Let your party girls create their own jewelled cupcakes, topped with a swirl of icing and a variety of ‘gems’.
You could use ready-made buttercream instead of the Cream Cheese Icing, if you prefer.
Party planning: The cakes can be made up to 1 month in advance and frozen, un-iced, in a plastic box. Defrost them at room temperature for around 1 hour, and then ice and decorate as above.
125 g (41/2 oz) butter or margarine
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a 12-holed muffin tin with 10 paper cases.
Cream the butter or margarine in an electric food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, then mix in the lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add 1 tablespoon of the flour with the second egg, beating continuously. Sift over the flour and baking powder then fold in gently. Divide the mixture between the paper cases and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Whilst the cupcakes are baking you can prepare the icing. Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Beat in the vanilla, then sift over the sugar and stir in until the sugar is combined. Beat for 1 minute until fluffy. Transfer to a bowl and set aside in the fridge. If you wish, you can divide the icing into two bowls and colour each with a few drops of the different food colourings.
Once the cakes are cold, swirl some of the icing on top of them and stick a selection of decorations into the icing. Leave to stand for around 30 minutes to allow the icing to set.
Makes 10 Cupcakes