Lemon and Chocolate Cupcakes with the Ultimate frosting

(Crushed Baby Bird Cupcakes + Mud and Clot Cupcakes)

handful of the loveliest horrors!

Admittedly I pushed things a tad far with the names of the Halloween goodies, but when you know that the lemon curd in the centre of the lemon cupcakes, is meant to represent the crushed baby birds, I’m sure you’ll agree that I’m 1. evil and sadistic and 2. rather very clever! Well, at least the last. I hope.

I’m particularly proud of the frostings-the zingy lemon frosting has lemon rind and a dash of limoncello and the chocolate frosting is melt in your mouth heavenly.

Confession time. I used premix vanilla and chocolate cupcake mixes, though there isn’t much more energy expended in sifting flour and baking powder together and creaming sugar with the eggs. I must have had clearly set out reasons for purchasing the premix bags at the time.

Of course, these wouldn’t be special without a few secret additions

Lemon Cupcakes

To 400g vanilla premix, I added 2 extra large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla essence (not extract- too over powering for this recipe), 200 ml milk, 50 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1tsp lemon extract (optional) and I beat till light and frothy (4 minutes with electric beater).

Add a teaspoon of lemon curd to centres and add a little more batter to cover the curd.

Bake for 15minutes, at 180 degrees Celsius, until a skewer poked through the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool.

Lemon Frosting to end all frosting


300ml icing sugar, sifted
70g butter, softened
30ml limoncello
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
grated rind of 1 lemon
1tsp lemon extract (optional)


Cream sugar and butter with electric beater (or by hand if you’d like to justify the eating after), until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolk and remainder of ingredients. Beat until smooth and well mixed.
It will be almost impossible not to have a taste.
Frost cooled cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes

The secret to the chocolate cupcakes lies in adding 30ml of good quality cacao, to which a little hot water is added to make a paste, to the premix (or 65ml cacao, mixed with hot water to form a paste to flour, baking powder and sugar if you’re making them from scratch), as well as 1 tsp vanilla essence to the 2 eggs and 200ml milk. Add dried cherries (soaked for a few hours or overnight in warmed dessert wine) to the centres, as I did with the curd above and cover with a little more batter.
Method as above.

Chocolate Mousse Icing

300ml icing sugar, sifted
80 g butter, softened
40 ml cacao, mixed to a paste with a little boiled water
1 egg yolk
5ml vanilla essence

Make as you would the lemon frosting. You will end up with a chocolate icing with a mouse like texture, that doesn’t harden- perfect for cakes and other desserts as well. I’m absolutely smitten with it!

halloween cupcakes edited on picnik

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