Sakura Cupcakes

Sakura is the Japanese name for a cherry blossom.  These gorgeous pastel pink flowers are so abundant in Japan in the springtime that there is a festival dedicated to their viewing – Hanami.  It’s a beautiful time of year where there are many parties and picnics held under the cherry trees and people even queue to find the most picturesque spots!  I get quite sentimental about hanami because it was around this time that my husband and I started going out (that means ‘dating’ for you US readers!).  On the Great British Bake Off I used a layer of cherry jelly between the frosting and cake but it’s a nightmare to find in the UK so I have substituted with cherry jam and cordial.  Plum, strawberry or raspberry would work just as well.

You’ll need

For the cupcakes

  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 40g soft unsalted butter
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 20ml Morello cherry cordial (try Waitrose)
  • 1 egg
  • Morello cherry jam

For the frosting and decoration

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp full fat milk
  • 1 tbsp Morello cherry cordial
  • Pink food colouring
  • 1 15g packet dark chocolate (80%+ cocoa solids)
  • 12 fresh cherries


  • A KitchenAid or electric mixer
  • 12 hole muffin tray
  • 12 pink or white cupcake cases
  • A small piping bag with a thin (1 or 2mm) nozzle

To make them

  • Preheat oven to 200C
  • Layout a 12 hole muffin tray with the cupcake cases and put aside
  • Whisk the milk, egg and cordial together and set aside.
  • Put the flour, sugar and butter into the KitchenAid with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed til the mixture looks like small breadcrumbs.
  • Slowly add the milk mixture until you have a smooth batter.
  • Divide the mixture between cupcake cases (approximately 30-35g per case) and bake on middle shelf for 15-20 minutes or until just brown. A cocktail stick inserted should come out clean.
  • Take them out of the oven and leave in the tray to cool then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Make the flower decorations by melting the chocolate over a pan of hot water or carefully in a microwave.
  • Leave to cool til nearly room temperature and then pour into a small piping bag with a 2mm nozzle and pipe 12 flower shapes onto a piece of greaseproof paper. Put them in the fridge to set.  If you don’t have a piping bag you could try using a medicine syringe or a food bag with one edge cut off.
  • To make the frosting put the icing sugar and butter into the KitchenAid with a paddle attachment and blitz on very slow speed until in comes together. I usually cover the whole thing with a tea towel to prevent an icing sugar cloud.
  • Add the milk and cordial and blitz at faster speed until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in the pink food colouring to a pinkiness of your choice. Pastel is my liking:-)
  • Once the cupcakes are fully cool, cut out a little well in the middle of each one large enough to fit about a teaspoon of the jam.
  • Spoon the frosting on top and decorate with a polished cherry, a chocolate flower and if in season – a ‘Sakura’ .

You might also like my article on Hanami traditions at Great British Chefs Blog

11 responses to “Sakura Cupcakes

  1. Pingback: My recipes from The Great British Bake Off | The Botanical Baker

  2. These are absolutely beautiful! LOVE the decoration.


  3. Pingback: Inspiration for National Cherry Day | The Botanical Baker

  4. Pingback: Celebrating Cherry Blossoms | The Botanical Baker

  5. I love Morello cherry, these look yummylicious:)


  6. Pingback: Japanese pancakes - Okonomiyaki by How to cook good food

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