Monday, January 24, 2011

Cute As A Button

Every week my friend Tereza and I try to get together for a play date since our sons are only 6 weeks apart. This week it was my time to host and I couldn't resist making these perfect, delicate button cupcakes. I have a tendency to make cupcakes as it seems like the perfect time to try out new flavours, they're easy and of course they keep the mummies happy while the boys attempt to play! I was given the buttons as part of my Christmas present from my brother and sister-in-law. Originally I was a little reluctant to use them, not just because they look so pretty in their box but more importantly because they are from Paris so not as easy to replace as I would like, however, I just couldn't resist! Sparkly, sugar pastel buttons, they were ideal for topping my lemon cupcakes and of course just knowing they were from Paris gave them that chic 'oh la la' appeal!

Of course as pretty and delicious as the cupcakes were, I restrained myself from eating only cupcakes and instead they were our 'something sweet' which we enjoyed with several cups of tea, so for something savoury I made roasted red pepper, chicken & goats cheese quesadillas. Served with some peppery rocket and a roasted pepper mayo on the side these crisp quesadillas made a perfect lunch for us........Thank goodness for play dates!

Cute As A Button Cupcakes

The recipe for these cupcakes is taken from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, I've just changed it ever so slightly by using lemon zest instead of vanilla extract. Additionally, instead of using a buttercream icing I made a lighter icing using fondant icing mixed with water and lemon juice. If you don't have fondant icing you can use royal icing or just plain icing sugar. The buttons I used to decorate them with are from Belle de Sucre (
Makes 12 cupcakes

120g plain or all-purpose flour
140g caster or berry sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, softened
Zest of 1 large lemon
120ml milk
1 egg
225g powdered fondant icing (see above)
Juice of ½ lemon
Water (roughly 3 tbsp)
Belle de Sucre sugar buttons to decorate

Preheat your oven to 170C/ 325F/ GM 3 and line a cupcake tin with medium sized paper cases.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and lemon zest into the bowl of a KitchenAid (or other freestanding mixer) and using the paddle attachment mix slowly until everything is combined and you have a sandy consistency (if you don't have a KitchenAid use a hand-held electric beater). While the mixer is running, slowly pour in the milk and mix until it's just incorporated, then add the egg and continue beating until it's mixed in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is properly mixed but be careful not to over beat the mixture.

Evenly spoon the cake mixture into the cupcake cases (book says until two-thirds full) and bake for 20-25 minutes until the sponge bounces back when touched (with my oven 22 minutes works perfectly every time) and a skewer comes out clean with put into the centre of the cake. Leave to cool for a few minutes then transfer the cupcakes onto a wire rack.

While the cupcakes are cooling make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a medium sized bowl then add the lemon juice and enough water to make a smooth icing – you don't want it too runny so I add the water a tablespoon at a time, until I get the right consistency. When the cupcakes have completely cooled spoon over the icing so that you have an even, glossy and smooth cover. Once you have iced all 12 cupcakes top with a sugar button or any other decoration you have – and if you don't have any you could simply add some long strands of lemon zest! Light, zesty and perfect!


  1. The buttons are so unique, they make a really special decoration.

  2. Those buttons are beautiful - but the cupcakes and quesadillas don't look half bad either!

  3. These cupcakes look so adorable and sound fantastic! The quesadillas also look amazing! Well done!

  4. These are adorable! These cupcakes would be so cute for a baby shower!

  5. Thanks for all of your lovely comments - I have to say, it's without doubt the buttons that make the cupcakes so special....I now just have to ration my use of them until I know I can get more!! Great idea for a baby shower as well. Thanks again : D

  6. Cute, cute and one more time.. cute cupcakes :)

  7. Lovely post. Love the combination of goats cheese & roasted red peppers - delicious.

  8. Wow - I want to come to yours for a play date. The quesadillas look perfect and, of course, your cupcakes are beautiful. Your Parisian buttons are soooooo posh - what great taste in gifts your brother and sis-in-law have.

  9. The cupcakes are lovely but that is a great-looking quesadilla! You feed your friends well on a playdate!

  10. I just love those botton! So So cute!!!
    Your quesadilla looks delish, too :)

  11. Look at that! What a great combination! YUM!

  12. OMG those buttons are brilliant! They look like little piggie noses on the cupcakes lol!

  13. Haha thanks Janice - I thought the same thing, especially with the photos I took from above! At least I know if I want to make any pig cupcakes I have the perfect solution for a sparkly little piggie nose!! : D

  14. Belle de Sucre is terrific, and of course, the buttons are adorable! If you are interested in sugars this side of the pond, however, you might want to check out our line... We made hand sculpted sugars that also come in flavored varieties and that are all natural (pure extracts, sugar and vegetable-based colorants). Let me know what you think! Elayne

  15. Elayne, the sugars are beautiful - especially the rose ones. Unfortunately I'm in Canada and I see right now you only ship in the US, however if that changes let me know as I would love some of the rose crafted sugar (although the snowflakes and fruit wedges are also beautiful.... hmmm - probably just as well you don't ship to Canada!!)

  16. Your cupcakes look lovely especially with those adorable buttons. Lemon cakes are always so fresh tasting and I can almost smell them here.

  17. Lovely buttons and I bet those cakes tasted as good as they look


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