Bonfire cupcakes recipe

(163 ratings)

Our bonfire cupcakes take under an hour to make and are under 500 calories per portion.

bonfire cupcakes with a sparkler in the middle
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Preparation Time30 mins
Cooking Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories490 Kcal25%
Sugar57 g63%
Fat21.9 g31%
Saturated Fat13.2 g66%
Protein4.3 g9%
Carbohydrates68.3 g26%

These bonfire cupcakes have a rich chocolate sponge and are topped with orange buttercream and Matchmakers chocolate sticks. 

We’ve given our classic cupcake recipe a Guy Fawkes night makeover with adorable mini campfire decorations. This simple but effective decoration will be a big hit with kids and adults but don’t worry if you can’t find Matchmakers chocolates, we have some clever ingredient substitution ideas.  


  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Grated zest from one orange
  • 1 box of chocolate orange Matchmakers

For the buttercream:

  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 440g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Red and orange food colouring




  1. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Put 12 muffin-sized paper cases into a muffin tin.
  2. Add the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, eggs, milk and orange zest into a large bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk until combined.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling them about halfway, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Put the softened butter into a mixing bowl and give it a whisk to break it up and soften it even further. Weigh the icing sugar into another bowl. Start by sifting just a small amount of icing sugar into the mixing bowl to join the butter; the equivalent of about 2tbsp. Whisk the icing sugar into the butter. Carry on adding the icing sugar in stages and whisking after each addition. This prevents it from spraying out of the bowl and covering you and your kitchen in icing sugar!
  5. Once all the icing sugar has been incorporated into the butter, pour in the orange juice. Add it slowly as you may need a little more or less to bring the buttercream together.
  6. To colour the buttercream take a cocktail stick and dip it into the red food colouring. Use it to draw a line down the inside of a piping bag. Then do the same with the orange food colouring, but draw the line down the other side of the piping bag. Add the buttercream to your piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
  7. Pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcakes then carefully break the Matchmakers in half and place them around the ‘flame’.

Top tips for making bonfire cupcakes

It's that time of year, when kids are wondering who is Guy Fawkes and you're wondering how to make a cupcakes more seasonal and fun. Our bonfire cupcakes are your answer, and for a more intense coloured ‘flame’, divide the buttercream between the two bowls and colour one orange and the other red. Fill the piping bag with alternate teaspoonfuls of each buttercream then pipe onto the cupcakes and finish with chocolate Matchmakers. If you’d like more tips and tricks to make these cupcakes, continue reading below.

Can you make these cupcakes in advance?

You can make the cupcakes and the buttercream in advance, but it's best to leave the colouring of the buttercream and the decorating of the cakes until no more than a day in advance of when you want to serve them.

What can I use instead of Matchmakers for my bonfire cupcakes?

If you can’t find orange Matchmakers use mint ones instead. If you don’t like the flavour of mint you could use some KitKat, chocolate fingers or even some broken Flake instead. Alternatively you could use strips of  chocolate covered orange peel. 

How can I make my cupcakes more attractive?

To make these bonfire cupcakes even more striking, we recommend lighting a sparkler in them before presenting them to your guests. You could also stick a toothpick threaded with mini marshmallows into each cake to look like marshmallows being cooked over the fire. 

Can I freeze bonfire cupcakes?

Without the icing, these cupcakes can be frozen. Wrap tightly in clingfilm and defrost fully before decorating and eating. 

This recipe uses an all-in-one method but it’s important to combine the ingredients quickly. The best way to do this is by using an electric hand mixer. 

KENWOOD Handmix Lite Hand Mixer Silver - View at Currys

KENWOOD Handmix Lite Hand Mixer Silver - <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">View at Currys

With five speed settings, this hand mixer will make light work of beating together your bonfire cupcake ingredients. It has a 1.1 metre power cord and comes with two sets of whisk attachments. The accessories can be washed in the dishwasher but are easy to hand wash too. 

You could make our chocolate cupcake recipe and top with the campfire decorations if you like. Alternatively, our mini cupcakes are a great option for parties and these rainbow cupcakes always go down well with kids. 

Anneliese Giggins
Freelance food writer

Author, writer and Mum of three, Anneliese Giggins has been creating recipes for for the past 9 years. She has also created food-related content for household names such as Daily Mail, Daily Express and Her most successful to date was how to feed a family of 4 on £20 a week

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