Last Thursday night, I had to make a quick batch of chocolate cupcakes for a cake stall at my son’s school on Friday morning. After a swimming lesson and a trip to the shops, it was past six o’clock before we got home and I started dinner. My son had requested chocolate cupcakes so I searched the internet for a recipe but couldn’t find anything that struck my fancy. Then I remembered this recipe from Vogue Entertaining for a chocolate layer cake that I always used to make cupcakes. This recipe came with the added plus that once I searched through the chaos of my pantry, I had all the ingredients on hand.
Because it is an Australian recipe, it’s not quite as sweet as American cupcakes and they have a nice tang and silky texture from the buttermilk. My stand mixer has recently bitten the dust so I used my el cheapo hand mixer and it all came together very easily. Then there’s the icing which has a nice depth flavour with addition of cream and brown sugar. In actual fact, these were pretty awesome – which made me wonder why I ever stopped making them in the first place. So, in the public interest, for all those who need to pull together something quickly for a school cake stall, here is the recipe.
Chocolate buttermilk cupcakes
From Vogue Entertaining, August/September 1997
Makes 2 x 22 cm cakes or 24 large cupcakes
- 250 grams soft butter (or if you are using American cup measurements, 2 sticks of butter)
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk (or regular milk soured with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice)
- ½ cup cocoa
- 2½ cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- a pinch of salt
- 60 grams butter (2 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons of pure cream
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 3½ tablespoons of sifted icing sugar
- a pinch of salt
- a little boiling water
To make the cake:
- Grease and line cake tins, if using, and pre-heat oven to 180°C or 160°C, fan forced.
- Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Gradually add in buttermilk until mixture is smooth.
- Sift all dry ingredients together and on a slow speed, fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just smooth.
- Spoon the mixture into prepared tins or into large cupcake tins (about 2/3 full).
- Cook in the centre of the oven for about about 40–45 minutes for large cakes, and about 20–25 minutes for the cupcakes, until a skewer comes out clean from the centre.
- Turn cakes onto racks to cool.
To make icing:
- Heat butter, cream, cocoa, brown sugar and cocoa in a small saucepan over a low heat, until the mixture is smooth, but not hot, and sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- Add butter and cocoa mixture to sugar with salt, and beat until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add boiling water, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired thickness.
- Ice cakes (if the icing becomes too thick, add more boiling water), leave to set and store in an airtight container until required.