Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C fan or gas mark 4. Line two 12-hole cupcake trays with 16 paper cases
Start by making the gin syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice, gin and sugar. Heat on a low temperature, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is bubbling and syrupy. Set aside and leave to cool
Now move onto the cupcakes. First, combine the self-raising flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Stir through and set aside
In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer or wooden spoon to beat the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, along with 2 tablespoons of flour, and beat into the mixture. Add the remaining flour, milk and lemon zest, and fold the mixture together until fully combined.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the paper cases and bake for 12-14 minutes until risen and golden on top. Test the cupcakes by inserting a skewer or toothpick into the centre, if it comes out clean the cupcakes are done.
Using a skewer or toothpick, poke holes all over the top of the cupcakes and spoon the gin syrup on top, letting it soak into the sponge. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and leave to cool completely
Whilst the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream. Pour the pomegranate juice into a small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. Boil the juice for 5-10 minutes until it has reduced by half. Set aside and leave to cool.
Use an electric whisk to beat the butter until pale and soft. Add the sieved icing sugar and beat until smooth and free of any lumps
Now add the pink food colouring, cooled pomegranate juice and the gin, and beat once again until you have a smooth, pink buttercream. If the buttercream is too soft, simply cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up
Now it’s time to decorate! Spread or pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcakes using a piping bag fitted with a closed star piping nozzle. Garnish the cupcakes with fresh pomegranate seeds and raspberries. Finish the cupcakes by pushing a mini paper straw into the buttercream
Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy!