Parma violet cupcakes recipe

(985 ratings)

Our delicate Parma violet cupcakes have a subtle flavour and pastel buttercream making them an attractive option for afternoon tea.

parma violet cupcakes
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories343 Kcal17%
Sugars31.4 g35%
Saturated Fat11 g55%
Protein3.4 g7%
Fat18.1 g26%
Carbohydrates41.7 g16%

These Parma violet cupcakes take under an hour to make and have a delicate, unusual flavour. 

If you’re looking for a floral cupcake recipe, these Parma violet cupcakes are perfect. We use violet syrup in the cake batter and buttercream. We’ve decorated the cakes with some sugar flowers but you could opt for a sprinkling of crushed Parma violet sweets if you prefer. 


  • 1tbsp violet syrup
  • 125ml milk
  • 120g butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 180g self-raising flour

For the violet buttercream:

  • 120g butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp violet syrup




  • Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Line a cupcake tin with paper cases. Stir the violet syrup into the milk, set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla then the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  • Add half the flour and then half the violet milk and mix until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk.
  • Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 mins or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the buttercream, cream the butter until smooth, gradually add the icing sugar and continue to cream until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, milk and violet syrup. Cream until combined.
  • Use a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes. Decorate with sugared flowers if you like.

Top tips for making Parma violet cupcakes

When making the buttercream, we recommend adding a little of the violet syrup and then tasting before adding more as it can have a perfume or soap-like flavour if too much is added. For more tips that will help when you make these cupcakes, continue reading below. 

What is the flavour of parma violet?

Parma violet sweets have a unique flavour which is sweet and floral with hints of violet and lavender. 

Does anyone actually like parma violets?

It’s a divisive flavour that people either love or hate, much like Marmite, but if you or someone you love is firmly in the camp in favour of parma violets, this is a great recipe for you. If you’re on the fence, this is also a great introductory recipe as the buttercream and cake sponge compliment and soften the subtle flavour of the violets even more. 

Can you eat pansies?

Yes, if you can’t get hold of little violet flowers you can use pansies instead. Pansies are derived from violas which is why they look so similar. Both flowers are edible and have a mild floral flavour.

To make this recipe you’ll need violet syrup. While it’s possible to make your own, we like to use MONIN syrups for baking and cocktails too. 

MONIN Premium Violet Syrup - View at Amazon 

MONIN Premium Violet Syrup - View at Amazon 

You can use this syrup in hot drinks, mocktails, milkshakes, cocktails and desserts. It is suitable for vegans and vegetarians and contains only natural flavourings. 

Once you’ve baked these cupcakes, consider making our mini cupcakes too. For something brighter you could bake these rainbow cupcakes or for something summery, these ice cream cupcakes are perfect. 

Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.