Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

A while back, I went absolutely cupcake crazy, baking them all the time and desperately trying to invent new and wacky flavour combinations. Without a doubt, cupcakes were the darlings of the baking world for a couple of years. But, as with most trends, time moves on and something new comes along to take their place; since then macarons, whoopee pies, éclairs and doughnuts have all had their moment in the sun. Whilst I am an eager participant in all these baking trends, I also like good old retro style bakes.

When I was a child we never made cupcakes, though we were aware of them courtesy of American television shows and films. What we had were ‘buns’ or fairy cakes (buns with glace icing and if you were feeling very decadent a few coloured sprinkles on top), but we didn’t have cupcakes which were considered completely extravagant, being so much bigger than our little sponge cake buns. Also, cupcakes tend to always be covered in rich blousy coloured buttercream icings; my grandmother would have considered them vulgar and ostentatious!

But I do love cupcakes and they definitely have a place in my baking arsenal. Having discarded my misplaced desires to seek out unusual flavour pairings just to appear different and a bit of a baking trend-setter, I find that I much prefer using classic combinations. One of my favourite flavour mixes is that of chocolate with raspberry or chocolate with vanilla, but I’m not sure which of the two I like better. Loathe to force myself into making a decision, I decided to use all three flavour elements in these cupcakes. I have baked a simple chocolate sponge cake, covered it in vanilla flavoured buttercream icing and finished it off with fresh raspberries. These are really tasty and incredibly simple to make. The quantities given make 12 cupcakes, but you may want to consider making a double batch, because they are popular and disappear in minutes!


150g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
175g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
Vanilla Buttercream:
125g butter, softened
250g icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
To finish:
12 fresh raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Place 12 cupcake cases of your choice into a 12-hole cupcake tin and set aside.
2. Using a hand-held electric mixer. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until very light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs mixing well after addition to avoid the mixture curdling.
3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together and fold into the butter and egg mixture until fully incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake cases. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until well-risen and a thin skewer inserted carefully into one comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before topping with buttercream icing.
Vanilla Buttercream:
5. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer, beat together until light and fluffy. Place the buttercream in a disposable piping bag fitteld with a 1cm star nozzle and pipe a generous swirl of buttercream on top of each cupcake.
To finish:
6. Place a fresh raspberry on top of each cupcake.

Makes 12.