Sunflowers always remind me of my childhood and growing them in the summer in the hopes that they turn into towering beauties. My dad and sister have been growing sunflowers this year and sharing the growth updates on our family whatsapp group. So I thought I’d get involved…though without the green thumb 😉 Sunflower cupcakes are much more my style!
The cupcakes themselves are my go-to chocolate recipe. They’re so quick and easy to whip up, and taste divine. Really light, moist and perfectly chocolatey. I always whip this recipe up by hand, no mixer in sight. I do love recipes like that, it reminds me of when I first started baking and didn’t really have any equipment. And it means less washing up, which with baking is alwaysss a plus!
The buttercream is also a classic recipe – nothing too fancy in these sunflower cupcakes, but that doesn’t mean they’re anything but delicious! Icing sugar, butter and a generous teaspoon of vanilla extract makes a great buttercream. But what you absolutely must do, is whip the buttercream with an electric hand whisk (you could do this by hand, but honestly it will take so long!) until its very light and paler in colour. Honestly, this is what really elevates your buttercream and will make your cupcakes so delicious.
Nobody wants a lump of thick buttercream on top of a cupcake!
But how do you turn cupcakes, into sunflower cupcakes?
This is actually way simpler than it seems. All you need is:
- A piping bag
- A leaf piping tip – I use Wilton Tip #70
- A few bourbon biscuit crumbs for the middle of the flowers
Firstly, you’ll want to spread a thin layer of buttercream across the whole cupcake. Then with the remaining buttercream into the piping bag, pipe ‘petals’ around the outside of the cupcake. Working your way into the middle until there is a small circle left. Fill this gap with the bourbon biscuit crumbs.
I found it best to pipe the first circle of petals with the piping bag held horizontally against the cupcake. Then for the remaining petals I held the piping bag vertical – this helps your sunflower cupcakes to look more realistic.
I’m not going to be winning any medals for the height of my sunflowers, but I’m SO happy with how they turned out. They are honestly do delicious. The perfect amount of buttercream to the deliciously light cupcakes. Chocolate and vanilla are always a delicious combination, so I really hope you like these too!
Chocolate and Vanilla Sunflower Cupcakes
- 20 g cocoa powder
- 45 g plain flour
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 large egg
- 50 g caster sugar
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 40 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60 ml buttermilk (you can make your own with 60ml whole milk and 1tsp of lemon juice)
- 80 g unsalted butter room temperature
- 165 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- yellow gel food colouring
- 3 bourbon biscuits
- Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4 and line a muffin tin with 6 cupcake cases. If making your own buttermilk; mix the milk and lemon juice together in a jug or small bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes until a little thickened.
- For the sponge: Whisk the cocoa powder, flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl until combined, then set aside. In a large bowl whisk the egg, caster sugar, brown sugar, oil and vanilla together until completely smooth. The mixture will turn slightly paler in colour.
- Pour half of the dry ingredients into the wet, and then half of the buttermilk. Mix until combined. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and the buttermilk. Again, whisk until just combined – the batter will be a little thin and lumpy!
- Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases about two thirds full each and bake for 19-21 minutes. Once baked, put the cupcakes onto a wire rack to completely cool.
- For the buttercream: Place the butter and icing sugar into a large bowl and whisk together using an electric whisk. Start off slow and increase the speed steadily, until you have a light and fluffy buttercream. Add the vanilla and yellow gel food colouring and mix again until combined, and you have a bright yellow sunflower colour. Place 3/4 of the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with Wilton #70 tip.
- To decorate: Spread a thin layer of the remaining 1/4 buttercream onto the cooled cakes. Then pipe leaves onto the edges of each cupcake, holding the piping bag horizontally against the cupcake. Then hold the piping bag vertically and pipe leaves again in a circle, working your way into the centre of the cupcake. Until you have a small circular gap left in the middle.
- Place the bourbon biscuits into a small sandwich bag and seal, then beat with a rolling pin until the biscuits are crumbs. Divide the biscuit crumbs between each cupcake and fill the middle holes.