Frances Quinn's 'Ace' Tennis Cupcakes



1. Preheat the oven to 170C/160C fan/340F/gas 3.5

2. Make the shortbread:

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until smooth. Sift and stir in the flour to create a soft dough.

Roll out between two sheets of non stick parchment paper to approx 0.5cm and cut out your tennis rackets using an appropriate shaped cutter or cutting round a template. Keep re-rolling the trimmings until you've cut out 12 rackets. Carefully transfer the biscuits to baking trays lined with non stick parchment paper and add your tennis string and handle detailing using a sharp knife. Transfer the tray of biscuits into the fridge to chill for half an hour before baking in the pre-heated oven for approx 7-10 minutes until lightly golden and firm. Leave the biscuits to cool lightly before removing the biscuits from the tray and leave to cool fully on a cooling rack.

While the biscuits are chilling in the fridge make the cupcakes.

3. Make the cupcakes:

Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl to a lightly creamy consistency. Slowly beat in the eggs, one by one, followed by the lemon zest. Finally sift and fold in the flour to combine.

Transfer and divide the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for approx 10-15 minutes until risen and lightly golden brown and a knife inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool slightly before removing the cupcakes from the tin and leaving to cool fully on a cooling rack.

While everything is cooling make the tennis bonbons, strawberry compote and chantilly cream.

4. Make the tennis bonbons:

Mix the fondant icing and lemon juice together to create a smooth thick paste. Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a fine rounded nozzle and carefully pipe your tennis ball markings on to the lemon bonbons and leave to set.

5. Make the strawberry compote:

Remove the stalks from the strawberries and cut into small pieces and transfer into a bowl. Squeeze over the lemon juice and stir through the caster sugar and allow to soften and break down slightly into a chunky compote.

6. Make the Chantilly cream:

Whisk the cream, caster sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until soft peaks form. Set aside untill ready to use.

7. Assemble the cupcakes:

Once everything is cool and prepared using a small sharp knife cut and remove the centre out of the middle of the cupcakes. Spoon the strawberry compote into the middle of the holes of each cupcake. Return the centre core of the cupcakes and cover with the chantilly cream using a small palette knife to create a smooth yet rustic finish. Decorate and place a shortbread tennis racket biscuit on top of each cupcake, together with tennis bonbon and strawberry.


Prep time:

Cook time:

Serves: 12

  • For the shortbread:

  • 150g plain flour

  • 100g slightly salted butter, softened

  • 50g caster sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • For the cupcakes:

  • 150g slightly salted butter, softened

  • 150g caster sugar

  • 150g self raising flour

  • 3 medium eggs, beaten

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • For the tennis bonbons:

  • 12 lemon bonbons

  • 100g royal icing

  • Squeeze of lemon juice

  • For the strawberry compote:

  • 400g punnet of strawberries - reserve 12 smaller sized ones

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

  • Remaining juice from the lemon used above

  • For the Chantilly cream:

  • 300ml double cream

  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar

  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract