Makes 24

180g butter, softened

5ml vanilla essence

5ml strawberry essence

220g castor sugar

4 eggs

300g self-raising flour

60ml milk

60ml strawberry jam

24 paper cupcake cases with hearts


500g castor sugar

160ml water

5ml strawberry essence

2 drops red food colouring

4 egg whites

pink hearts

pink sweet buttons

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Spray 2 large muffin trays with non-stick cooking spray and place paper cupcake cases in muffin moulds.

In a large bowl beat the butter, essences and sugar with an electric hand- mixer until creamy.

Add eggs and beat till fluffy and pale.

Sift in the flour and add milk. Combine into a soft thick cake batter.

Divide cake batter between paper cases.

Divide jam equally and, using a skewer, swirl jam into each cake.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes till done.

Remove from oven and place cakes on wire racks to cool.

Pipe frosting on to cakes and decorate as desired.

FROSTING: Combine sugar and water in a small pot. Stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar has dissolved.

Boil, uncovered without stirring, for about 5 minutes until sugar is thick.

Add essence and food colouring and stir well. Take care not to scorch the syrup as it will change colour.

Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add the egg whites and beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form.

While beating the egg whites, add hot syrup in a thin stream and continue to beat at a high speed until the mixture is thick and frost-like.