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Sunflower Cupcakes

An Oreo baked into the cupcake base, moist chocolate sponge, chocolate topping and petal piped buttercream sunflowers with a mini Oreo centre. Surprisingly simple to make, these look beautiful and make for a happy, uplifting and vibrant set of cupcakes. A nice change to the piped buttercream rose, I've left tips to developing a deep, yellow buttercream (or any colour) in the notes.

Total time to make : 1 hour plus chill time

Time to bake : 18 - 20 minutes

Servings : 10 - 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 buttermilk

1 egg

90ml boiling water

1 tsp instant coffee

12 regular oreo biscuits


250g unsalted butter, at room temperature

500g icing sugar

1 tbsp any milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Yellow gel food colouring (I use this one)

12 mini oreo biscuits


50g chocolate, melted

Piping bags

Petal/Leaf pipting tip (I use WIlson 366)


Chocolate cupcake base

  1. Preheat a fan oven to 165C and line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Place 1 regular oreo in the base of each cupcake case

  2. Put the kettle on to boil and mix 1tsp instant coffee in with 90ml freshly boiled water, stir and leave aside

  3. In a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda together

  4. Add in the brown and white sugars and salt, mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula

  5. In a measuring jug, add in the oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Whisk with a fork and then pour this into the dry ingredients, mixing into a thick batter

  6. Pour in the slightly cooled coffee to the batter and mix again, the batter will now be quite thin and runny but this is what we are looking for!

  7. Pour the mixture into the cake liners, filling them 3/4 full (I pour my batter back into the measuring jug I used to mix the wet ingredients, so it gives me a little more control over pouring them)

  8. 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 streaks of wet batter - they're not ready yet

  9. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before icing


  1. Using a standing mixer or electric hand whisker, whip the room temperature butter in a large clean bowl on a low speed for a minute until it's pale and fluffy

  2. Keeping the speed on low, add in the icing sugar a few tbsp's at a time. Continue doing this until all the icing sugar has been added, then mix on a high speed for another minute before adding the vanilla

  3. Gradually add in the milk until you've achieved the right consistency for piping (thick but spreadable, like toothpaste).

  4. Use a good quality food gel and add in a little at a time, continuing to mix the buttercream on a medium speed in-between. For a deeper developed colour, I leave mine for 1 - 2 days, covered in the fridge

  5. Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature, use a mixer to beat again to remove any air bubbles that have formed and you'll have smooth buttercream ready to pipe!


  1. Use a teaspoon to smooth the melted chocolate over the top of each cupcake. This will give us a smooth, flat base to pipe the leaves on. I pop them in the fridge for a few minutes so the chocolate has set hard, whilst I prepare the icing

  2. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream about 1/2 full, wrapping the end of the bag tightly

  3. You can practice piping on greaseproof paper, scraping the icing back into the bowl/piping bag so nothing is wasted

  4. For the petals, line the nozzle up vertically so it's perpendicular to the cupcake base, apply pressure and squeeze the buttercream out to form the base of the leaf, release pressure and it will form the tip of the leaf, a teardrop shape

  5. Pipe the first outer layer of petals in a ring, then the second inner layer of petals layered over. Press a mini Oreo into the centre

  6. Once cupcakes are iced, store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving so the buttercream is not rock solid

Nutritional Information

(per un-iced cupcake)

187 calories

3g protein, 28g carbs, 7g fat

(per fully-iced cupcake, with about 3 tbsp buttercream per cake)

450 calories

2g protein, 61g carbs, 22g fat

Good to know:

  • Use a gel or paste food colouring (not liquid - or it will throw off the buttercream consistency). For a deeper and more vibrant colour, they intensify over time - I keep mine in the fridge for up to 2 days before using (reds up to 4 days)

  • 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 and beat with an electric mixer to release any air bubbles

  • Coffee adds a real depth to chocolate bakes, you can't taste it at all but if you don't want to add it you can just use the boiling water

  • Store un-iced cupcakes at room temperature for up to 5 days

  • Cupcakes freeze incredibly well, make in advance, bring to room temperature then wrap tightly with cling-film and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months


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