Special trick the first!

Special trick the second!

Today I learned not one, but two really cool things to do with cupcakes.

Thing the first: How to pipe frosting so you get pretty multi-tonal icing. It looks way cool, though my cellphone pictures don’t really do ‘em justice (#lazy).

Thing the second: That an upturned plastic shot glass is the perfect spacer for keeping cupcakes from crashing into each other when placed in a container. Win! 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Duo Tone Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

For the cakes:

  • 150g softened butter
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 175g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (or just use self raising flour)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Making these cupcakes is a breeze, and only takes one bowl.


  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and prep 12 cupcake cases in a muffin pan. I like to spray ’em with canola oil spray so the cases don’t stick to the cake.
  2. Soften the butter in a medium sized bowl.
  3. One at a time, break each egg into a cup and give it a quick whisk with a fork before dropping it in with the butter.
  4. Add the vanilla essence and the sugar to the wet ingredients. 
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into the bowl with the wet ingredients.
  6. Beat the mixture together with an electric mixer for a few minutes until it’s smooth and creamy.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the cases, leaving room for the cakes to rise, and place ’em in the center of your oven for ten minutes.
  8. Rotate your baking tray/muffin tray and put the cupcakes back in the oven for another 6-8 minutes, until they spring back when pushed or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, before placing the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Icing ingredients:

  • 100g butter (unsalted would be best)
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Peppermint essence
  • Food colouring

You will also need three piping bags (or two resealable bags and a piping bag) and a wide star-shaped piping nozzle.

Making the icing:

  1. Soften the butter, and then beat it until it’s smooth.
  2. Sift the icing sugar, and add about a third of it to the butter and beat it together.
  3. Add half the remaining icing sugar, then continue to beat.
  4. Add the milk, peppermint essence (I used about 1.5 teaspoons), and remaining icing sugar and beat thoroughly.
  5. Spoon half of the icing into one of your piping or resealable bags and set it aside.
  6. Add your food colouring to the remaining icing, and beat it again to mix the colour through thoroughly. You may need to add a little more icing sugar, as the food colouring will thin the icing down a bit.
  7. Spoon the coloured icing into your second piping bag or resealable bag.

Piping the icing:

  1. Load your last piping bag with your star nozzle, then position the two icing-filled bags inside the empty bag, so they are side by side. I used two resealable bags inside a piping bag and found it useful to squeeze the resealable bags around a bit so they fit evenly side by side. Then, take them out and snip the corners of your resealable bags to even sizes, and place them back inside the piping bag with the nozzle.
  2. The idea is, when you squeeze the outer bag, the icing comes out of both the inner bags together and meets in the nozzle, forming a well balanced duo tone stream of frosting.
  3. Twist the end of the outer bag and squeeze firmly to push the icing out the nozzle. Pipe slowly in a circle around your cooled cupcake from the outer edge, inward, finishing with a twist of the nozzle in the center of the cupcake.

Sprinkle the tops of your cupcakes with edible glitter, and apply liberally to friends and work colleagues <3