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Queen Cakes

Queen Cakes

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If you are close to my age and grew up in Durban you would know what Queen Cakes are. It is similar to a normal vanilla cupcake, however this one is a little more dense and somewhat drier.

Queen Cakes

At least it’s how I remember it. Some had a bit of sprinkles on top and others didn’t.  

Growing up in the apartheid days we had none of the luxuries. We had to eat simply and live simply. I guess it’s why simple recipes have stuck with me.

It’s part of our heritage and although most of our dishes actually stemmed from darkness people are absolutely in love with them. Darkness or not all our dishes was made with love.

We were always content with the little we had. I don’t ever remember wanting anything more when I was little. 

I don’t remember my parents ever complaining about our living conditions or the pittance they earned. They just made the best of everything they had.

Some days I wish life could go back that way, the simple way.  When things are simple it becomes less complicated.

Right now I find life far too stressful and complicated. Too much material stuff around us, too much competition and too much greed.

Today whilst eating these Queen Cakes I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic. It felt good making them because it reminded me of home.

Ingredients for the Queen Cakes

All you need is some butter (or margarine if you prefer), castor sugar, vanilla essence, cake wheat or all purpose flour, baking powder and a little milk.

If you’re using a hand mixer you will need some muscle power. You are going to be beating the butter and sugar for a long time.

Making the batter

If you want that fine crumb then you have to beat the butter for at least 4 minutes so it’s light and fluffy. You then add the sugar and beat for another 4 minutes.

You want a light creamy mixture before you add the dry ingredients. You add the eggs one at a time and then the flour and baking powder is sifted in.

For this recipe I folded the dry ingredients in and then added the milk. I don’t do any fancy or technical folding. I do my own thing just until combined.

It worked fine for me. But be careful not to overmix. The batter will be a little thick, remember we’re looking for more dense, drier texture.

If you feel you want a lighter texture you can increase the amount of milk. For me personally this worked because I prefer the dry queen cakes.

Once you have a cup of tea with it you forget all about it being dry. Trust me. 

You can add some sprinkles on top or you can leave it out. Either way it tastes great. 

Once baked a hard crust is formed on top, the best bit about these. I deliberately bake them for a little longer because I love the crust.

Baking the cakes

I pour the batter into muffin liners, about half full. I then use a wet spoon and smooth the tops a little, doesn’t have to be perfect.

Once baked it rises quite a bit so don’t worry about it being half full. The batter is definitely not a dropping consistency so you will have to scoop them in.

You will know they are ready when they are a lovely golden brown on top. If you stick a toothpick into the center of the cakes it will come out clean.

I hope you try this recipe and if you love it as much as I do please drop a comment and a star rating. It is always appreciated.

More Recipe to try:

Delicious Soft Snowballs Recipe

Carrot Cupcakes

Easy Lamingtons Recipe

Print Pin
5 from 2 votes

Queen Cakes

A simple but decadent tea-time treat
Course Dessert
Cuisine South African
Keyword cupcakes, queen cakes, quick and easy recipes, south african recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 12


  • 125 gram butter
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1&1/2 cup cake wheat flour
  • 1&1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside
  • Using an electric mixer beat the butter for about 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat another 4 minutes
  • Mix in the vanilla essence. Add one egg at a time and beat until combined
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder. Use a spatula and fold in the dry ingredients just until combined, mix in the milk
  • Half fill each cupcake liner. Use a wet spoon to smooth the tops a little. Add some sprinkles on top and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  • Cool on a cool rack and store in an airtight container up to 3 days


  1. These cakes are meant to have a dry/dense texture. If you prefer softer you can increase the amount of milk. You will then have a dropping consistency of batter
  2. I prefer castor sugar as it dissolves better but granulated sugar works fine too



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21 South African Desserts To Rock Your World 2022

Saturday 16th of April 2022

[…] 2. Queen Cake […]


Friday 6th of August 2021

My grandma used to make these queen cakes every time we visited her during the school holidays. I loved her and definitely loved these cakes. This used to be all I ate and she never forced me to eat anything else…this made her my favorite person in the entire world. I’ve been looking for a recipe and I’m so glad I found yours because I love all your other recipes. I love the fact that you take simple ingredients and turn them into delectable, satisfying dishes that take me back to days when we had love for one another. You’re absolutely right, these days we’re more concerned with material possessions, money, competition, greed, envy and jealousy… I miss those simple days too. Thanks for your lovely recipes and keeping beautiful memories alive.


Friday 6th of August 2021

Thank you for your heartwarming message Helen. It's what my blog is all about, cherishing the memories through food. So glad the recipe brought back happy memories of your grandma. Take Care:-)

Nobuhle Mastu

Wednesday 7th of July 2021

I love your recioes they all understandable nd very easy to mix thnk u so much


Friday 23rd of July 2021

Thank you so much Nobuhle:-)

Thilo Munsamy

Thursday 24th of June 2021

reminds me of the queen cakes from Victory Lounge in central Durban. Will definitely give this a try

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