It’s always a good time to bake a batch of cupcakes, but even more so when it’s for a worthy cause. Here in New Zealand, the SPCA Cupcake Day is an annual fund-raising day in aid of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
I have a real soft spot for the organisation who takes in unwanted and abused animals and who has to rely on community support to keep going. We’ve always adopted our fur babies from the SPCA and feel that, by doing so, we’re giving them a second chance.
Up and down the country, on 14 August, cupcakes are made and sold to the public and this year I decided it was time I got on board.
I didn’t have a lot of time to spare and didn’t want to over-complicate things, so I adapted the Easy Chocolate Cake recipe I’ve previously had great success with, to make a dozen cupcakes.
These gluten-free cupcakes are truly scrumptious (I know this because I bought one to try it out!) – a tender dark chocolate cake with a heavenly chocolate cream cheese icing that’s been whipped into submission and light as air! And, with a sprinkling of rainbow dust over top, they looked as pretty as a picture.
I’m so glad I could make a meaningful contribution – it made the cupcakes all the sweeter! Enjoy!
DARK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING
For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend or you can use all-purpose
- 1.2 oz unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp coffee powder or espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup flavourless vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup boiling water
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing: (Makes 1-1/2 cups icing)
- 4 oz cream cheese (room temp)
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter (room temp)
- 1-1/2 cups icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Chocolate Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Prepare a 12 hole muffin pan by lining with paper cupcake cases.
- Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and espresso powder into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt and sugar and whisk to combine (or use the paddle attachment of your electric mixer).
- In a separate bowl combine milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add to flour mixture and whisk (or beat in the electric mixer on medium speed) until well combined. Carefully add the boiling water and stir (or beat on a low speed) until combined. Once combined, whisk vigorously (or beat on high speed) to add air to the batter for about 1 minute.
- Distribute the cake batter evenly between the cupcake cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer using paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer with a large bowl), beat together the cream cheese with the butter on medium/high speed until creamy (3 min), scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Sift in the icing sugar with the cocoa powder to ensure there are no lumps then add salt. Mix on low speed until well combined, scrape down the bowl well then increase to medium/high speed and beat until smooth and whipped (1 min).
- Add vanilla and beat on medium/high until smooth (about 1 min). If you intend to pipe the icing, do it after making rather than refrigerating as it will set too firmly. If making ahead, take the icing out of the fridge well ahead of time to bring to room temperature.