The Olympics is starting this week and I can’t wait for it, especially the opening ceremony. We just returned from a weekend away in London and I couldn’t help but get caught up in all the excitement.  The whole city is awash with colourful flags and all the store fronts are creatively themed for the Games. For some reason it reminded me of The Hunger Games, with all the pomp and ceremony. That in turn got me thinking about the amazing fire dresses that Katniss wore for the opening Tribute Parade. So, with the whole idea of parades and flames on my mind, I decided to create a flaming torch cupcake.  The lemon cupcakes are baked into a crispy ice cream cone, to resemble a torch. The cupcake is topped with lemon butter icing and adorned with red and orange shards of caramelised sugar.  The tangy lemon is a great match for the hard sweet caramel and crispy cone. These cakes look pretty striking too and are the perfect snack to have while watching the opening ceremony.

Ingredients and Method

Lemon Cupcakes

  •  175g  of self raising flour, sieved
  •  110g of butter
  •  110g of castor sugar
  • 2 free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Ice cream cones (for use after cooking)

Line a muffin tin with small bun cases. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  The old fashioned paper cupcake cases work best as they are small enough to fit in a store bought sugar cone. You can also cook the cake batter directly in the cones, and this will work equally well. However, I personally find this is too much cake for me.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the bun cases. This mixture will be the right amount for 12/13 small cases.  Place the cupcakes in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until just golden and cooked through. Leave to cool in the tin for about ten minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack.

Sugar Shards

*Note you will need a candy thermometer to make this correctly.

  • 2 dessert spoons of vodka
  • A few drops of red food colouring
  • A few drops of orange food colouring
  • A few drops of black food colouring, less than the red and orange
  • 125ml of water
  • 150g of granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of golden syrup / corn syrup

Begin by crumpling up a large sheet of parchment paper. Then smooth out the parchment paper and place it on a large baking sheet. Drop the vodka in random spots on the parchment paper.  I applied the colouring using the back of a spoon. You could also use a silicone brush. I placed the colour in lines on the parchment paper i.e. a line of red, a line of orange. I applied the black with a toothpick as I didn’t want there to be too much black.

Heat the sugar, water and golden syrup over a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has melted, turn the heat up and cook on a high heat. Continue to cook the sugar without stirring until it reaches 155 degrees Celsius. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature is correct.  Carefully pour the molten sugar syrup onto the prepared parchment paper. Once it is safely on the parchment paper, you can use a toothpick to create swirls between the colours.

Leave to harden for a few hours in a cool place. I left mine in the freezer for an hour before cracking the hardened sugar into shards.

Lemon Butter Icing

  • 200g of icing sugar, sieved
  • 80g of butter, softened
  • 4 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 2/3 drops of yellow food colouring

Place the softened butter in a large bowl and soften, by mixing with a wooden spoon, or beating with an electric mixer. Once you have softened the butter add the icing sugar a little at time and beat well between each addition. As soon as you have combined the butter and the icing sugar, add the lemon juice and colouring and beat well.


When the cupcakes have fully cooled, carefully take the paper case from the bun, and place the buns firmly into ice cream cones. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a medoum sized nozzle. Pipe the icing on top of the buns.  Carefully place three sugar shards into the centre of the bun and serve.