dried strawberries and serve.

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