The A to Z of Baking: M is for Mocha Cupcakes (With a Personalised Edge!)

phonto(2)My partner Steve recently celebrated his last day in his job before moving on to pastures new so to mark the occasion, I offered to bake him some cakes for the whole obligatory ‘take sweet treats in for your colleagues on your last day’ kinda thing. He’s a massive coffee monster (sorry Steve, if you’re reading this, but, well, you are! 😉 ) so I decided to try out a luscious looking mocha cupcakes recipe. Do I need to even say where I found the recipe from?! If you’ve been reading previous posts you’re sure to have guessed it! (I promise my next recipe in the challenge will NOT be from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book, for a change…).

To give these cupcakes a personalised twist for Steve, we decided to have edible cupcake toppers printed with a picture of his face on them. Steve chose the picture and went for one of him at work in his ‘gaffer’s chair’, which has now taken up residency in our new home. I’m sat in it now, playing the ‘gaffer’ as I type this post. I don’t often get chance to sit in the chair, as it’s usually occupied by either Steve or the Cat, but both of them have gone out! Hopefully not together, though…

Anyway I digress. There are plenty of places online where you can have your personalised cupcake toppers printed but I opted for My Cupcake Toppers, who gave a great, speedy service and send you a proof of your toppers via email for your approval before posting them out to you. The image we sent was a low-res image taken on a phone, so it wasn’t fantastic quality but My Cupcake Toppers did a great job with what they had to play with. (I’m not on commission to say that, by the way).

The cupcakes went down a storm in Steve’s office and although the recipe made a HUGE batch (16 in total), he didn’t come home with any spares, so that’s surely a good sign!

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High points

So easy to make, and you get a lot of cupcakes out of this recipe.

Low points

Not too sure, really. The cupcakes don’t look stunning or showstopping by any stretch of the imagination, but they looked personalised enough for the occasion in hand.

For the cupcakes:

  • 240ml milk
  • 15g hot chocolate powder
  • 5g espresso powder
  • 80g soft unsalted butter
  • 280g plain flour
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 2 eggs

For the frosting:

  • 50ml milk
  • 30g hot-chocolate powder
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 160g soft butter


  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees, gas Mark 5. Line a muffin tray with muffin cases.
  • For the sponge, warm the milk without boiling it, then remove from the heat and stir in the coffee and hit chocolate powders until dissolved. Set aside.
  • Using a electric whisk, freestanding mixer or by hand, mix butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. If mixing by hand like I did, cream the butter and sugar first to get an even texture.
  • Break the eggs into a jug, pour in the flavoured milk and whisk together by hand. Pour 3/4 of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Continue mixing in the freestanding mixer or by hand until you have a smooth batter. Add the remaining milk mixture and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Spoon the batter into paper cases to about 2/3 full. Any leftover mixture can be put into extra cases. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy. Take them out and poke a cocktail stick into the centre, if it comes out clean they are done. Leave to cool completely before adding frosting.
  • To make the frosting, warm the milk in a saucepan and add the chocolate powder until well dissolved. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
  • Whisk the icing sugar and the butter with an electric mixer or by hand until the mixture is sandy textured. Whisk in the flavoured milk and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  • Smooth the frosting over the cupcakes with a palette knife, making a swirl in the frosting.

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