Mini Coconut Cupcakes with Cardamom-Goat Cheese Frosting


  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream + 3/4 cup coconut milk, mixed together (see note)
  • 7  ounces unsweetened, shredded coconut or flaked coconut (see note)


  • Preheat the oven to 325 and line a mini muffin pan (this will make A LOT of mini muffins. Almost 50).
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • While the mixer is running on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix together.
  • Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the coconut milk mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry, mixing until just combined.
  • Fold in the coconut.
  • Fill each muffin cup to the top with batter.
  • Bake for 11-15 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  • Move to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting (recipe follows).


Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Serves 24

The Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups (8.75 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup organic canola oil
1 3/4 cups (10 ounces) finely shredded carrots
3/4 cup Zante currants
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

The Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound powdered sugar, unsifted
1 tablespoon milk
2 drops red food coloring, optional
2 drops yellow food coloring, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Put 2½-inch paper bake cups in two standard muffin tins.
  • In small bowl, whisk together flour*, soda, cinnamon and salt. In another small bowl, stir a tablespoon of flour mixture into chopped nuts and currants to coat and separate. *It is important to note that this is a packed measure of unsifted flour.
  • In large bowl, beat eggs; beat in sugar, then oil. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in carrots, raisins and nuts.
  • Using a 1/4-cup measure, fill the bake cups with a scant 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 24 minutes or until they are golden and test done with a toothpick.
  • Immediately remove from pans and cool on wire rack for an hour. They must be thoroughly cool before frosting.
  • In bowl of stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and salt.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar (no need to sift) and mix until thoroughly combined, adding milk and food coloring at the end. I usually oppose food coloring, but I like to give a slight peach tint to the frosting if there’s going to be more than one kind of cupcake, just so I know which is the carrot. You may need to add a little more milk, a teaspoon at a time, for proper piping consistency.
  • With a pastry bag fitted with a 2D (sometimes I use a 1M) tip, pipe frosting on cupcakes in a classic swirl.


Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

  • 200g butter
  • 200g plain chocolate, under 70% cocoa solids is fine
  • 200g light, soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • Smarties, sweets and sprinkles, to decorate

For the icing

  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 100ml double cream, not fridge-cold
  • 50g icing sugar


  • Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases. Gently melt the butter, chocolate, sugar and 100ml hot water together in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally, then set aside to cool a little while you weigh the other ingredients.
  • Stir the eggs and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the chocolate mixture until smooth. Spoon into cases until just over three-quarters full (you may have a little mixture leftover), then set aside for 5 mins before putting on a low shelf in the oven and baking for 20-22 mins. Leave to cool.
  • For the icing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Once melted, turn off the heat, stir in the double cream and sift in the icing sugar. When spreadable, top each cake with some and decorate with your favourite sprinkles and sweets.


Vanilla Cupcakes


Serves 24

  • 100g softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


For the cupcakes

  • Blend the dry ingredients with the butter in a mixer, using the paddle. (If doing this by hand, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture is sandy).
  • Separately stir together the wet ingredients and slowly pour in with the mixer running until everything’s combined and smooth.
  • Spoon into cupcake cases and bake at 170C for 15-20 minutes or until risen and springy. Fill the cases 3/4 full so they rise to a domed shape.
  • Allow to cool completely before icing.

Quick Vanilla Buttercream

  • Beat together 250g icing sugar with 75g butter.
  • Mix together 2 tablespoons of milk with a teaspoon of vanilla extract and add drop by drop until smooth (you’ll need about 30ml in total).
  • Turn up to high speed and whip for at least five minutes until very fluffy.

NB: Drape a tea towel over the mixer when you do the initial beating together of butter and dry ingredients. Prevents “smoke clouds” and sugar-clogged noses.


Red Velvet Cupcakes


Serves 12

  • 260 g ( about 2 large/ 9 oz) ) beetroot, grated raw with skin
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 150 g (1  ½ cups/ 5  1/4 oz) ground almonds
  • ¼ cup  or 3 tablespoons cocoa powder or Healthy Chef Naked Chocolat
  • 3 tablespoons your choice (macadamia oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil) or melted butter
  • ¼ cup (60 ml)  honey or pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup (75 g / 2.5 oz)  frozen raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder or 1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda or baking soda


  • Preheat your oven to 160 C. (320 F) fan forced or 180 C (356 F) no fan.
  • Combine raw beetroot, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ground almonds, Naked Chocolat, honey,oil and baking powder into a large bowl.
  • Mix well with your hands until combined then add the raspberries if using.
  • Spoon into paper lined cupcake or small muffin tins.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely in the tin. Serve alone or topped with your desired flavoured frosting.

Yummy Simple Frosting Ideas

  • Thick Greek Style yoghurt or coconut yoghurt.
  • For a delicious almond or rice milk cream combine 1 1/2 cups  milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, 1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup and 2 heaped tablespoons arrowroot or corn flour then heave over a low heat until thick like a custard. Remove from the heat and cool in the fridge.  Once cold place into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy…add a little splash of milk or even coconut milk if you want a creamy consistency. This is based on a blancmange style custard cream recipe.
  • For yummy cashew nut cream combine 1 cup of raw cashew nuts or macadamia nuts with 1/2 cup of water or orange juice and a little vanilla. Blend in a good high speed blender until smooth and creamy.
  • For a chocolate cream frosting combine 2 ripe avocados, 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder, 1/4 cup honey, a pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste.  Blend in a Vitamix until smooth and creamy.  Add a little splash of water for a smoother and fluffier consistency.
  • For a creamy cheesecake style frosting, combine 250 g (9oz) soft cream cheese such as quark with a little lemon zest, juice, vanilla  and a little maple syrup or honey to taste. Beat well until combined and creamy.
  • A simple dollop of mascarpone or whipped ricotta.



Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes


Serves 32

  • 200 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 5 tsp multi-coloured sugar strands
  • 32 small flat based ice cream cone cups or waffle cups with chocolate trim1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 20 g soured cream
  • 32 small bubble gum balls


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5.
  • Place 125g of the butter in a bowl with the caster sugar and vanilla extract and beat together until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs then fold in the flour and baking powder.
  • Fold in 4 tbsp of the sugar strands.
  • Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  • Arrange the ice cream cones or waffle cups on a large baking sheet.
  • Pipe the sponge filling into each cup to fill 2/3rd full.
  • Bake for 10-14 mins until risen and golden brown.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

For the frosting

  • Beat the rest of the butter in a bowl with the icing sugar until smooth and creamy then fold in the soured cream.
  • Spread on top of the cupcakes and top with the rest of the sugar strands.
  • Place a bubble gum ball on the top of each muffin.
  • Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.