These eye-catching bonfire cupcakes are baked with gently spiced, light and airy sponge and topped with smooth buttercream, pretzel sticks and mini marshmallows. They are quick, easy and super fun to make, and you can get kids involved in decorating them too!
With Halloween and Bonfire Night approaching, these little campfire cupcakes will be a perfect, crowd-pleasing treats, especially with a warm cup of tea or a hot cocoa. In addition, aromatic cinnamon and ginger are going to make you feel all warm and fuzzy from the inside!
The spooky season is here, and in addition to my Chocolate Marshmallow Halloween Bats recipe, it's about a time to add more recipes in line with that theme!
These bonfire night cupcakes are super easy and quick to make. With light and moist sponge, smooth buttercream that resembles the bonfire flames, pretzel sticks and soft marshmallows, I guarantee that kids, as well as adults will love them!
Here is what you will need to bake these fire cupcakes:
- For the cupcakes - gather together unsalted butter, caster sugar (or granulated sugar), Lyle's Golden Syrup, large egg, self-raising flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and ginger and some natural yogurt.
- For the buttercream and decorations - you will need butter, icing/ powdered sugar, vanilla extract, some yellow and orange food colouring, milk, mini marshmallows and pretzel sticks.
Firstly, in a large bowl, combine the softened butter, sugar and golden syrup. Use the electric hand whisk on medium speed to beat them until soft and fluffy. Add egg and yogurt and whisk until smooth.
Next, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Sieve the flour, baking powder and cinnamon with ginger. Fold them into the wet ingredients with spoon or spatula until just combined.
Now it's time to divide the batter between the cupcake cases. You should have about 12-14 cupcakes.
Hint: Make sure not to over-fill the cupcake cases with the batter. Aim for filling no more than ⅔ of each case.
Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden. Allow them to cool completely, before you start decorating them.
To decorate, start with making the buttercream. Beat the softened butter and icing sugar with vanilla and 1-2 tablespoons of milk.
Divide the frosting between two bowls. Add few drops of yellow food colouring to one of the bowls and mix. Add few drops of orange food colouring to the second bowl and stir well.
Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with the nozzle and pipe on top of the cupcakes.
Hint: If the buttercream becomes too soft, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes, before piping it on top of the cupcakes.
Break the pretzel sticks into a smaller pieces. Place 2-3 mini marshmallows into toothpick, making sure you have enough for all of the cupcakes.
Lastly, arrange the pretzel sticks on top of the buttercream, followed by the mini marshmallow skewers.
Want to see me making this recipe? Watch this Instagram Reel to see how easy and quick it is to make.
- If you don't have Lyle's Golden Syrup, use the same amount of honey, maple, or rice syrup. The taste will be ever so slightly different, but still delicious.
Did you know? The Great British Syrup, Lyle's Golden Syrup has been loved through the generations, and remains unchanged since 1883.
- Pretzel sticks - Most larger supermarkets will sell them. If you can't find them, look out for them in the world food aisle. Often Polish, German or Indian food aisles will have them. You could also use sweet pretzel sticks, often available in Asian food stores.
- Make it gluten free - use good quality gluten-free self raising flour and make sure the baking powder is also gluten free. Most of pretzel sticks will contain gluten, so make sure you also swap these for gluten free alternative (they are widely available online or in larger supermarkets).
- Make it vegan - use dairy free butter or margarine. Swap natural yogurt for vegan alternative and use applesauce instead of an egg.
Here are few suggestions on how you can change this recipe:
- Chocolate cupcakes - replace small part of the flour with equal amount of cocoa powder. You can also use my Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes recipe instead (just make sure to adjust the quantities for a bigger batch).
- Make a speedy version - if you are short on time, or just don't feel like mixing and making your own cake batter, use a ready-made, store bought cake mix instead.
Store any leftover cupcakes in the air tight container at room temperature. They will last for a couple of days.
You can also freeze frosted cupcakes (without the pretzel sticks and marshmallow decorations) for up to three months. Make sure to store them in the freezer-friendly container and thaw at room temperature.
Unfrosted cupcakes can also be frozen for up to three months. Wrap each cupcake individually in a double layer of clingfilm, and place in the freezer-friendly bag or container.
Frosting is also suitable for freezing for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight.
You can prepare the cakes and the buttercream up to a day in advance. Store the cakes in the airtight container at room temperature.
Keep the buttercream in the fridge until needed. If it is too hard to pipe, allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Although you don't need any special equipment to make these bonfire cupcakes, here are few things which will help to ensure you will succeed with this bake:
- Hand-held electric mixer (or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment). Alternatively, it is possible to whip the wet ingredients by hand, but it will take some elbow grease and bit more time.
- Piping bag with the nozzle - I used large open star nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto these cupcakes, but feel free to use any type of nozzle you like.
- Toothpicks - to create the marshmallow skewers you will need 12-14 toothpicks to stick them onto. You can also use small skewers instead.
Make sure to use the gel food colouring. It produces the best results and more distinctive colours than liquid colouring. It is also more concentrated, meaning you will only need to use few drops of it.
- 12-hole cupcake/ muffin tin
- paper cupcake cases/ liners
- hand-held electric mixer
- mixing bowls
- piping bag with nozzle
- 12 toothpicks or small skewers
For the cupcakes:
- 100 g unsalted butter softened
- 130 g caster sugar
- 40 g Lyle's Golden Syrup
- 1 large egg
- 150 g self- raising flour *see notes for the alternative
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 170 g natural yogurt
For the frosting:
- 225 g unsalted butter softened
- 500 g icing/ powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 small orange food colouring
- 1 small yellow food colouring
- 1 medium bag of mini marshmallows for decoration
- 1 medium bag of pretzel sticks for decoration
- 1-2 tablespoon milk
To make the cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 175 C (160C fan). Line the 12-hole muffin/ cupcake case with 12 paper cases and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add Lyle's Golden Syrup and mix again. Crack in one large egg, and whisk to combine. Add natural yogurt and mix well to combine.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture and whisk until just combined. Divide the batter between cupcake cases, filling them up to ⅔.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until risen and golden, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes, before transferring the cupcakes into a wire rack to cool completely.
To make frosting:
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar together. Add vanilla extract and mix again. Divide the frosting between two bowls. Add few drops of orange food colouring to one of the bowls, and few drops of yellow food colouring to another bowl, mixing well to combine.
- Transfer the frosting into a piping bag, alternating the colours. Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Decorate the cupcakes with pretzel sticks. Place the mini marshmallows onto the toothpicks and decorate the cupcakes with them.
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- If Lyle's Golden Syrup is not available, use maple syrup or honey instead.
- Store any leftover cupcakes for up to 2 days in the airtight container at room temperature.
- These cupcakes can also be frozen, frosted or unfrosted, for up to three months. If freezing frosted cupcakes (without pretzel sticks and marshmallows), make sure to place them in the freezer friendly container and thaw them at room temperature.
- Unfrosted cupcakes can be wrapped individually in a double layer of clingfilm and placed in the freezer-friendly container for up to three months.
- Frosting can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight.
- The cupcakes and the frosting can be prepared ahead, up to a day in advance. Store cupcakes in the airtight container at room temperature, and store frosting in the fridge.