Eton Mess cupcakes

Eton mess cupcakes with zebra cake sponge

I made these for the Iron Cupcake competition in Leeds for the theme “summer berries”. I took the idea of the traditional Eton Mess (fresh cream, meringue and strawberries) but used buttercream. The inside of the cupcake is stripy, which is a nice surprise when you bite into it!

60mins – Prep time: 40 mins – Cooking time: 20mins



  • 4oz golden caster sugar
  • 4oz margarine (I use Stork)
  • 4oz self raising flour
  • 2 medium/large eggs (get them out of the fridge beforehand to warm up to room temp)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste/3 drops vanilla essence
  • Red food colouring


  • 100g butter
  • 220g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence

Strawberry sauce

  • 15 strawberries
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar


  • Meringues – you could make your own or you could just use one of those meringue nests you can buy from the supermarket
  • Strawberries to decorate – try to use the smaller ones for decoration and larger ones for the sauce


Oven temp: 160°C/320°F

  1. Before making the cupcakes, make the strawberry sauce. Remove stalks and slice strawberries into about 6 pieces each. Place them in a saucepan with the sugar and simmer over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. The strawberries will go very slushy.
  2. Use a masher to gently squash all the strawberries and simmer with the lid off for another 2 minutes.
  3. Run the sauce through a sieve to remove all the pips and pulp and leave to cool.
  4. Lay out cupcake cases. If you use silicon you can lay them on a flat baking tray, if you use paper ones, I advise using a bun tin to make the cakes hold their shape
  5. Whisk the eggs and sugar for at least 4 minutes with an electric hand whisk and beat air into the mix so it fluffs up.
  6. Bit by bit, sieve in the flour and baking powder and add bits of butter, whisking the mixture each time to ensure a smooth texture, until fully mixed, then mix in the vanilla paste or essence.
  7. Divide the mixture evenly into two bowls. In one bowl mix 4tbsp of strawberry sauce. Add red food colouring the batter is strongly coloured.
  8. Take a spoonful of the white batter and spoon into the middle. Gently make a well with the base of a spoon in the middle. Repeat with pink mixture. Fill cupcake cases about two thirds full.
  9. Put the cupcakes into the oven for 15-20 minutes until they feel spongey and the tops have got some colour.
  10. Once out of the oven, place on a wire cooling rack to cool down
  11. To make the buttercream, cream the butter on its own for a couple of minutes using an electric hand mixer, then add the icing sugar and vanilla essence and beat until light and fluffy.
  12. Make a cupcake swirl, but after you’ve scooped the buttercream on, gently drip on strawberry sauce so that it gently makes a strawberry ripple in buttercream.

    Need help learning the swirl? Watch this fab video from youtube

  13. Take your meringues and crumble it – I made my meringue quite fine to show off the sauce underneath but you can make it as chunky as you like. Sprinkle over the top of the buttercream.
  14. Garnish with a strawberry, then try not to eat them all at once!


    • Becs says

      Yes they are very Cath Kidston aren’t they?! The problem is the food colouring stained them a bit – I guess they’re just suitable for plain cupcakes! I bought them in Norfolk but they have these in Peter Maturi (or very similar ones) :)

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