Sunday, 22 May 2016

Chocolate Two Tone Cupcakes

Of course, chocolate cupcakes are really easy to make but there is something cool about making them look a little bit more exciting with two tone icing.

I chose to decorate mine with a combination of chocolate and vanilla icing.  I hate the way that "vanilla" has become a byword for boring.  Proper vanilla extract is the most heady, delicious flavour and if paired with an intense chocolate icing, the two set each other off beautifully.

Alternatively a really good combination would be orange and chocolate or coffee and chocolate... yummy!

Chocolate Two Tone Cupcakes - Makes approx 10 small cupcakes or fairy cakes


60g, 2oz Margarine (see note)
60g, 2oz Caster sugar (see note)
1 egg
60g, 2oz Self Raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Approx 1 tbsp milk

For the chocolate icing
20g, just over 1/2oz Butter
A small amount of boiling water
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Icing sugar (confectioners sugar) to mix

For the vanilla icing 
20g, just over 1/2oz Butter
A small amount of boiling water
a few drops of vanilla extract
Icing sugar (confectioners sugar) to mix


Preheat the oven to 180oC, 350F, Gas Mark 5.

Using an electric whisk or food processor, blend the margarine and sugar.  Boil a kettle and mix the cocoa powder with just enough water to make a paste.

Whisk in the egg to the margarine and sugar.

Add the flour and baking powder to the mix and as that is mixing in, whisk in the cocoa paste.  Whisk in enough milk to make a soft dropping consistency.

Put a dsp in fairy cake cases (or cupcake cases).  Bake for approx 10 minutes or until when pressed on the top, they bounce back.  If you use large cupcake cases, they will take longer to cook (and you won't make quite so many.)

Take out of the oven and allow to cool.  You can't ice warm cakes because the icing melts!

When the cakes are cool, for the chocolate icing, melt the butter in the microwave then mix with the cocoa powder.  Add in a few tbsp water and about a tsp boiling water.  Mix until you have a pipeable consistency.  Taste the icing to check it's to your liking.  If you like the chocolate flavour to be less intense, add a bit more icing sugar and a tiny amount of water.

To make the vanilla icing, melt the butter as before, add in a few drops of real vanilla extract then add in a few tbsp icing sugar and about a tsp of boiling water, mixing and adding more icing sugar until you have a pipeable consistency.

To get the two tone effect, put the chocolate icing on one side of your piping bag and the vanilla icing on the other then pipe both out at once.

A note on margarine.  Personally I'm not a fan but I am probably so used to having cakes made with margarine nowadays when I have attempted them with butter there is a greasy texture I am not keen on.  I tend to use a slightly reduced fat margarine as well which still works fine.

On sugar.  I have come round to using caster sugar in my cakes after using granulated sugar for years.  There is a slightly improved result but I do emphasise it is slight.  Granulated sugar gives cakes a slight graininess which isn't unpleasant and certainly when times are tight, it's a good substitute.

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