Tag Archives: frosting

Marbled Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

10 Mar

I like to think of myself as quite a savvy individual. I mean, I know how to use chopsticks, I can hail a cab, I know which end of a chicken the eggs come out from. Yet apparently I wasn’t always so streetwise.

The scene: My first trip to the British Museum upon arriving in London as an undergraduate.

The objective: To see The Elgin Marbles.

The faux pas: I spent a great deal of time striding past some big, flattish statues hanging on the museum wall while I searched for the cabinet containing what I could only imagine to be a bag of marbles I assumed had once belonged to Elgin.

Did I question why Elgin’s bag of marbles was so impressive? Or indeed why it needed a a gallery all to itself? No, I did not. Thank goodness I went on to do an English degree that taught me about homonyms.

This is a cautionary tale: Today’s cupcakes are also homonymonous – what with them being marbled (the result of combining white and dark chocolate cake mixtures). To avoid further confusion,  the finished product may be referred to as The Hudson Marbles.

This recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.


For the dark mud cake

85g butter, chopped

75 g dark eating chocolate, chopped

2/3 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup self-raising flour

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 egg

For the white mud cake

85g butter, chopped

75 g white eating chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup milk

2/3 cup plain flour

1/4 cup self-raising flour

1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 160 oC. Grease two six-hole large muffin pans.

2. Make dark mud cake by combining butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in medium saucepan over low heat until melted. Transfer to medium bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in sifted flours and cocoa, then egg.

3. Make white mud cake by combining butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in medium saucepan over low heat until melted. Transfer to medium bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Whisk in sifted flours, then egg.

4. Drop alternate spoonfuls of the mixture into pan holes. Pull skewer back and forth through cake mixture for a marbled effect. Bake about 30 minutes; allow to cool.

Lovely lovely white chocolate…

… Which then gets melted with butter, sugar and milk into this vaguely disgusting puddle.

Do the same with the dark chocolate.

I’d get that seen by a doctor actually.

Meanwhile, build Hamburger Hill from cocoa powder and flour.

When you’ve finished melting your chocolate-mixes, you should have two bowls, like so.

Now, I thought I would conduct a small experiment with these cakes *stifles maniacal cackle*. I wanted to know what difference could be made by not using cases like I usually do. The holes on the far right have been greased with vegetable oil.

Mmm, greasy.

For the chocolate cake, add the dry ingredients to the bowl of melted chocolate.

Add an egg to make it stiff and glossy.

Once you’ve done the same with the white chocolate, you should have two bowls like this.

Experimental case-filling. For some I’ve started filling with white choc, before topping up with dark. And vice versa.

To get the marbled effect, use a skewer (I used a chopstick) to drag the mixture around inside the case.

When I lived in China I used chopsticks every day for every meal – including the homesick tuna pasta I was able to cobble together in my apartment. Since I’ve been back in the UK, this is the only time I’ve had a use for them (well, one of them).

They remind me a little of these beauties:

Fresh from the oven, you can see some have worked better than others. The cakes on the left are caseless, and are probably the best. On the whole they all look pretty neat.

The white chocolate with the dark on top seems to have worked best – or at least resulted in the most impressive appearance.

This is one of the caseless cakes. Thanks to lashing of vegetable oil, it came out of the tin perfectly. Result!

The swirls on the top keep it looking interesting.

And it’s worked rather nicely inside too.

The cakes with no cases are slightly smaller than the rest. Perfect for snack time!

It’s almost a shame to hide the marbled effect under some frosting. But not enough of a shame to stop me doing it.

Besides, if the top is frosted, you can surprise people when they bite into it. Like the 21st century equivalent of hiding a sixpence in a plum pudding – but without the fear of your guest breaking a tooth – followed by some no-win-no-fee litigation.

I used a simple chocolate buttercream frosting recipe and applied it with a palette knife. I was given this palette knife as part of a job-lot from my lovely mum when I went to university. Now I’ve finally found a use for it!

A generous donation



Scrumptious. It’s basically the sanctioned eating-of-two-cakes-at-once. Winning!

Recipe pros:

Because of the two colours, it produces a more interesting cake than usual. The flavour is quite rich and sweet – and doesn’t use too much flour.

Recipe cons:

Reading through the recipe beforehand, there seemed to be a lot of stages. However, once I got started, it was all very simple. You’ll need two clean saucepans and two clean (big-ish) bowls – so there’s more washing-up than usual.

End Note: While searching for pictures of marbles, I came across this beguiling movie poster:

I have no idea what it’s about, considering there’s no blurb no blurb in English on IMDB. Marbles, I would have to assume.

I don’t know if you can quite make it out,  but inside those two marbles are a swastika and a Star of David. Goodness knows what that means. The kids certainly don’t look too worried. It’s all gallic good-naturedness. Probably.

Better not let the Daily Mail get hold of this – they’ll only use it as an opportunity to try and ban school French-exchanges or something.


And people will say… “Listen, I just came to this blog to read about cake and enjoy your light-hearted attempts at humour, and now I find things have taken a very confusing and unsettling turn. Let’s have less of this next time around, thank you very much.”

So there we have it. No good can come of marbles – Elgin’s, French, or otherwise. Unless of course you’re cramming them into your mouth in cake form.


Chocolate Zucchini Love Cake

27 Feb

Reason to hate the recession #232: The rise of the SAHG (or Stay At Home Girlfriend). The author of the linked article talks about how, since losing her job, she has thrown herself into becoming a better girlfriend to her partner, and provides tips for emulating her new lifestyle. These include Don’t Sleep In, Keep the House Clean, and Keep Yourself Up.

Aaand back in the real world, I have mostly been wearing… Pajama bottoms!

No, I’m just kidding! (Because they shrunk in the wash.) #domesticityfail.

But it looks like I can’t escape the curse of the SAHG. For Valentine’s Day I made a cake, like the sad-sack little stay-at-home woman I am. And worst of all? It’s a LOVE cake. Shaped like a heart. I feel like Sonja from I’m Alan Partridge with her Scatter Love Cushions.

This recipe is adapted from Noble Pig.

Demonstrating my commitment to the love cake, I bought a heart-shaped silicone cake mould. It’s super fun to play with and apparently doesn’t need greasing.

Here are the zucchinis (or “courgettes” to les rosbifs like you and me).

(Sung to the tune of Sailor’s Hornpipe)

“Pop a courgette in your mouth, just before you make the dough/

What they’re made of is a mystery, where they come from no one knows./

You can pick ’em, you can lick ’em, you can chew ’em, you can stick ’em/

If you promise not to sue us, you can shove one up your nose.”

(A prize if you know where those lyrics originally came from.)

Artisan courgette.

Like the circles that you find in the windows of your mind.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Two scoops of butter. Like two hearts beating as one.

Her eyes were like [blank] holes in the snow. (Actually, it’s vanilla extract.)

Nothing says I love you more than a bald orange.

Mixing the wet ingredients with the dry.

Add chopped walnuts, orange peel and courgette.

This is a really strange combination, but I like it.

Put half of the mixture into the mould. Remember – no greasing required!

Now time to enjoy some half-time oranges. It’s a cake of two halves boys.

Alas, disaster strikes! The non-stick silicone mould hasn’t lived up to the hype. Most of the cake comes out, but some is still left in the case…

… Looking a little bit like a freshly dug turf.

Still, what’s that expression about making lemonade when life hands you lemons? The cake scrapings provided ample nourishment as I continued the arduous cake-making process.

For the other half of the cake, I greased the mould with a tiny amount of vegetable oil.

As you can see, this worked much much better.

What a difference it makes. They’re like the brothers from The Man in the Iron Mask – if one of them was hideously disfigured. (I can’t quite remember if that’s what happens in the movie).

Mixing up a batch of cream cheese frosting.

With a LOT of this bad boy.

This is the bottom layer cake, with a layer of frosting.

And here is the finished article: two layers of cake sandwiched with frosting and topped with even more frosting! I’ll tell you something – it wasn’t easy to spread, especially because I was working with that crumbly bit of cake. I should have watched this (incredibly comprehensive) frosting tutorial first.

It’s far from perfect. But it’s choc-full of love (and courgette. And chocolate).

And cream. So much cream.



Interesting in a good way. It has a very rich chocolately flavour, but with a slight earthiness. It’s quite a dense cake, so the cream cheese frosting provides a nice sharp counterpoint. Between two of us we could only manage a tiny proportion of the whole cake in one sitting.

Recipe pros:

It’s certainly different. Pete looked at me like I’d gone mad when I told him there were green vegetables in it. So that’s a plus.

Recipe cons:

It look way longer to cook than stated in the original recipe. Perhaps that’s due to the silicone mould. On the whole, it was quite a long process, but then this was a labour of love.

POST SCRIPT: Tragedy struck this cake on 15 February. Somebody (pointing no fingers, Peter) forgot to store it in a tin overnight, and by morning the cream cheese frosting had started to develop sweaty grease-beads. And so it was binned.

Truly a Romeo and Juliet tale for our times.