Head Pastry Chef Mourad Khiat shares his Lemon Drizzle Handbag Cake recipe from fashion’s favourite afternoon tea, Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley. Ready-to-wear becomes ready-to-eat with this haute couture afternoon tea. Whilst you can’t visit The Berkeley, enjoy creating this mini-masterpiece at home, with simple ingredients transformed by your creativity. Complete the experience by adding your own designs, and perhaps some elegant canapés, sandwiches, and tea or champagne.

Lemon Drizzle Handbag Cake

Makes up to 20 cakes


Stand mixer or hand-held electric beaters
Baking parchment
Wire rack 
Cake tin
Palette knife
Cocktail stick
Paper piping bag


Sponge cake:

93g caster sugar
72g plain flour – sifted 
40g whipping cream
23g melted butter
2 whole eggs
1 lemon (zest and juice) 
1.5g baking powder 
Pinch of salt

Icing ingredients: 

500g fondant icing mix
Yellow liquid food colouring
50ml water


The Handbag Handles

This finishing touch needs to be made the day before the cakes.
Place the ready-to-roll icing on a clean work surface, protecting it with clingfilm if necessary, then add the yellow food colouring to the icing and knead it in, spreading the colour through evenly.
Once you have an even ball of yellow icing the shade you want, take a small section and roll it under your hand into a thin cylinder then cut into 5cm lengths. Bend each length into a neat, handle-like curve, with about 3cm between the ends, and leave to dry overnight on baking parchment. 
Be sure to make at least 30, so that whatever happens, all cakes get a handle.

The Lemon Drizzle Sponge

Stir the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, zest, salt and whipping cream in a mixing bowl until well combined, creating a thick liquid. Slowly fold in the sifted flour and add the melted butter.
Spray or brush the baking tin with butter, then pour the mix into the tin. Bake in the over at 150 C for 20–25 minutes until risen and golden. 
Once ready, remove the sponge onto a wire rack to let cool. Once cooled, cut it into rectangular pieces 3 x 5cm—or however large you would like your handbags to be! 
Place each piece on the wire rack, standing up right ready for its icing and decoration. 

The Icing

First place a sheet of baking parchment underneath your wire rack. If you want to cheat, you can buy ready-made icing, but if not, sift the icing mix into a large bowl. Add the water gradually, stirring gently, until the mixture is liquid but still thick, then add the food colouring and keep stirring. 
Once you’re happy with the shade of your icing, gently pour or pipe it over your mini sponges so they are completely covered (except the bases), allowing the excess to drip on to the paper below. Leave to set for 1 hour. 
Once the icing has set, gently remove each handbag from the rack with a palette knife and transfer to a serving plate. Take one of the icing handles and use a cocktail stick to mark two holes where it should sit on top of a bag. Either make a dent in the top of the icing, or add a dab of icing to ‘glue’ on one fondant handle per bag and watch your sponge take shape.

Styling Details

To create the signature fine detailing, make royal icing by mixing the icing sugar with a little egg white and food colouring. When your hand is steady, put it in a piping bag, snip off the end to make a small hole, and pipe on your design details.