Summer Picnic Cupcakes With Fresh Fruit Topping

Some cakes seem too heavy for summer eating but these two cupcake recipes are deliciously light and summery.

Lemon Surprise Cakes

The surprise is the lemon curd concealed in the heart of the cake. It’s a good idea to use waxed Cupcake cases for this recipe as the lemon curd can cause the cake to adhere more strongly to the case than usual.


  • 125g (4½ oz) butter, softened
  • 125g (4½ oz) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 jar lemon curd
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat the oven to 180ºC or gas 4 and put 12 cupcake cases in a baking tray.

Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft and then add the sugar and lemon zest, continuing to beat until light and pale. Now add the beaten eggs and lemon juice, with a spoonful of flour if the mixture begins to curdle, before sifting in the rest of flour and baking powder and folding into the mixture.

Put a spoonful of the mixture in the bottom of each case, tapping gently to level before adding a teaspoonful of lemon curd and then dividing the remaining mixture equally over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the centre of each cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cool the cakes a wire rack to cool before icing.

Lemon Icing

Combine 75 grams of cream cheese with 75 grams of sifted Icing sugar and the zest of a lemon. Spread over the cakes and fork lightly into a pretty design.

Summer picnic cupcakes

These light Vanilla Cupcakes have a fruit topping that makes them deliciously fresh to eat and easy to transport to picnics.


  • 125g (4½ oz) vanilla sugar (to make vanilla sugar, put ordinary white caster sugar in a jar with a vanilla pod broken into three pieces and leave for a fortnight – the sugar develops a rich vanilla flavour)
  • 125g (4½ oz) plain white flour
  • 125g (4½ oz) butter (softened)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.


Preheat the oven to 180ºC or gas 4 and lay out 12 cupcake cases in a baking tray.

Simply beat all the ingredients together adding a teaspoon of milk if the mixture seems too dry – you want a soft dropping consistency, before dividing between the cases.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top of the cakes turns gold and becomes springy to the touch.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Once the cakes are cool, combine 1 tablespoon honey and 1 teaspoon lemon juice and brush it over the surface of the cakes: this helps the fruit to adhere and remain fresh.

Arrange fresh fruit prettily over the top: cherries, raspberries, strawberries and sliced apricots and peaches work well, as do halved seedless grapes. Fruits like redcurrants may be too bitter and very moist fruits like mango can make the cakes rather soggy. Sift a tiny amount of icing sugar over the top and pack into a suitable container to transport to your picnic.

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