STEP 1 Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put 12 cases in a 12-hole cupcake tin. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy – this will take about 5-8 mins with a stand mixer or 10 mins using an electric hand whisk. The mixture will have increased in volume and should be thick enough to leave a trail when the whisk blades are lifted.
STEP 2 Gently fold in the melted butter. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder over the surface and fold in using a large metal spoon, trying not to knock out too much air. Divide the mixture between the cases, then bake for 15-20 mins until well risen and the sponge springs back when gently pressed. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 mins, then lift out onto a rack.
STEP 3 To decorate, microwave the chocolate on medium for 20-30 secs, stirring every 5 secs, until melted. Gently stir until smooth. Spoon 12 ‘puddles’ of chocolate onto a piece of foil. Divide the chocolate eggs and bunnies between the puddles, to decorate. Leave to set in the fridge or in a cool place.
STEP 4 Beat the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and and 2 tsp boiling water together using an electric whisk for 4-5 mins until light, pale, fluffy and nearly doubled in size. Spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle. Pipe onto the cupcakes, then stick the chocolate puddles on top.
STEP 1 Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake or muffin cases. Mix the flour, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds together in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs into the yogurt, then tip this into the dry ingredients with the melted butter. Mix together with a wooden spoon or whisk until lump-free, then divide between the cases. Bake for 20-22 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean – the cakes will be quite pale on top still. Cool for 5 mins in the tin, then carefully lift onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
STEP 2 To ice, beat the softened butter until really soft in a large bowl, then gradually beat in the icing sugar and lemon juice. Stir in enough food colouring for a pale lemon colour, then spoon the icing into a piping bag with a large star nozzle.
STEP 3 Ice one cake at a time, holding the piping bag almost upright with the nozzle about 1cm from the surface of the cake. Pipe one spiral of icing around the edge, then pause to break the flow before moving the nozzle towards the centre slightly and piping a second, smaller spiral that continues until there are no gaps in the centre. Slightly ‘dot’ the nozzle into the icing as you stop squeezing to finish neatly. Repeat to cover all the cakes, then top with sugar decorations or scatter with sprinkles.
STEP 1 Combine the rapeseed oil, cider vinegar and oat milk in a jug. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake or muffin tray with paper cases. Tip the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and slowly pour in the wet mixture, whisking constantly. Add the vanilla paste and stir to combine. Divide evenly between the paper cases and bake for 15-20 mins until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
STEP 2 For the icing, beat the plant block and vanilla until soft and creamy, around 2 mins. Add the icing sugar in batches, beating well after each addition, and a large pinch of salt. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe swirls on top of each cooled cupcake. Will keep, iced, for up to three days in an airtight container.
orange, yellow, pink and black gel food colourings
2 tbsp cocoa powder
white mini marshmallows (check the label if vegetarian)
STEP 1 Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip the brown sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Whisk the eggs, oil and milk in a jug. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking until smooth. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases. Divide the mixture between them, then bake for 20 mins until risen. Leave to cool in the tin.
STEP 2 Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat the icing sugar and butter with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Whisk in some of the milk to loosen to a pipeable consistency, if needed.
STEP 3 For the chick decoration, colour a small piece of fondant orange using a drop of food colouring gel and another small piece black. Colour a few tablespoons of the icing yellow and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe a yellow blob in the centre of the cupcake and a smaller one on top. Roll the black fondant into two small balls and place them as eyes. Roll a little cone of orange fondant for the beak. For each foot, roll three small, longer pieces and pinch them together at one end. Push the feet in beneath the body, hiding the pinch.
STEP 4 For the bunny, beat the cocoa and 1 tbsp milk into a few tablespoons of the icing. Spread over the cupcake. Spoon a few tablespoons of the plain icing into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and pipe a small blob on top. Stick a mini marshmallow on top of that for a tail. For the feet, shape two small pieces of white fondant into ovals and press down to flatten. Colour a small piece of fondant pink and form two balls and six smaller ones. Press the balls into the flattened ovals in a paw pattern. Place the feet on either side of the rabbit’s bottom.
STEP 5 To make the sheep, colour a piece of fondant black and shape a small piece into an oval. Use a skewer to press nostrils into the bottom end. Pinch two smaller pieces into ears and stick these on using a little water. Roll two small balls of white fondant and two smaller black balls to make eyes. Cover the cake with a layer of plain icing and fix the face in the middle. Surround with mini marshmallows for the woolly coat.
6 strawberries, halved, or 12 small whole strawberries
STEP 1 Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake cases. Mix the flour and sugar together in a large bowl. In a large jug, whisk together the eggs, yogurt and melted butter. Gradually mix the wet ingredients into the dry until you have a smooth batter, then fold in the strawberries.
STEP 2 Fill the prepared cases so they are about three-fourths full. Bake for 25-30 mins, or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middles comes out clean. Leave to cool.
STEP 3 Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat the sugar and butter together until smooth and pale, then add the milk, vanilla and a little pink food colouring and beat until the icing is an even pale pink shade. Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle, then pipe in swirls onto the cooled cupcakes. Decorate each with a strawberry half or small strawberry, then serve.
STEP 1 Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake cases and set aside. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Sieve the flour, cocoa, bicarb and a pinch of fine salt into a medium bowl and mix to combine.
STEP 2 Using a stand mixer or an electric hand whisk, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg, vanilla, buttermilk, oil and vinegar until combined. Gradually mix the wet ingredients into the dried. Once combined, mix in the red food colouring until you have a deep red mix – the colour may vary depending on what brand you use.
STEP 3 Divide the batter between the cupcake cases and bake for 15 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean.
STEP 4 While the cakes are cooling, make the icing. Beat together the butter and icing sugar using an electric whisk or by hand until pale and fluffy, about 3 mins, then beat in the cream cheese for a further 1-2 mins until well combined.
STEP 5 Once the cakes are cool, use a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle to cover the cakes with the cream cheese icing, or dollop the icing on top using a spoon.
STEP 1 Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 12-hole cake tin with paper cases.
STEP 2 Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract. Briefly mix in the flour until just combined, and stir in the milk until the batter just falls off the beaters.
STEP 3 Divide the mixture between the cases, leaving about 2 tbsp batter in the bowl. Add a pinch of salt to the caramel sauce if it’s not salted caramel, then add ½ tsp to the tops of each cupcake. Use a teaspoon to cover the caramel sauce with the remaining batter. Bake for 15-20 mins until springy and golden. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
STEP 4 Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat the butter and half of the icing sugar together, then tip in the remaining icing sugar and whisk vigorously until pale and fluffy. Stir in half of the caramel sauce, then spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a round or star nozzle.
STEP 5 Pipe swirls of icing on top of the cooled cupcakes. Stir the remaining caramel sauce with a pinch of salt, if unsalted, then use to drizzle over the icing. Sprinkle over a small pinch of sea salt over each, if you like.
STEP 1 Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, a pinch of salt and the butter in a free-standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk). Beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
STEP 2 Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture. Beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high speed, scraping any mixture from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour in the remaining liquid and continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
STEP 3 Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until approximately two-thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
STEP 4 Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make chocolate buttercream or plain buttercream and spread it over the cakes with a palette knife, or use a piping bag. Scatter over chocolate vermicelli, if you like.
STEP 1 Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and fill a 12 cupcake tray with cases.
STEP 2 Using an electric whisk beat 110g softened butter and 110g golden caster sugar together until pale and fluffy then whisk in 2 large eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
STEP 3 Add ½ tsp vanilla extract, 110g self-raising flour and a pinch of salt, whisk until just combined then spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases.
STEP 4 Bake for 15 mins until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
STEP 5 To make the buttercream, whisk 150g softened butter until super soft then add 300g icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
STEP 6 Whisk together until smooth (start off slowly to avoid an icing sugar cloud) then beat in 3 tbsp milk.
STEP 7 If wanting to colour, stir in the food colouring now. Spoon or pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.