Black Zinger Cupcakes


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(first published 2014)
Black Zinger, who could resist a name like that. I couldn’t so I’ve chosen it for the last recipe from The Cake Slice Bakers Current Book, Great Cakes – Carole Walters. Since last November we’ve been baking a recipe each month from this book and this month see’s the last recipe from the book. As this was the final month we’ve been given free reign over the book, baking whatever we see fit.

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I wanted to theme my bake on Halloween. I love this holiday but here in the UK it’s barely celebrated which is a shame as it’s such a fun holiday. These cupcakes are a simple treat to make for any Halloween party where all you need to jazz them up is some edible glitter, Halloween themed cupcake wrappers and some themed sprinkles.

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I’ve loved baking from this book, every recipe I’ve tried has been a complete success and I’ll definitely be using the book frequently. It lack’s in photo’s but is packed full of scrumptious recipes. The recipe I choose for the cupcake base makes in my opinion a superb choice for any chocolate cupcake. It’s bakes wonderfully with a moist crumb, flaky topping and has a smooth surface making piping icing on very easy.

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So what is black Zinger? A dark chocolate cake loaded with black pepper! A lovely, warming sensation will erupt upon your taste buds after eating one of these, you may think pepper would be gross in a cake but it works wonderfully. Try it for yourself, you won’t regret it.

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I didn’t want too sweet an icing topping these cupcakes so I shied away from the seven minute frosting and swiss meringue buttercream. I’d never tried a sour cream icing before and seeing as sour cream isn’t too sweet I thought this would make a great topping for my chocolate based cupcakes.

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Turns out I was right, these two go together perfectly. A thick chocolate sour cream icing which has the texture of a chocolate ganache, just not as rich. The sour cream really helps reduce the sweetness and another factor in reducing the sweetness of the icing is to use all dark chocolate, not half dark half milk as the recipe suggested. I used a 85% cocoa solid dark chocolate.

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I love glitter, who doesn’t and when I learned of edible I bought quite a few, all in different colours. For my Halloween cupcakes I used two colours. Sparkle Range Graphite Halloween Non-Toxic Glitter and Sparkle Range Hologram Black Non-Toxic Glitter. I love the way these two colours glisten and gleam together, perfect ghoulish shades. For the cupcake wrappers I used these fun Cobweb Cupcake Wrappers , they really make a difference to a simple cupcake wrapper and enhance the chosen theme.

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These cupcakes are hard to resist, eating two within one day is proof of that, taste testing is a must and I didn’t want to let you guy’s down with an average recipe. I shall be keeping these recipes in mind when it comes to future cupcake quests.

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This cake recipe will yield around 24 cupcakes, maybe more depending what sized cupcake cases you bake them in. The icing only iced half of these cupcakes, so I suggest possibly making the recipe for the icing twice. I haven’t tested the recipe doubling the quantities so I can’t say how it would turn out.

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Next month will see the launch of The Cake Slice Bakers new book and we are currently still recruiting new members. Drop me a comment if your interested, we’d really love to have you . All you need to do is love cake and we all love cake right?!

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If you want a quick, easy, fun and most importantly yummy cupcake recipe for Halloween then give these a try, you don’t need any fancy decorations just a few items which can be used again. An addictive chocolate cake and icing with a lingering warmth, perfect for a chilly All Hallows Eve.

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Now let’s see what the other Cake Slice Bakers have chosen for this our final bake of this years book!

Black Zinger Cupcakes

Delicious Halloween inspired cupcakes flavoured with a surprising ingredient. 

Course: Dessert
Servings: 24 Cupcakes
Prep time: 40 min



  • 185 ml Hot water
  • 1 tbsp Espresso powder
  • 170 grams Dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids
  • 3 tbsp Honey
  • 240 grams Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • 2 tsp Black pepper
  • 113 grams Unsalted butter room temperature
  • 55 grams Vegetable shortening
  • 400 grams Caster sugar
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • 125 ml Cold water

Sour cream chocolate icing

  • 85 grams Dark chocolate 85% cocoa solids
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 60 ml Sour cream
  • 180 grams Icing sugar
  • 2 tsp Hot water
  • 3/4 tsp Pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Honey



  1. 1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C  and line two, 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake cases and set aside.

    2. Add the hot water to a medium size bowl and stir in the espresso powder. Add the chocolate and honey, whisking until smooth. Set aside.

    3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, setting aside also.

    4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment soften the butter for a few minutes, scrape down the bowl with a spatula and add the vegetable shortening mixing for a further 30 seconds. Start adding the sugar, spoonful at a time letting it get incorporated before adding the next spoonful. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to cream together until you have a smooth, light and fluffy mixture. Scrape down your bowl again.

    5. Add the eggs, one at time mixing well before adding the next and once all have been added scrape down your bowl again. Add the chocolate mixture followed by the vanilla extract.

    6. Add the flour mixture in the three additions alternating with the ice water. Once everything has been mix together give it a final mix with your spatula, ensuring everything has been fully incorporated.

    7. Spoon your batter into the cupcake cases filling each 2/3 full and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the cake tins on a wire rack for 15 minutes before transferring to the wire rack to cool completely.

Sour cream chocolate icing

  1. 1. Place the chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted. Remove from heat and leave to cool for a few minutes before adding the sour cream.

    2. Sift in the half the icing sugar and stir to combine, add the hot water stirring to combine then add the rest of the icing sugar mixing to combine. 

    3. Finally stir in the honey. If the icing is too runny simply pop it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up then pipe onto your cupcakes and sprinkle with the glitter and Halloween themed sprinkles.


  • Both recipes are adapted from Great Cakes by Carole Walters.
  •  Any left over cake can be frozen to make cake pops at a later date.
  • These cupcakes will last for up to 3 days stored in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.



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