A light and fluffy but deeply chocolate-y sponge topped with a simple and sweet vanilla buttercream. I share my tips below on how to get your icing bright white (as appose to a regular more yellow-y buttercream). I top mine with holly decorations but these look great with snowflakes, gingerbread men, Santa hats - anything!
Check out these step-by-step Masterclass videos:
How to pipe a buttercream rose, here
Everything you need to know to get the best buttercream and my favourite recipe, here
How to fill a piping bag, here
Total time to make : 1 hr (with frosting) Time to prep : 10 minutes
Time to bake : 18 - 20 minutes
Servings : 12
105g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
75g brown sugar
75g white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence or paste
60ml light olive oil (can use other baking oils)
90ml boiling water
1 tsp instant coffee
I used these decorative holly toppers
Vanilla American Buttercream
My go-to recipe and step-by-step video cookalong here
* see my tips below to create a snow-white coloured frosting (rather than a yellow-y tinged one)
Preheat oven to 165C and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners
Put the kettle on to boil and mix 1tsp instant coffee in with 90ml freshly boiled water, stir and leave aside
In a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda together
Add in the brown and white sugars and salt, mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined
Add in the oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla, mixing well into a thick batter
Pour in the coffee to the batter and mix again, your batter will be quite thin and runny but this is what we are looking for!
Pour the mixture into the cake liners, filling them up about 1/2 way full, I pour my batter into a use a measuring jug with a lip so it gives me a little more control over pouring them
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a clean metal skewer or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the bake, if it still has wet batter on - they're not ready just yet
Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before icing
Pipe a rose on top of each cooled cupcake and top with a holly decoration (or any!). I like to put them just where the buttercream rose tail finishes, or on top of any imperfections.
Achieving White Buttercream
The first thing you want to do when you cream the butter by itself is beat it for a good 5 minutes at high speed. This not only creates a fluffier, light consistency but also creates a paler yellow shade.
Either skip the vanilla extract (which can add a brown/yellow tinge) or use a clear coloured one.
A tiny amount (like, half a toothpick dipped in) purple food dye balances out yellow hues and creates a brighter, whiter frosting - just like purple rinses help yellow blondes be more platinum blonde. This is by far my favourite tip but you have to be really careful because just a smidge too much and you'll end up with a weird, grey shaded buttercream batch.
(per fully-iced cupcake, with about 4 tbsp buttercream per cake)
3g protein, 50g carbs, 16g fat
Good to know:
Cupcakes freeze incredibly well, make in advance, cool completely then wrap tightly with cling-film and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months
Once mixed to your desired consistency, icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge or 2 months in a freezer, defrost fully before using
Store iced cupcakes at room temperature (or in the fridge in warmer climates or months) for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before eating