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Chocolate penguin cupcakes

How cute are these cupcakes?

Easy, moist and delicious chocolate cupcakes with a silky smooth cookie butter core, topped with a whipped vanilla buttercream with a white chocolate coated oreo cookie and a pink buttercream scarf.

These are the perfect cupcakes for the whole family to get involved in making over the Christmas holidays.

Watch me decorate these cupcakes here. 


What is aquafaba?

Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of Chickpeas.The Chickpea water or brine as its called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, meringue buttercreams etc.

What vegan block butter to use?

As Swiss meringue uses liquid from the aquafaba, having a stiffer butter is key. I like the Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant Based Butter Block.

Preparation- 40 minutes

Baking time- 18-20 minutes

Makes- Around 10

Level- Easy


Ingredients for the cake

  • 240ml of dairy-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 210g of self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g of sunflower oil 

Ingredients for the core

  • 1 jar of Biscoff spread (cookie butter)

Ingredients for the buttercream

  • 180g of dairy-free butter (see notes*)
  • 260g of icing sugar
  • 40ml of chickpea brine (aquafaba) see notes*
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract/vanilla bean paste



To make the cupcakes

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c and line 2 cupcake tins with cupcake cases.

2. In a small bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined.

Set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. This creates a vegan ‘buttermilk’.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

Mix well to combine.

4. Add the oil to the ‘buttermilk’ and whisk to combine.

5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.

6.  Fill the cupcake cases 3/4 full with the batter.

Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.

7. Pop the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.

You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer in and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.

8. Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully. 

Once cool, pop them into a sealed container to keep them fresh before frosting/decorating.

Fill the core (optional)

1. Using an apple corer, core the middle of the cupcakes.

2. Add the Biscoff spread into a piping bag and pipe some into each cupcake.

To make the frosting

1. Cream the butter in a bowl, on high speed until creamy. I use my stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment.

2. When your butter is creamy & light in colour, add in the icing sugar and vanilla bean paste/extract.

Whizz together until fluffy & fully combined.

3. Pour in the aquafaba. Whip for 5 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Don’t over whip it or it can become too soft. If it does, just add in more icing sugar until it’s thick and creamy.
The buttercream should be very light and airy. You can add more chunks of butter to get it to the right consistency. 

4. Separate a small amount of the buttercream into 3 separate bowls for the scarf, eyes and nose.

5. 1st bowl- add a small amount of black food gel and mix (for the eyes).

 2nd bowl- add a small amount of orange food colouring and mix (for the nose).

 3rd bowl- add a small amount of pink food gel and mix (for the scarf). 

Transfer each colour into a small piping bag with the tip snipped off.

6. Transfer the white, vanilla buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip nozzle.

7. Pipe a swirl of buttercream on top of each cupcake, then set the cakes aside.

Optional– Roll the buttercream in desiccated coconut. 

8. Melt some dairy-free white chocolate over a bain-marie and pour into a shallow bowl.

9. Dunk 2 sides of the oreo in the melted white chocolate (as seen in this video).

10. Pipe on two small dots of black buttercream (for the eyes), and a small triangular orange nose.

11. Place the penguin faces on top of the cupcake, and pipe a scarf around the head with the pink buttercream.

Break some Oreos in half and added them on the sides of the cupcakes for the ”wings”.

To store:

Serve these cupcakes fresh or store in a sealed container in or out of the fridge, the buttercream will firm up at room temperature. 

Best eaten within a few days.

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