chocolate | cupcakes | muffins | recipe

Skunk cakes? Marble cakes? Swirl cakes? Are they even cakes at all?!

February 19, 2009

I like skunk cakes, so I think thats what I’ll go with. After all, I was inspired by Mr. Pepe Le Pew, who is my favorite Looney Tunes character (I even have a Lenox figure of him, which will accompany these little cakes in the pictures below)… and also by a book I recently purchased by Susanna Tee appropriately titled ‘Cupcakes.’The book is very pretty, and the pictures are lovely, but so far I’m a bit unsure as to the quality of the recipes.

Its an English book, printed in the UK, and I’m wondering if the Brits have a more lenient cupcake category system. Cause, see, these here cupcakes had no frosting on them in the pictures, and no frosting recipe given for them in the book. Yet they’re called cupcakes. Here, as far as I know, they’d be called muffins, because cupcakes with out frosting aren’t cupcakes, right? Hmm. Interesting. Someone should do a comparison of cupcakes across the pond.

Also, my first reaction was “A cupcake without vanilla extract!?” Maybe that makes me closed-minded or stupid, but it struck me as a bit odd. The taste isn’t really that sweet, they’re not over-sugary and there is no vanilla, therefore, there is no vanilla taste. Hmm. Its very much like marble cake, in cupcake form. But with no frosting. So is it a cupcake?  HMMM

I read in reviews of the book that the cupcake recipes are dry. This has some truth. This recipe is a little dry, however not nearly as bad as the recipe by Fergal Connolly I tried last year. That one was so dry it was choke-on-it-able; you needed a glass of milk just to look at them! I think if you really wanna make these, you should use this recipe instead, and just use the “marbling” technique I give you in this recipe instead of doing it half-n-half. Not that this recipe is bad, its just not very flavorful and the batter is a bit thick for the marbling thing.

Thankfully its a nice looking book and I may even try another recipe from it now and again.  There are some that seem interesting and tasty, so maybe with some added help they can be winners! That said… here’s Susanna Tee’s recipe for marbled chocolate cupcakes.



  • ¾ cup soft margarine (or soft unsalted butter)
  • generous ¾ cup superfine sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • scant 1 ¼ cups self-rising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted (or 4 tbsp cocoa powder)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put 21 baking cups in a muffin pan.
  2. Put the margarine, sugar, eggs, flour and milk in a bowl and, using an electric hand whisk, beat together until just smooth.
  3. Divide the batter between two bowls. Add the chocolate to one bowl and stir until well mixed. Using a teaspoon, and alternating the chocolate batter with the plain batter, put four half-teaspoons into each baking cup.
  4. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.

Now first of all, I didn’t get 21 cupcakes. I got 14. Second of all, it took mine a good 30+ minutes to bake, not 20. That could just be my oven, but I never have that problem with other cupcakes. Third of all, I used tablespoons not teaspoons and mine didn’t even rise past the top of the cups. Add another “hmm” to this conundrum. Unless English muffin pans are smaller, which could very well be. Here in America, everything’s huge. Supersize, Biggie size, whatever.

Au revoir, mon cherie! My cupcakes await!


Would I make them again? Probably. Just because they were really quick, and they look unique. But next time I’d  use this recipe instead and definitely add a vanilla/chocolate swirl buttercream frosting however.

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  1. I have a hard time accepting naked cupcakes, too. Yet, I am planning on making some for a contest, just because I think frosting would ruin my concept.

    I almost always “age” my cupcakes overnight before filling and frosting. Half because it can help the flavor, half because I’m lazy. 🙂

  2. Yeah in some cases, like apple streusel cupcakes, I can accept the lack of frosting… but sometimes in other cases it causes me to question the cupcake-yness of it. But I guess a cupcake is what you make it! 😀

  3. Several years ago I learned that non-Americans regard “American “cakes (and I would include cupcakes in that category) as too moist and sugary. I think this might explain the cupcake’s lack of frosting and initial dryness. But it’s just a guess. Your cupcakes still look good.

  4. Thank you! I guess its like American chocolate? Most non-Americans think its too sugary (and I agree actually, I much prefer Cadbury to Hershey’s). Thank you for clearing it up a bit.

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