Chocolate Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

Where should I start. The topic for this month’s Aspiring Bakers is Enjoy Cupcake, and I’ve got something to say.

Now, what defines a cupcake? What’s the character of a cupcake? In my opinion, all cupcakes SHOULD / MUST have a frosting of any type, either filled or iced on top. Any naked cupcakes or muffins ARE NOT (and should not be) CUPCAKES. It’s not about the method, nor if it’s butter or oil based. If Isabella from Junior Masterchef Au can make a cupcake using cream instead of butter, you know, cupcakes doesnt need to comply to just butter or oil. (actually this cupcake recipe below mixes wet and dry ingredient like the ‘said’ muffin method., so does it NOT make it a cupcake?) Or have you seen the Cupcake Wars judges served with deliberately unfrosted cupcakes saying they are cupcakes ? See, I get very sensitive when people talk about naked cupcakes as cupcakes. If it’s a naked cupcake, it’s just a cake in a paper cup. If it’s a cheesecake in a cupcake, it’s just a cheesecake.period.

Ok that is point number 1.

To sum it all up, it’s not about the method, my point is that cupcakes should have a frosting no matter which method you choose to use.

Now there’s point number 2.

I know it’s non of my business on what other people bake (and it isn’t yours either to what I say), but doesnt ‘aspiring’ in Aspiring Bakers mean something? To aspire, is to direct one’s hopes or ambitions towards achieving something. If baking what you already bake all the time means achieving something, then it defeats the entire purpose of this expanding group. I’m not saying that one needs to bake some mega awesome super difficult cupcake, but it’s about making some changes and be daring to attempt something new. If for all your life you’ve only baked butter / vanilla cupcakes. Why not try chocolate! If you’ve been baking cupcakes (or I call them muffins) without frosting, why not make a simple buttercream or whip up some cream and frost it! If you’ve been making buttercream the american way all these time, why not try another method or medium, like Swiss meringue / Italian meringue / French meringue/ ganache? If you’ve been making some awesome cupcakes all these while, why not, make something different by inserting a filling, or make a third element to accompany it, or a fondant figurine? See, at every stage or level you are at, regardless whether you are a professional or an amateur, there are always something new to try, something different to attempt and something bold to shout out to. And I think that should be the whole point of the group. To encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and at least, make something out of their normal bakes, and not treat it like a who-has-the-most-post-thus-higher-hits-and-comments competition. It’s just a matter of quality vs quantity.

And with all that, I DO NOT have any intentions to make myself a step higher from you, or start any unnecessary war. As a blogger, it is my responsibility to share, learn and inspire.

Now, If you’re still interested in scrolling down, please do. If you feel like giving me a tight slap, please close this window.

Look, it’s just my own opinion. You may or may not agree with me, it’s up to you.

Cupcakes oh cupcakes. I’ve had been making you for my entire 1 year of working. It was a “waking up at 5am, drive to work and bake bake bake till it’s time to go home process” for the whole year. Thousands and thousands have been mixed, baked and frosted. At one point, I was totally disgusted when I see a cupcake. A few years later where I am getting a balance of making all bakes, it gets a little better. And because cupcakes has a special meaning to me, I’ve decided to join this month’s Aspiring baker’s challenge (Ok I’ve wanted to join last months, and last last months as well but just never got the time to make them)

I reckon if I’m going to make a cupcake not for commercial purpose, then I might as well make it over the top. This one here is not enough, I’m thinking of something even more elaborate (If I have the time to make it).

It’s a Chocolate cupcake fill and frosted with Mango buttercream (pate a bomb) and pineapple and chili mango phyllo parcel. (argh, I should have made it like a ravioli so it looks like a hat on top!) ; and some with oven dried pineapple, drizzled with mango sauce.

The name’s kinda complicated but it is so easy to make this cupcake. French meringue buttercream is my absolute favourite. It’s the same used in Opera and it is another special cake that holds a special place in my heart (With all these cakes and all occupying my heart, there won’t be any more space when I find a partner. LOL!!!!) I also tried using the parchment paper as the paper cup cause it has this rustic look (and cheaper)


Chocolate Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

(makes 12)


1. Chocolate Cupcakes
2. French Meringue Buttercream with Mango
3. Dried Pineapple garniture
4. Chili, pineapple and mango phyllo triangle
5. Mango sauce

Chocolate Cupcakes

30g cocoa powder
15g dark chocolate, melted (Valrhona guanaja 70%)
160ml boiling water
2 eggs
80g sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
150g cake flour
150g brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
113g unsalted butter, soft

1. Preheat oven to 160 C. In a bowl, combine cocoa powder, boiling water and stir till smooth. Add in melted choclate and stir.

2. In another bowl, lightly whisk eggs and sour cream. Pour in 1/4 of the chocoalte mixture and stir

3. In the mixing bowl, beat the dry ingredients and the rest of cocoa mixture and softened butter on low speed. Then increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, till lightly aerataed. Add in eggs in 3 batches.  Scrape bowl and mix well (for about 1 to 1 1/2 mins)

4. Pour into paper cups at 3/4 full. Bake for about 15 minutes or till cooked.

French Meringue Buttercream with mango

1/2 medium mango, diced (or puree if you like)
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
30ml water
225g butter, cubed.
pinch of salt

1. In a pot, bring caster sugar and water to 118C at a medium heat.

2. When it’s about 105 C, whisk egg yolks in a mixing bowl till its light and volumed.

3. When the sugar syrup has reached 118C, slowly pour into egg yolks while whisking at the same time. Whisk till it doubles in volume and becomes thick (about 3-4 minutes). It will be slightly warm.

4. Add in butter slowly (1-2 at a time) into the pate a bomb and whisk. It will be soupy at first but just continue whisking till comes together.

5. Add in the mango and whisk away.

Dried pineapple

few slices of pineapple

1. Peel, and remove the pineapple eyes.

2. Slice thinly and pat dry.

3. Put them over a parchment paper or silpat and let it ‘dry’ in the oven at 150 for 20 minutes, then flip over, another 10-20 minutes. This depends on the thickness of the pineapple. The thicker, the longer it takes.

Chili, pineapple and mango phyllo triangle

4 sheets phyllo pastry
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
100g pineapple, cut to cubes
1/2 medium sized mango, cut to cubes
1/2 red chilli
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp water

1. Cut pineapple and mango into cubes. Slice red chilli into diagonal slits.

2. In a pan, cook caster sugar and water till it becomes a light caramel. Toss in the mango, pineapple and chili. Stir till it’s all coated with caramel. Turn off heat and set aside.

3. Cut phyllo pastry to 4 quarters. Take 1 sheet, brush with a little melted butter, place another sheet on top, brush with little melted butter, then add about 1 spoon of mango, pineapple mixture. Fold into a triangle then press lightly. Continue with the rest of the phyllo sheets and lay them all on a baking paper.

4. Bake at 180 C for about 20 minutes, or till they’re browned.

*Use and serve this immediately cause it will turn soggy after a while due to the liquid in the fruits.

Mango sauce

Heh, this one requires no recipe. Any leftover mango flesh, just blend it with some lemon juice, et voila you have a mango sauce!


Chocolate cupcake, piped with mango buttercream, then place either a dried pineapple, or a phyllo triangle or both.  Drizzle with mango sauce.


I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #13: Enjoy Cupcakes! (November 2011) hosted by Min of Min’s Blog.

15 thoughts on “Chocolate Cupcakes with Mango Buttercream

  1. Love the pineapple, looks like a sun, the type of sun in my kids’ storybooks
    Thanks for the enlightenment. It’s good to know the real definition from a trained pastry chef who has worked professionally as a cupcake recipe developer.

  2. wow… you made me literally sit up and read your post! It’s good to think through the food that you made/bake. I was also faced with ??? as to what’s a cupcake? Must it be frosted? Must it have butter beaten with sugar? But, I did not think too much. I just go ahead, follow my heart and bake what I like and what I think is a cupcake. At most, is a rejected post, but at least I tried. For me, frosted or naked cupcake is a matter of preference. Schools may teach one definition, but definition changes over time with changes in lifestyle or consumer’s preferences. How much details to add is again personal. What puzzled me is how are we to know whether the baker has step out of his/her comfort zone, unless AB is to add : “State how different is this from your past bakes or give a detailed thought-process in coming up with this creation”. I guess most of the group’s aspiring bakers are not trained bakers or chefs, but to join for fun, share ideas/recipes and hopefully inspired new bakers to bake something. Competition? Honestly I did not feel any, but I have seen both quality and quantity in some bloggers’ posts. And I certainly look forward to the monthly summary. Last month’s theme of traditional kueh by Small Small Baker is really amazing. So many colourful and pretty kueh. I guess many of us do not prepare traditional kueh that often (perhaps never). So, I guess for last month at least, we have step out of our comfort zone and attempt something different.

  3. I don’t intend to slap you, instead i would luv to give you a french kiss. totally agree with you. i have the same thought as well when i first came across this month aspiring bakers’ theme. i’m surprise to see many non-frosted cupcakes or was that muffins. cupcakes to me literary means lil’ cake with frosting on top. non-frosted somehow qualify as muffins. i would have thought that this is a universal understanding in the world of baking. i’m glad you voice out the differences and the meaning of ‘aspire’ in the world of bloggersphere. i dun have a blog but for someone that doesn’t have a blog, i would luv to see something different, something extraordinaire. like maybe more entremets and less chiffon cakes.
    yes i dun fancy cupcakes but i’m fascinated by it. it’s a work of art too.

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for not slapping me. haha but i beg to differ on the chiffon cakes. There are many flawless and very good chiffon cakes recipe out there, and entremets are not for everyone. There should be a balance in all types of bakes so there is something for everyone of all stages, be it beginners, or professionals… 🙂

  4. Hi Wai Fong, I guess it is only up to our ownself whether we have stepped out of our comfort zone. Since we’re not baking or cooking as a homework or as a ‘kau tai’ to anyone, it is entirely up to that person to do as they wish or according to their heart. I have no arguments with any of that. But I just wish that there are more clarifications on what a cupcake means. Method categorization is what school teaches, and what I’ve stated above on what a cupcake should be, and is purely my own thoughts. I do wish more people would be able to accept that cupcakes have frostings. Then again, I am not here to put a knife at anyone’s neck.
    I do applaud AB’s effort for the past 1 year and it has been doing very well, especially for the kuih theme. 🙂

  5. IMPO, a chiffon cake will forever be a chiffon cake made with chiffon method. It will not change with time. An “all in egg method” sponge baked in a tube pan is not a chiffon cake, and never will be.
    I guess it’s Asian to accept cupcakes without frostings, take for instance the Taiwanese bake books that calls them 杯仔蛋糕 (bui jai dan gou) but for Western standards, it is not, depending on which part of the world you would link your bakes with. I’ve never seen a naked cuppie on DC cupcakes or whatever TV show but it isn’t foreign in some Asian bake books.

  6. I am amazed at your chocolate cupcake again. A job well done. I can’t wait to try it out. I love reading your blog and trying out your recipes, you never cease to amaze me. Keep up the good work. I am so proud of you.

  7. Oh my…your recipe always are perfect one! Tell you the truth I dare not try any of them (and I actually book marked them)It seems so beautiful from yours and I’m worry that mine will turns out “yucks”…haha! Mind to pass me some…haha!

  8. Lizl, thanks for coming back again 🙂

    Ann, actually i used a pineapple that’s almost drying out in the fridge cause if i dont use it, it’s probably going to end up in the bin. might as well dry it all up.

    Reese, eh you ah… you can bake also leh.. samo u can cook and make all those nice kuih..

  9. wow!!! cool down swee san! LOL

    but i agree with you on the part of naked cupcakes just aint cupcakes. To be really honest, I also had problems “deciphering” what cupcakes are meant to be when I heard of this month’s Aspiring Bakers’ theme. And because of that, I hadn’t made any to date. Your post really set things straight!

    But to me, it extends to more than just frosting. How about cupcakes with toppings? I have a mont blanc cupcake in planning. Just too lazy… haha

    1. Alan, I guess its just a confusing topic and there are way to many meanings of cupcakes. Some right, some wrong, or just way beyond acceptable lol. Frostings / toppings / something on top that is …. emm…. creamy? Can’t wait to see ur post.. mont blanc cupcake!

  10. I couldn’t agree with you more on the perception/definition of a cupcake. I’m with you that it’s not about the method, but cupcakes MUST have some sort of frosting. Otherwise, they are just cakes in a cup (i.e. cupped cakes).
    Anyway, your cupcakes are gorgeous! Love the way they’ve been dressed up 🙂

  11. Good write up Swee San. Like the way you reason it. 🙂 Anyway, the AB was just for fun, the rules weren’t as strict as the other challenges like Daring Bakers.
    I love your cupcakes. The way you decorate made it very “high class”! I adore the cuppies!
    Thanks for sharing your insights.

  12. I am going to make the buttercream part to frost a banana cake with pineapple curd. I was wanting to use mango puree, how much should I use? I don’t want to put too much and then the cream gets too liquidy. Also, how much buttercream does that recipe yeild?


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