Recipe: Ribena Cupcakes

In July my baby brother turned 19, and as is tradition with special occasions (or any occasion really...), I baked some cake.

Now there are a number of things that I have in common with my little brother, one big one being our love for Ribena. Or 'bena, as it's more affectionately known. I have fond memories of sitting on the corner of my parents bed with 'bena & biscuits, watching Playdays on rainy afternoons.

I found this recipe by Raspberri Cupcakes a couple of months ago (there are so many wonderful recipes on this site) and decided it would be perfect! As well as being fairly straightforward, with easy to acquire ingredients, it also sounded delicious.

You will need:

For the cupcakes

- 1/3 cup / 80(ish)ml of Ribena cordial
- 225g self-raising flour
- 125g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 jar of blackcurrant jam

For the buttercream icing*

- 2 tbsp Ribena cordial
- 3 tbsp blackcurrant jam
- 210g butter (cut in to small cubes & removed from the fridge 30mins before)
- 375g sifted icing sugar

Luckily the majority of this recipe was already using the metric system, and what wasn't, I changed. For the Ribena cordial though you'll be best off using cups - this meant I finally got to use my matryoshka dolls measuring cups! yay!

*NB: These are the amounts taken from the Raspberri Cupcakes recipe, however I found I had more buttercream than I needed so these amounts could probably be reduced. Unless you don't mind having too much Ribena buttercream? I mean, who's going to have a problem with that?!

1. To start, pre-heat the oven to 190°C / fan 180°C. In an electric mixing bowl, mix the Ribena cordial, butter, sugar and eggs together until smooth. Next, sieve in the flour.
(If you don't have an electric mixing bowl: cream the butter & sugar together until smooth, add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Then add the Ribena cordial and flour, mix until combined.)

2. Evenly distribute the mixture in to paper cases (I was able to make 24 using standard size cupcake cases) then bake in the oven for 10-15mins. When done, leave in the tins for 5mins before transferring them on to a cooling wire.

3. Start preparing the Ribena buttercream icing. Using an electric mixer again, beat the butter on a high setting until it is soft and fluffy. Next, gradually add the icing sugar with the electric mixer on a lower setting, increasing the speed to beat it all together. To finish simply add the Ribena and blackcurrant jam slowly to ensure the icing is smooth, not runny. (If needs be you can add more icing sugar.)

4. Once cooled, use a knife to cut the middle out of each cupcake. This is where the jam will go so be sure to cut a big enough section, then use a teaspoon to fill each hole with the blackcurrant jam. Pop the "lid" back on each one afterwards.

5. To finish, simply pipe the Ribena buttercream on top & decorate with whatever you like. I used Smarties for the colour (and because who doesn't like Smarties?!), but you could also decorate with fruit (blackcurrant, blueberries), jelly tots, fruit pastilles, sprinkles - anything you like!

6. Eat & enjoy!

These cupcakes were wonderful! I highly recommend giving them a try. The cupcakes on their own were delicious and had a gorgeous texture - I'll definitely be using Ribena cordial to replace some of the sugar in cake mixture again! I'm also pretty happy with my first attempt at proper buttercream icing and at my first piping adventure, they don't look as bad as I initially thought but then, I'm going to eat them regardless, so it doesn't really matter :-)


  1. Wow, this look so tasty! I love how you decided to decorate them too :) I don't think Rebena is a common drink in the US, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it at a grocery story that has a lot of imported foods. From your pictures, it seems a little like the sparkling grape juice my siblings and I used to drink on special occasions when we were younger so I'm tempted to give buy some next time I get a chance.

    1. Thank you :-) Ribena is a blackcurrant flavoured fruit juice that can be fizzy or not. The cordial isn't fizzy & requires water but you can also buy it ready to drink in cartons & bottles. You can get it in a strawberry flavour too but that's not as nice :-) If you see it you should try it! Though if it's imported it's probably going to be pretty expensive :-/

    2. I live in the US but am from the UK. It's not really anything like sparkling grape's hard to find something to compare it to. It's not sparkling, and you have to dilute it. Don't drink it straight! I haven't seen the pre-diluted cartons/bottles in the US, only the syrup.

  2. I have those same measuring cups! I got them because I loved how much space they saved. And I love the way you put the icing on the cupcakes. Very cute!

    1. Hey Aubrey! Yeah they are so handy & pretty too!
      And thank you! :-)

  3. Best thing ever. I moved to Canada 3 years ago and ribena (cordial full stop, actually) is something that is always missed! I love that this only takes 2 tbsps though, because it means that the precious, precious liquid can spread out even further.

    Thanks for sharing this.


    1. Hi Hannah, I hope you manage to find cordial somewhere in Canada, I can't imagine a life without it! :-O And then when you do, you should definitely make these! :-)