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  • Coffee – Dissolve 1 tbsp of instant coffee in 1 tsp of boiling water and stir into the cake mixture with the flour.  Flavour the icing in the same way,  or flavour the icing  with a few teaspoons of brandy or coffee liqueur.
  • Fruit – Add 50g raisins or sultanas, dried cranberries or  chopped dried apricots to the basic mixture. You can also add 1/2 tsp mixed spice or ground cinnamon too if liked.
  • Ginger – Use light muscovado instead of caster sugar and add 1 tsp ground ginger to the basic mixture. If liked add a finely chopped stem ginger and use the syrup from the stem ginger in the butter cream.
  • Lemon – Add the finely grated zest of an unwaxed lemon to the mixture.  You can also add lemon juice to the icing, or swirl lemon curd through buttercream.
  • Mint chocolate – Add 100g of chocolate chips to plain or chocolate flavoured cake mixture and flavour with a few drops of peppermint extract.  Add peppermint extract to your butter cream with a drop of natural green food colouring.
  • Orange – Add the finely grated zest of an unwaxed orange to the mixture, if you prefer you can use orange juice to flavour the icing too or swirl marmalade through buttercream.
  • Peanut butter – Make a chocolate cup cake and top with peanut butter buttercream: cream together 75g butter with 125g peanut butter and 175g icing sugar until smooth.
  • Strawberry and raspberry – Lightly crush  20g freeze dried strawberries or raspberries (available from  and stir into the basic mixture, add some to the icing too if liked.