In our humble opinion, this is the only cupcake recipe you’ll ever need. We were a bit speechless when Kate brought these cakes into the bakery a month or two into her internship, and convinced her to share the recipe with us. We’ve been making them for special occasions ever since, because they really are very special.
For the cupcakes
white rye flour 125g
baking powder 1 tsp
bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp
fine salt ½ tsp
caster sugar 200g
vegetable oil 135ml
buttermilk 150ml (you can use 100g natural yoghurt and 50ml milk, if you can’t find buttermilk)
egg 1, medium
vanilla extract 1 tsp
cocoa powder 60g
boiling water 120ml
For the orange syrup and candied peel
caster sugar for dredging
For the frosting
cream cheese 50g, at room temperature
unsalted butter 100g, softened
icing sugar 250g
vanilla extract 1 tsp
orange syrup 2 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 160C fan/gas mark 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases or large cupcake cases.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract.
In a third small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and boiling water until it forms a smooth paste. Whisk the chocolate paste into the wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and slowly mix to incorporate – the mixture will be very runny. Evenly fill each paper case with the batter, filling each one no more than two-thirds full.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cakes spring back to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the orange syrup and candied peel. Use a vegetable peeler to pare the orange peel into thin strips of zest, avoiding as much of the white pith as possible. Place the peel in a small saucepan with the honey and water and set over a medium-low heat. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a pale golden syrup. Strain the syrup from the peel, reserving both, and let it cool.
While still warm, cut the peel into long thin strips and toss in caster sugar until well coated. Shake off any excess sugar and set the candied peel on a tray to dry.
To make the icing, place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute until well combined. Add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, mixing between additions. Once it is all combined, beat the icing on a medium speed for a further 1 minute. Add the vanilla and orange syrup and beat again until just mixed in.
To decorate the cupcakes, place an ice-cream scoop of icing directly in the centre of each cake. Take a butter knife and swipe it around the outside edge of the buttercream at a 45-degree angle to the cake, pushing the icing into a shallow mountain. Next, place the knife in the middle of the mound at a 45° angle and turn the cupcake one full turn in the other direction. This should create a nest-like shape of icing. Decorate the tops with the candied peel.