Fiona Cairns' fruit and vegetable mini cupcakes recipe

(19 ratings)

Make these delicious hidden fruit and vegetable cupcakes from the baking queen Fiona Cairns. It’s a simple cupcake recipe that is perfect for kids

Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Cost RangeCheap

Made for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity: The Big Hour Cake Sale. These mini cupcakes are packed full of different fruits and veg and are iced with a delicious cream cheese frosting in a rainbow of colours. They're perfect for the kids.


Note: you can make 80-90 mini fairy cakes or 36 reg fairy cakes with this recipe.

For the sponge:

  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp salt
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 80ml whole milk
  • 120ml sunflower oil
  • 230g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300g prepared fruit or vegetables. Choose from blueberries, courgette (roughly grated and excess moisture removed), apple (skinned, cored and grated), parsnip (peeled and grated), carrot (peeled and grated) or banana (roughly chopped)

For the buttercream:

  • 240g icing sugar, sifted
  • 500g cream cheese
  • juice of up to 1½ lemons
  • natural liquid food colours: blue, green, yellow, pink, red




  1. For the sponge:
    1. Preheat the oven to 170°C//340°F/Gas Mark 3½. Line as many small-hole baking trays as you have with paper cases. Or line three fairy cake trays with fairy cake cases.
    2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and ginger.
    3. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, oil, sugar and eggs.
    4. Prepare your chosen vegetables or fruit. Make sure they are very well dried to avoid soggy cakes!
    5. Beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, taking care not to over-mix, then fold in the vegetables or fruit.
    6. Spoon into the cases and bake for eight to 10 mins, or until they spring back to the touch. You may need to bake them in batches. Cool on a wire rack. If you are making fairy cakes, they need to be baked for 15–20 mins.
    For the buttercream:
    1. Beat the icing sugar into the cream cheese. Gradually add the lemon juice, to taste, then divide into six little bowls.
    2. Colour each bowl a different colour of the rainbow, mixing the food colours to achieve the orange and purple tones.
    3. Divide the little cakes into six equal groups. Spread the frosting on to the cakes with a small blunt knife. You will have at least 12 of each colour.
    4. To display the cakes arrange them in a rainbow shape in colours.
Top Tip for making Fiona Cairns' fruit and vegetable mini cupcakes

These cakes need to be iced on the day they are to be eaten, though the un-iced cakes freeze well, if you need to get ahead.

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