Fiona Cairns' Vampire Cupcakes with Devil's Cardamom Chocolate Cake recipe…*shiver*

Some people might think cupcakes are dead (pardon the pun), but here at ACHICA Living we love a kooky cupcake. And, in the spirit of all things ghoulish this Halloween, we think this Vampire cupcake recipe by Fiona Cairns is too good not to highlight. Follow the recipe below and if you run out of cases you can always order some more Cath Kidston cupcake case designs, which are on promotion at ACHICA today. Happy Halloween!
Recipe: Vampire cupcakes by Fiona Cairns using Devil's cardamom-chocolate cake

Makes 12


For the cakes

12 cupcake cases

10 cardamom pods (optional)

50g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

75g ground almonds

200g 70% cocoa solids chocolate, chopped

125g unsalted butter

130g light muscovado sugar

4 eggs, separated

1 tbsp brandy

¼ tsp salt

For the frosting

180g white caster sugar

1 egg white

½ tsp cream of tartar

pinch of salt

For the black and red roses

160g white sugarpaste

claret food colour paste

Christmas red food colour paste

black food colour paste

For the vampire bites

1 tsp raspberry jam

To prepare: Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 160°C/340°F/gas mark 3½. Place the cupcake cases into a cupcake tin.


Deseed the cardamom pods, if using: split with a knife, empty out the seeds and grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cardamom and stir in the ground almonds.

Set a large bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water) and melt the chocolate, butter and 1 tbsp water. Once melted, remove from the heat and beat in the sugar. Beat the egg yolks into the mixture, a couple at a time, then add the brandy. Fold in the flour mixture and mix lightly together.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Take a big spoonful and fold into the chocolate mixture to loosen, then fold in the rest. Divide the batter between the cupcake cases and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until they spring back to the touch. Remove to cool on a wire rack.

To decorate

To make the frosting, place all the ingredients with 2 tbsp water in a heatproof bowl standing over a pan of very, very gently simmering water; it must not be boiling. Then, with an electric whisk (don’t even think about doing this with a hand whisk!) whisk for seven to 10 minutes, or until the icing has increased in volume, is thick and shiny and forms soft peaks. Working quickly as it will start to set, spread over the cupcakes, swirling with a small palette or kitchen knife.

To make the roses, colour 80g of sugarpaste red, using claret and Christmas red food colours, and 80g black (see page 168). Mould four roses from each colour (see page 121). Place one black or red rose on to each of eight cupcakes.

To make the fang marks, simply indent the icing of the four remaining cakes with a skewer, or the end of a teaspoon, and pour in a small amount of raspberry jam, allowing it to ooze over the frosting a little.

Recipe taken from Fiona Cairns The Birthday Cake Book (Quadrille)

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor