Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade pumpkin cake filled with cosy spiced flavour is both easy and quick to make. Decorated with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and dusted with extra cinnamon, this cake is a quintessential autumn treat. 

Autumn is well and truly here now with the arrival of the cooler weather and darker evenings. We’ve said goodbye to summer and now we’re all looking for comforting, cosy and warming recipes. I’ve already been indulging in lots of my favourite autumnal recipes and I always look forward to the start of a new season.

I love all seasons, but spring/summer are my personal favourites. In summer we’re eating lighter meals that aren’t too heavy, whereas in the autumn and winter months it’s all about devouring (savoury and sweet) pies, stews and indulgent desserts and puddings – I’m certainly not complaining about the last part…

A recipe I think is just perfect for autumn is this pumpkin cake and if you’re a lover of carrot cake then this cake will hit the spot for you! I really enjoy cakes that are full of spices, so much so that I shared this Spice Loaf Cake recipe earlier this year and after sharing that recipe I wanted to make a pumpkin spice traybake for my blog.

Compared to carrot cake this pumpkin version is SO much easier and quicker to prepare, no peeling and grating carrots and best of all it takes a matter of minutes to rustle up and have in your oven baking!

Whilst this cake is scrumptious on its own, my favourite part of this recipe is still the incredible frosting that tops it. For me, no frosting pairs better with pumpkin cake than cream cheese frosting does.

My cream cheese frosting is rich and smooth, it’s not too sweet and pipes wonderfully – this is a recipe I learnt while studying at culinary school and it’s totally fail-proof if you follow the instructions closely and take your time while preparing it.

This truly is one of my family’s favourite cakes, it’s always a huge hit with everyone and goes down a storm (it’s definitely something to do with the amazing cream cheese frosting)! Perfect for an autumn treat, serve the cake at Halloween parties this week, take along to a firework display on Bonfire Night or for any readers celebrating Thanksgiving in the States next month, this could be your showstopper dessert to serve on the special day!

(Serves 12-20)

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Cake:

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

350g caster sugar

240ml vegetable oil

425g (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

100g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

100g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) tin with parchment paper.
  2. To make the cake: In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil and canned pumpkin until well combined. Now over the top of bowl sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and smooth the top over evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake – my cake took around 35 minutes before I was happy with it being baked all the way through. Now leave the cake to cool in the tin completely before preparing the frosting.
  4. To make the cream cheese frosting: Cream the softened butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla and starting on a low speed mix to combine. Continue to cream for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and whisk on high speed for another 1-2 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth. You need to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make sure the frosting reaches the correct consistency.
  6. Decorate the cake as desired, either spread the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting or slice the cake up into pieces and pipe the top of each piece with the frosting.
  7. This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days – without the cream cheese frosting the cake itself will last for up 5 days. We prefer ours chilled and eaten straight from the fridge, but it’s also great served at room temperature.

Similar recipes to try!

Spice Loaf Cake

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Enjoy!

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Butterscotch Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Indulgent homemade cupcakes with butterscotch and caramel flavour in every tasty bite. Each cupcake is individually garnished with a drizzle of caramel and decorated with fudge chunks. 

I’ve baked traditional British sponge cakes for as long as I can remember – it was the first recipe I learnt to bake and I’m the most confident with baking this kind of cake.

I love the classic sponge cake, but what’s really wonderful is how versatile it is. With this new recipe, I’ve revamped a plain sponge cake batter by swapping caster sugar for brown sugar and added a packet of Butterscotch Angel Delight, which is butterscotch flavoured mousse – I don’t mind it served as mousse, but I prefer mine baked into a cake!

One taste of these cupcakes and you’ll be in caramel heaven. Adding butterscotch mousse/pudding to the cupcake batter brings another dimension, but if you can’t find it where you live or just don’t feel like adding it then omit from the recipe. Also, use up some of the leftover caramel/dulce de leche and give your cupcakes a caramel filling.

The cake itself is beautifully airy, light and moist. I topped these cupcakes with caramel buttercream made from four simple ingredients (butter, icing sugar, a pinch of salt and caramel (homemade or readymade). Whilst the caramel buttercream is super delicious, equally a (milk or white) chocolate, cinnamon or vanilla buttercream would be complementary too.

I might just bake these cupcakes again to try out all the different buttercream ideas I suggested!

Surprise any caramel and cupcake lover with this special treat. Trust me, you’ll be baking a second batch of these cupcakes without hesitation!

(Makes 12)

Butterscotch Cupcakes: 

150g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

150g dark or light brown sugar

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

150g self-raising flour, sifted

1 x 59g packet Butterscotch Angel Delight – this is one standard UK packet (optional)

4 tablespoons milk

Caramel Buttercream: 

125g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

350g icing sugar, sifted

Generous pinch of salt

100g caramel or dulce de leche

Method: 

  1. To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake/muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Fold through the flour, butterscotch mousse/pudding (if using) and milk – the cake batter will be quite thick.
  3. Evenly distribute the cupcake batter between the paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen, golden and a cake tester when inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transport them to a wire rack and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.
  4. To make the buttercream: Cream the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy – this should take about 3-5 minutes. Now add the salt and caramel/dulce de leche and continue mixing until they’re incorporated.
  5. Decorate the cupcakes with the buttercream as desired, you can spread the buttercream on with a small palette knife or pipe the buttercream on the cupcakes like I did. Garnish with extra drizzles of caramel/dulce de leche and fudge chunks. I especially love decorating my bakes with Cake Angels Salted Caramel Fudge Pieces or the yummy Zillionaire Sprinkles.

The cupcakes will keep stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

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Ganache Frosted Fudge Brownies

Bake yourself these chocolate fudge brownies frosted with dark chocolate ganache ready for when a chocolate craving hits. These brownies have a delectable truffle-like texture and are dangerously good served with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. 

I’ve taken my go-to Chocolate Fudge Brownies to the next level of deliciousness by covering them in silky smooth chocolate ganache and topping with M&M chocolates (FYI I actually didn’t realise until now that the last two recipes I’ve shared have both contained M&M’s!). Decorate and dress up your batch of brownies as you wish, you can leave them plain or beautify them as much as you want.

As the title describes these brownies are scrumptiously fudgy in texture just like a rich chocolate truffle, so if you’re more into cakey brownies then this recipe might not be what you’re looking for, but that said this brownie recipe has converted even the most chocolate dessert loathing person I know!

I’m a lover of all types of brownies, both cakey and fudge, but these fudge brownies have the edge for me.

This recipe is little more lengthy than other brownie recipes but it’s definitely well worth the wait. I say this because once baked, the brownies will need to be left to set for at least 6 hours, I usually make mine in advance and leave them overnight, then the ganache will need to be left to set at room temperature for an additional couple of hours on top of that.

The brownies are best stored in the fridge and because I baked mine on a really hot day, I found that my ganache took a little longer to set because of the heat and the brownies were very soft (just something to take into account). They’re far easier to slice up into pieces when they’ve been chilled for a while in the fridge, plus once they’ve been in the fridge they go all dense and even yummier in my opinion!

This is the perfect treat yourself brownie – it has tonnes of chocolate flavour and the ganache layer just makes these even more special!

We love these brownies as they are even without the luxurious ganache topping, however I feel the ganache makes these into a restaurant-worthy dessert. My sister and I took the M&M’s off a couple of squares of these brownies and microwaved them for about 20-30 seconds and the brownies went all gooey and reminded us of a molten lava chocolate pudding.

These brownies are an all-round favourite and this recipe will not let you down. Grab your apron and ingredients and get ready to bake up a storm and some of the most sinful brownies you’ll ever taste!

(Makes approx. 16-24 small pieces)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Fudge Brownies:

200g butter (salted or unsalted), cut into small cubes

200g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

3 large free-range eggs

2 large free-range egg yolks

270g caster sugar

115g plain flour

35g cocoa powder

Chocolate Ganache:

200g dark chocolate, cut into 2cm pieces

200ml double cream

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted)

Method:

  1. To make the brownies: Preheat oven to 160°C / 140°C Fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20cm) square tin with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate over a bain-marie or in the microwave in 20-second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Set this mixture aside and leave it to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile whisk the eggs and egg yolks together until combined. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled slightly, add the egg mixture and stir to combine.
  4. In large mixing bowl, mix together the flour and sugar, sift the cocoa powder over the top and mix until thoroughly combined and no lumps of flour remain.
  5. Now add the chocolate mixture and stir until combined, try not to over mix otherwise this may result in your baked brownies being tough. Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake the brownies for 40-45 minutes, they’ll be ready when they’re risen, the top has started to slightly crack and a cake tester when inserted into the centre comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
  6. Leave the brownies to cool completely in the tin, then once cooled leave them to set for at least 6 hours or overnight for best results.
  7. To make the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Heat the cream and golden syrup in a small saucepan until bubbles just begin to appear on the surface and just before it starts to come up to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until mostly melted. Now add the butter and continue to stir until smooth. Directly place a piece of clingfilm on the top of the ganache and leave it at room temperature for about two hours until spreadable.
  8. Every spread the ganache on top of the now cooled brownie and further decorate as you desire – I decorated mine with M&M chocolates, at this point I highly recommend chilling the brownies for a bit before slicing.
  9. When ready to serve, slice the brownies into 16-24 squares – because of the ganache layer you might want to cut the pieces a little smaller as these brownies are very rich. Brownies will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to a week.

Recipe Notes:

  • My oven is fan assisted and even though the recipe states to bake the brownies at 140°C Fan, I’ve always baked mine at 160°C Fan instead to ensure they’re not too undercooked.
  • Serve the brownies as they are or with ice cream, pouring or whipped cream and fruit. I like to serve my brownies with fruit, because it cuts through the richness of the brownie.
  • Usually I would say this brownie (without the ganache) serves about 16, however with the ganache layer they’re even more decadent so I reckon you could slice the brownies into 24 smaller pieces.

Enjoy!

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Naturally coloured and flavoured strawberry buttercream made with freeze-dried strawberries. Your summer isn’t complete without a taste of these cupcakes! 

Recipe originally shared July 2015, updated June 2017. 

Fruit based buttercream is a summer favourite of mine and the yummy addition of freeze-dried strawberries creates the beautiful pink colour in this buttercream recipe I’m sharing with you. I’m personally not really into unnaturally coloured foods so often when I want to make a buttercream that’s coloured, I’d rather look for alternative ways of naturally colouring mine.

This recipe is based on a classic buttercream recipe except freeze-dried strawberries are ground to fine powder in a food processor and then the strawberry powder is incorporated into the buttercream. Incorporating freeze-dried strawberries into buttercream adds amazing natural strawberry flavour and it also tints the buttercream a faint pink colour.

To allow this strawberry buttercream to be the star of show I sat it atop a basic vanilla cupcake. Strawberry and vanilla happen to be my two favourite flavours, so combing the two had to happen sometime! My vanilla cupcake recipe is easy to make as it doesn’t require any out of the ordinary ingredients such as buttermilk or yoghurt, which are ingredients you might not happen to have in your kitchen. This vanilla cupcake recipe however uses your everyday baking store cupboard essentials such as butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour.

You might be wondering about why I choose to use freeze-dried opposed to fresh strawberries? Fresh fruit is great to use in some buttercream recipes, but strawberries in particular have a high water content so using fresh could produce a runny buttercream that’s impossible to pipe. The fruit and moisture levels are more concentrated in freeze-dried fruit compared to fresh, so when following this recipe you won’t have to be concerned that your buttercream will curdle or won’t be able to be piped.

What better way to celebrate summer and the strawberry season than with these cupcakes! They’ll be a hit at summer picnics, parties or barbecues or even served as part of an al fresco afternoon tea.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes:

150g (2/3 cup) butter, softened

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

3 medium or large free range eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150g (1 and 1/4 cups) self-raising flour, sifted – you can sub with 150g plain flour plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

Strawberry Buttercream: 

170g (3/4 cup) butter, at room temperature

12g (1 cup) freeze-dried strawberries

2 tablespoons double cream (heavy cream), chilled

230g (2 cups) icing sugar, sifted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to  180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. To make the cupcakes: Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one along with the vanilla and mix to combine. Using a spatula or large metal spoon, gently fold in the flour and mix until just combined and no lumps of flour remain. Be gentle and try to not over mix the batter.
  3.  Now evenly distribute the cupcake batter among the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 minutes until the cupcakes are a light golden colour and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove from the tin and transport the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the buttercream: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on a medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and using a spatula scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, continue to mix the butter for a further 3 minutes until it’s creamy and pale. In a food processor pulverise the freeze-dried strawberries until finely ground (wait for a moment to allow the air in the powder to settle). Add the strawberry powder to the creamed butter and stir through until combined. Now add the cream along with the icing sugar and again mix until incorporated. Whip the buttercream on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes, then stop the mixer and scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue to mix for another 2 minutes.
  5. Fit a large disposable piping bag with a piping tip. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream and decorate the cupcakes as desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • Butter will need to be at room temperature for both the cupcake and buttercream recipes. Take butter out from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour. You’ll know your butter is ready to start baking with if when you press your finger gently into the butter it leaves an indentation. Either salted or unsalted butter can be used, typically I always use unsalted, but this time I used salted and it worked just as well.
  • Please note humidity can affect the outcome of your buttercream. The best way of avoiding your buttercream curdling is making sure your butter isn’t too soft (follow my tip above when softening butter).
  • Freeze-dried fruit can usually be located down the baking aisle of most supermarkets or sometimes, they can also be found in some specialist bakeware shops, but if you’ve had no luck looking in store you can order over the internet.
  • If you don’t own a food processor you can crush the freeze-dried strawberries in a resealable bag using a rolling pin until they’ve reached a fine powdery consistency.
  • Cupcakes will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If it’s humid where you live I’d recommend storing these cupcakes in the fridge and when ready to serve take the number of desired cupcakes out and allow them to sit a room temperature for a few minutes.

Enjoy!

jess

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Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

 Moist carrot cupcakes topped with a luscious and tangy cream cheese frosting. 

carrot-cupcakes

I first shared these cupcakes a few years ago on my blog back in 2014, it will be nearly three years since the recipe was first published and I still enjoy these just as much as I did the first time round. The older recipe deserved an update and I’ve decided to share it again with brand new photographs. Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes and if I had to I would definitely pick carrot cake over a slice of chocolate cake any day!

Easter is nearing closer so these cupcakes I am revisiting today will be the ideal recipe to celebrate the occasion with.

The addition of spices in carrot cake is an absolute must and I can’t even contemplate a carrot cake/cupcake without cinnamon added. Along with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon I also like to add a full teaspoon of mixed spice as well. Mixed spice is another spice popular in many Easter bakes, it’s the British equivalent to pumpkin pie spice and it’s frequently used in many of our traditional recipes such as hot cross buns and teacakes.

carrot-cream-cheese-cupcakes

I wish I could tell you that these carrot cupcakes are healthy because they contain vegetables but unfortunately they’re not! Carrots and other vegetables such as courgette/zucchini are a popular addition in many savoury and sweet recipes. They add moistness and I like to put quite a lot of grated carrot into my cupcakes, this is so I can ensure that there’s carrot in each and every bite. There’s nothing more disappointing than taking a bite from a carrot cake/cupcake and not being able to taste any carrot!

To decorate I decided to top the cupcakes with a classic cream cheese frosting. I’ve trialled several different cream cheese frosting recipes and I’ve found this one to be the best as it holds its shape when piped and really compliments the flavour of the cupcakes.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Carrot Cupcakes:

175g light brown sugar

200g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

Zest from 1 large orange

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

150ml sunflower or vegetable oil

200g (approx. 2 large) carrots, peeled and grated – weigh to ensure this is correct

65g chopped walnuts, plus extra for decoration

Cream Cheese Frosting:

60g unsalted butter, softened

200g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

400g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

1.  To make the cupcakes: Preheat your oven 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-hole cupcake or muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl stir together the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and the orange zest.

2. In another smaller bowl or jug whisk together the eggs and oil until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry along with the grated carrot and walnuts and stir until completely combined. Evenly divide the batter between the paper cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining – mine took the full amount of time to bake. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transport them to a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

3. To make the frosting: Cream the softened butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla and starting on a low speed mix to combine. Continue to cream for 5 minutes or until really pale in colour – stop the mixer halfway through to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

4. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and whisk on high speed for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth. You need to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make sure the frosting reaches the correct consistency.

5. Decorate the cupcakes as desired by piping or spreading the frosting onto each cupcake. Further decoration is optional, I chose to top each cupcake with extra chopped walnuts and a carrot made from royal icing. The carrot decorations can be purchased from most major supermarkets or online but just be sure to decorate just prior to serving. Cupcakes will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • To adapt the recipe into cup measurements please see my conversion tables page for help.
  • You can adjust the amount of spice or play around by adding different spices to these cupcakes. If you can’t find mixed spice where you live you can substitute it with pumpkin pie spice or alternatively use a different combination of spices.
  • Adding walnuts to the batter is optional. If you want you can leave them out entirely or swap them for pecans, raisins or desiccated/shredded coconut.
  • Leave the cream cheese out at room temperature for an hour prior to making the frosting. The cream cheese needs to be soft to ensure the frosting is smooth and all the ingredients incorporate completely.
  • Don’t add any additional icing sugar to the frosting as this will make your cream cheese frosting too runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. To get perfect cream cheese frosting my best tip is to measure your ingredients accurately using the metric system for the perfect results every time.
  • If you want you can chill the cream cheese frosting in the fridge for an hour before frosting the cupcakes, I sometimes do this if the weather is particularly humid.
  • The way you choose to decorate these cupcakes is totally up to you. When I shared the recipe the first time round instead of decorating the cupcakes with chopped walnuts as I did this time I sprinkled the tops with coconut and dusted a few of the cupcakes with cinnamon.

carrot-cake-cupcakes-recipe

Enjoy!

jess

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Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Spiced apple cupcakes with caramel buttercream. A quintessential autumn treat in cupcake form! 

cupcakes-with-caramel-and-apple

I swear this year has been a complete blur and I just haven’t been able to keep up. I feel like it was only yesterday I was finishing my culinary diploma and straight after that I went on summer holiday. It’s Halloween today, later this week it’s Bonfire Night and very soon after that we will be celebrating Christmas. I’ve already had my taste testers reviewing some recipes I am hoping to share on the blog in time for Christmas. I can’t help myself as Christmas is my favourite time of year with all the sparkly lights and festive food, it’s just a fun and magical time spent with the closest people in my life.

On my last blog post, I spoke about how much I crave summer and warm weather, however I do still enjoy autumn. With cooler and shorter days, the crisp and chilly weather is a great excuse to have a cosy day in front of the TV watching way too many episodes of your favourite box set, sitting back and relaxing with a film and a giant bowl of popcorn or dedicating an entire afternoon to do some baking.

Recently I’ve been enjoying embracing autumn with bakes that combine cosy, warm spices. So today I’ve turned a quintessential autumnal treat into cupcake form. It’s no lie that I like baking cupcakes. I say like, but it’s more like love.

apple-cupcakes

These apple cupcakes are not only fun to bake, but also delicious to make when you’re feeling in need of an indulgent treat. Best of all this recipe includes fruit, so technically these cupcakes are kind of healthy?

The cake itself isn’t too overly sweet, so the caramel buttercream enhances it perfectly. These cupcakes aren’t like the usual cupcakes I tend to make as they have more of a denser muffin-like texture opposed to a buttery, fluffy cupcake. However, they are still delicious and successfully incorporate the taste of apple and subtly warming spice flavour from cinnamon and ginger in each bite. The flavour and texture of the cupcakes is best on the day of baking, but they will keep at room temperature for a few days – we all agreed that the cupcakes were just as tasty, if not tastier after a couple of days.

To decorate the cupcakes I wanted to pick a buttercream flavour that complimented the apple. When considering ideas, caramel buttercream sprung straight to mind, so I stuck with that idea.

This caramel buttercream is made with a smaller quantity of butter, but as caramel/dulce de leche changes the consistency of buttercream, I like to add just a touch extra icing sugar to make sure it was thick enough and would hold peaks when piped. The buttercream requires only three ingredients, plus one extra if you decide to add a pinch of salt like I did. For me, just the smallish pinch of salt evens out the sweetness.

You know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well I’m thinking more along the lines of a cupcake a day keeps the doctor away! I’m not sure about you, but I like that logic!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Apple Cupcakes:

175g (1 and 1/4 cups) plain/all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

200g (1 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1 large free-range egg, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

90ml (6 tablespoons) buttermilk, at room temperature

2 medium apples (approx. 1 and 1/2 cups), peeled, cored and grated

Caramel Buttercream:

150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened

375g (2 and 1/3 cups) icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

100g (3.5 ounces) caramel or dulce de leche

Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases.
  2. To make the cupcakes: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices until thoroughly combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix for a further minute until incorporated.
  4. Add the buttermilk along with half the flour ingredients and mix until a few lumps of flour remain. Add the remaining flour and fold to combine. Finally, fold through the grated apple.
  5. Evenly divide the cupcake batter between the paper cases, fill each cupcake case about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are risen and are starting to take on a golden shade. Check the cupcakes are baked all the way through by inserting a cake tester into the centre, if it comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining then the cupcakes are ready.
  6. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then carefully transport to a wire rack. Leave the cupcakes to cool completely to room temperature.
  7. To make the buttercream: Place the softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter for 2 minutes until smooth and pale. Add the sifted icing sugar in two batches and beat until combined. Cream on medium speed for 5 minutes, stopping the mixer halfway though and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure everything gets combined. Finally, add the caramel and a generous pinch of salt and continue mixing for another minute.
  8. Fill a large disposable piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the buttercream. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and finish by decorating with a drizzle of caramel and some fudge chunks if desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used cox apples to make these, however you can use braeban, bramley, gala or granny smith. You want to go for a relatively juicy apple, but not too juicy as this will affect the texture of the cupcakes and they may not bake correctly.
  • If you want you can dice the apple instead of grating/shredding it. Just be sure to cut the apple up into a small dice.
  • Buttermilk needs to be at room temperature. Leave the buttermilk out for at least an hour prior to baking the cupcakes.
  • If you don’t want to get too fancy you can decorate the cupcakes by spreading the buttercream on rather than piping it if you’re not confident enough.
  • Omit the spices if you’re not a fan.
  • Decorating is optional, we loved the extra caramel drizzle on each cupcake and the fudge chunks. You could definitely be decorate these in many different ways, so have some fun and get creative!
  • Recipe can easily be doubled to make 24 cupcakes if you’re wanting to make a bigger batch.
  • Cupcakes will store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cupcake recipe from Chowhound

apple-cupcakes-with-caramel-buttercream

Enjoy!

jess

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Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcakes with creamy, luscious white chocolate buttercream. These are for chocolate lovers only! 

white-chocolate-buttercream

It is National Chocolate Week. This is one of the UK’s biggest chocolate events and I don’t know about you, but I’ll take pretty much any excuse to eat chocolate. To celebrate I baked cupcakes, not just any cupcakes, divine dark chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream.

If you’re a chocoholic just like me, then these scrumptious cupcakes will definitely be right up your street!

The recipe starts with Cook’s Illustrated ultimate chocolate cupcakes, a recipe I cannot stop raving about it. With rich chocolate flavour, each cake is gloriously fluffy and will just melt in your mouth. There’s no denying that this is my favourite chocolate cupcake and I’m sure it will soon become yours too. The cupcakes also have the perfect flat top and that means you can decorate each cupcake with a nice, generous swirl of buttercream. I have tried many chocolate cupcake recipes, all of which had claimed to the best, but it was Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe that ticked all the boxes for my taste testers and myself.

It wouldn’t be a cupcake without the buttercream after all. A creamy, luscious white chocolate buttercream sits atop a seriously fudgy and moist chocolate cupcake.

To make the buttercream, start by creaming your butter for a few minutes. You’ll want to have left your butter out overnight to ensure it’s really soft. Bear in mind the softer your butter is, the airer and lighter your buttercream will be. Once you’ve whipped your butter add the sifted icing sugar (in two batches) and slowly combine into the butter to avoid a sugar cloud and icing sugar going flying everywhere! Add the vanilla and continue to whip the butter and icing sugar together for an additional five minutes until the buttercream is really fluffy and light. Finally add the melted white chocolate and the cream or milk and try your very hardest to resist eating spoonful after spoonful…

chocolate-cupcakes-with-white-chocolate-frosting

I wasn’t successful resisting eating the buttercream before icing the cupcakes. Yes, maybe I did eat a couple of spoonfuls, but who can blame me because homemade buttercream is addictive!

And the finished cupcakes? It was love at first bite. I did however refrain myself from eating cupcake after cupcake by giving the majority of the cupcakes away to my good friends and a few family members. Anyhow, I know another batch will definitely be happening in the near future!

I’ve listed some tips in my recipe notes, those can be found just below the ingredients and method. Hopefully you’ll find them helpful and enjoy the cupcakes!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:

85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped

40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder (optional)

180ml (3/4 cup) boiling water

105g (3/4 cup) bread flour (can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour)

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Buttercream: 

225g (1 cup) salted butter, softened

250g (2 and 1/2 cups) icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

175g (6 ounces) white chocolate

60ml (4 tablespoons) double cream or milk

Method:

  1. To make the cupcakes: Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee granules/powder (if using) in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda until thoroughly combined. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the now cooled chocolate mixture. Finally, add the dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the batter between the paper cases – I find using an ice cream scoop best for doing this as it makes less mess. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the frosting: Melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie or in a microwave in 20 second intervals. Leave to cool. As the chocolate cools, cream the butter for about a minute or two to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar in two batches along with the vanilla and beat for another 5 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and light. Mix in the melted chocolate followed by the cream/milk.
  5. Decorate the cupcakes as desired. They’ll keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, I guarantee you these cupcakes won’t last that long!

Recipe Notes:

  • I highly recommend using caster/superfine sugar when making these cupcakes. If you only have granulated sugar on hand, you can blitz it in a food processor for a few seconds to make it superfine.
  • Adding a teaspoon of instant coffee granules or powder adds to the intense chocolate taste. If you’re not a fan of mocha flavour, then just leave the coffee out of the recipe as it will work fine without.
  • For this buttercream I prefer to use salted butter rather than unsalted. This is because the white chocolate is very sweet, if you want you can use unsalted butter, but you might want to add a pinch or two of salt to the buttercream as you mix it.
  • You’ll need to use pure white chocolate and the best quality you can afford. Don’t substitute with white chocolate chips as they have stabilisers added and that will affect the texture of your buttercream.
  • I prefer to use double/heavy cream in my buttercream rather than milk. Cream will make a creamier, fluffier and richer textured buttercream.
  • Decoration is totally up to you, I decorated my cupcakes with triple chocolate curls which I purchased at my local supermarket. I also think decorating with milk or white chocolate buttons, chocolate shavings or sprinkles would look lovely.
  • To decorate these cupcakes I used a large closed star tip. It’s my favourite piping nozzle and makes the buttercream look like a Mr Whippy (soft serve) ice cream.
  • This recipe makes enough buttercream to generously ice 12 standard sized cupcakes. I did have a little buttercream left over, so you’re not a fan of too much buttercream then I would half the recipe.

chocolate-cupcakes-white-chocolate-buttercream-recipe

Are you a fan of white chocolate and want more cupcake recipes?

Make my Biscoff Cookie Butter Cupcakes next!

cupcake biscoff

Enjoy!

jess

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