Honey & Orange Cupcakes

I’ve mentioned before that I attend my local Women’s Institute (WI) on a monthly basis. Well last month’s meeting was a bit different in that we had an outing to visit some nearby bees. I had no idea that there are beehives on the roofs of many of the city’s buildings. After a talk from a local beekeeper we headed up to the roof of The Printworks where they have chickens, a vegetable garden and two beehives. It was dark when we visited, but I found the below photo online which gives a much clearer view!

The bees are looked after by someone from the Hard Rock Cafe, vegetables from the garden are used to make soup for the homeless, and the wild flower section of the garden was dontaed by Bez from the Happy Mondays. Who knew all this was going on right above our heads! Bees are such fascinating creatures and so essential to our environment.

Step by step…

So in honour of our bee themed meeting I decided to make some Honey & Orange Cupcakes with cute little bees on top! To make the bees I started by rolling chunks of golden marzipan to make the bees bodies. I laid them onto baking paper.

I melted a few blocks of dark chocolate in the microwave and painted the bees stripes and eyes onto the marzipan bodies using a brand new paint brush. You could probably also do this with a cocktail stick.

I pushed flaked almonds into the bees to make the wings.

Soon I had a swarm of marzipan bees! I made 30+ cupcakes for my WI meeting, but I’ll give you the recipe for 12 cupcakes, then you can double and triple it as you need.

To make the cupcakes I started by creaming butter, honey and caster sugar together.

I added eggs, the zest of one orange, orange juice and orange extract.

Finally I mixed in self raising flour.

I baked the cupcakes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes until golden brown. I got a new oven recently and it bakes things super fast so you may need to leave them in for 20 minutes depending on your oven.

Next I made some buttercream by mixing butter, honey, icing sugar and orange extract. I piped it onto the cupcakes when they were fully cool.

Finally I added the super cute marzipan bees! I loved the final effect, the little ‘bees’ looked so adorable. I got some really lovely comments when I presented the Honey & Orange Cupcakes at the meeting and was pleased to see them all fly off the table!

Recommended equipment & ingredients*

Cupcake tin Electric hand mixer Piping bags
Orange extract Yellow cupcake cases Wilton 2D Piping nozzle
Zester Wilton 1M Piping nozzle Jem 1E Piping nozzle

*I earn a small amount of money if you buy the products after clicking on the links. You will not be charged anything extra for this. Thank you for supporting The Baking Explorer!

Honey & Orange Cupcakes

Honey and orange infused sponge and buttercream with marzipan bees

Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Keyword Cupcake
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12
Author thebakingexplorer


For the marzipan bees

  • 120 g Golden marzipan
  • 6 squares Dark chocolate
  • 50 g Flaked almonds

For the sponge

  • 150 g Butter or baking spread
  • 50 g Honey
  • 100 g Caster sugar
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 tsp Orange extract

For the buttercream

  • 150 g Butter or baking spread
  • 50 g Honey
  • 400 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Orange extract
  • 150 g Self raising flour


  1. To make the bees, roll chunks of golden marzipan into an oval shape. Lay them onto baking paper

  2. Melt the dark chocolate and paint the bees stripes and eyes onto the marzipan bodies using a small paint brush or a cocktail stick
  3. Push the flaked almonds into the bees bodies to make the wings
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a cupcake tin with paper case

  5. To make the cupcakes, cream the butter, honey and the caster sugar together

  6. Add the eggs, the zest of the orange, 3 tbsp of the orange's juice and the orange extract. Mix well

  7. Fold in the self raising flour
  8. Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool completely

  9. Make the buttercream by mixing the butter, honey, icing sugar and orange extract together until smooth. Pipe it onto the cupcakes or spread with a spoon

  10. Finally add the marzipan bees

  11. Store in an airtight container in a cool place, eat leftovers within 3 days

Sponge recipe adapted from Rowse Honey.

If you like this, check out more of my Cupcake recipes!

10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. look at those cute bees!… so adorable. I think honey and orange has to be up there with my most favourite flavour combos… I gladly welcome these to the Simply Eggcellent table!

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