Vanilla Cupcake with Passion Fruit Icing

Add a bit of salty sophistication to your vanilla cupcakes and see them stand out in the crowd. Passion fruit revolutionises an icing.


  1. Check butter (for cake and icing) and eggs are at room temperature.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180C/gas 4. Sit 12 large paper cake cases into a 12 hole muffin tin.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl.
  4. Tip butter into a second larger mixing bowl. Break it up with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the sugar and beat with a wooden spoon for 4 minutes or until pale, creamy and light. Use an electric hand whisk if you like. Keep going until it’s properly light and aerated.
  6. Beat eggs with a fork. Add to mix a dribble at a time, beating as you go during and between additions. If it looks like splitting/curdling, don’t panic. Add and beat in 2 teaspoons of the flour to bring it back together. Add vanilla extract.
  7. Add the flour. Fold into creamy mix with a large metal spoon, cutting and scooping down until just mixed in. Keep it light, minimal and don’t overwork it.
  8. Divide equally between cake cases using two spoons. Don’t press it down.


  1. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden, springy to touch. Close oven door very slowly if not quite done so they don’t collapse. Remove from the oven, tins and leave to cool on a rack.

Ice & Plate

  1. For icing: slice passion fruit across. Scoop contents into a sieve over a bowl. Press the juice/pulp through using a spoon. Discard seeds/shell. Set aside. Sift icing sugar.
  2. Tip butter into a large bowl. Break it up with a wooden spoon. Add 2 tablespoons icing sugar. Beat to incorporate. Repeat. When half the sugar’s in, add vanilla extract and 1-2 tablespoons passion fruit juice. Continue to beat, adding sugar gradually. Taste, add more passion fruit juice and a good squeeze of lime for a slightly fizzy icing. Add a bit of milk if it’s hard to work. You want a soft but spreadable icing. Beat in a few drops of pink icing gel/colour if you wish. Spoon into an icing bag fitted with a star nozzle (mine was 1 cm wide). Pipe wide swirls to cover each cake or pile and shape it. Top with a heart sweetie or two.
  3. If using bacon, grill the rashers 2 minutes per side or until crisp. Sit on kitchen paper to drain. Break into ‘wafer’ lengths. Stick them into your icing just before serving.

Useful Cooking Information


Metric Imperial
10 g½ oz
20 g¾ oz
25 g1 oz
50 g2 oz
75 g3 oz
110 g4 oz
150 g5 oz
175 g6 oz
200 g7 oz
225 g8 oz
250 g9 oz
275 g10 oz
350 g12 oz
450 g1 lb
500 g (½ kg)18 oz
700 g1½ lb
900 g2 lb
1 kg2¼ lb
1.3 kg3 lb
1.8 kg4 lb
2.2 kg5 lb


Metric Imperial
50 ml2 fl oz
75 ml3 fl oz
100 ml3½ fl oz
125 ml4 fl oz
150 ml5 fl oz¼ pint
200 ml7 fl oz
250 ml9 fl oz
300 ml10 fl oz½ pint
425 ml15 fl oz¾ pint
600 ml20 fl oz1 pint
800 ml1½ pint
1 l1¾ pints
1.2 l2 pints
1.5 l2½ pints
1.8 l3 pints
2 l3½ pints


Metric Imperial
5 mm¼ inch
1 cm½ inch
2 cm¾ inch
2.5 cm1 inch
3 cm1¼ inches
4 cm1½ inches
5 cm2 inches
10 cm3 inches
15 cm4 inches
20.5 cm6 inches
23 cm9 inches
25 cm10 inches
30 cm12 inches

Spoon measures - mean level measures unless the recipe says 'heaped'

Eggs - are always large for baking, unless recipe says otherwise

Oven Temperatures

Gas °F °C
Mark 1275140

Fan assisted ovens - remember to reduce temperatures by 20°C

Most Useful US/European Conversions

ButterUS 1 cup / 2 sticks8 oz220 g
SugarUS 1 cup6 oz175 g
FlourUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
LiquidUS 1 cup8 fl oz225 ml
Prepped OnionsUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
Cheese, GratedUS 1 cup4 oz110 g
Diced FruitUS 1 cup5 oz150 g
Fresh BreadcrumbsUS 1 cup2 oz55 g

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