Spring is officially here. Why not celebrate with chocolate nest cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and chocolate eggs? (Unless you’ve given up chocolate for Lent, in which case I apologise. Perhaps save this recipe to use in a few weeks’ time?)
In my family this recipe is known as “THE” chocolate cake recipe. I think my Mum found it ages ago in a copy of Good Housekeeping. The oil and golden syrup in the recipe makes the chocolate cake dense, moist and close to a fudge cake.
I made a large sandwich cake version of this recipe last year with Cadbury’s mini eggs – you can check that out here.
As these chocolate cupcakes are smaller, I used “micro” chocolate eggs this time (yes, that’s what they were called on the packet).
This is a great recipe if you don’t have the luxury of an electric mixer to help you. As long as you sift the dry ingredients, it’ll all very easy to stir by hand without having to worry about lumps.
Ingredients (makes 18-24 chocolate cupcakes)
- 10 oz / 280 g self-raising flour
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 6 oz / 170 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 0.5 pints / 280 ml / 3.4 fl oz vegetable oil (sunflower oil or any of your choice).
0.25 pints / 140 ml of milk (I used full fat)
3 tbsp golden syrup
0.5 tsp vanilla essence
For the buttercream:
- 125 g / 4.5 oz icing sugar
- 65 g / 2.25 oz butter
- 25 g / 1 oz dark chocolate
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (160 fan)/ Gas Mark 4 / 350 degrees F. Put your cupcake cases into your baking trays. I managed to get 18 “decent-sized” chocolate cupcakes from the mixture. If you prefer your cupcakes smaller, you can divide the mixture between 24 cases.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the sugar.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour in the milk and add the bicarbonate of soda. Add the syrup, oil and vanilla. Beat until mixed well. Make sure you scrape down to the bottom of the bowl so you don’t miss any sneaky pockets of flour.
Pour the mixture into your cupcake cases:
Bake for 25-30 minutes until a knife or skewer inserted into the middle of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Take the chocolate cupcakes out of the oven and leave to cool in the baking trays for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Begin by cutting shallow circles out of the top of your chocolate cupcakes to create holes for the nests. In this case, a picture is far more illuminating than an explanation:
Feel free to scoff the bits you’ve cut out! 🙂
Now make the chocolate buttercream. I mixed 65 g / 2.25 oz butter with 125 g / 4.5 oz icing sugar. Once this basic buttercream mixture is smooth, add melted dark chocolate. I melted 25 g / 1 oz dark chocolate. I chopped the dark chocolate into small pieces and melted it in the microwave, giving it a minute, stirring, then additional 20-second bursts until it was all melted. You can, of course, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Leave the chocolate to cool slightly before adding to the basic buttercream mix. I added a dessertspoonful of the melted chocolate at a time, stirring it through until it was fully incorporated and I had the colour and consistency of buttercream I wanted. If you do add too much melted chocolate and it leaves the buttercream too runny, add a little more icing sugar until you get the thicker consistency you want.
You can pipe the chocolate buttercream into the nests, but you can also use a knife and then a small fork to make the buttercream look “rough” and more like a nest!
Finally add the chocolate eggs to your chocolate nest cupcakes!
These chocolate nest cupcakes are best eaten within three days of baking. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Appreciated by children of all ages! And if you need an idea for a children’s party or school bake sale, this is perfect.
If you’re looking for other chocolate cake recipes, you could try:
Easter double layer chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and mini eggs.
My chocolate fudge cake with chocolate buttercream rosettes.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul