Saturday, 30 March 2013

Kunzle Cakes- but vegan: cupcakes in a chocolate shell

(Image: www.http://wherefivevalleysmeet.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/showboats.html)


Who remembers Kunzle cakes from the Sixties and Seventies? Since home baking is so popular right now, especially all things chocolatey and cupcakey, I am surprised there hasn't been a Kunzle cake revival. (Apparently Waitrose tried it around 8 years ago but it never took off...) I remember them as square sponge cakes topped with buttercream encased in a chocolate shell but apparently they can be other shapes too...I did a bit of Googling and found out that Christian Kunzle, the Swiss baker who invented these cakes actually based his business in Birmingham, where we live right now! He made so much money from them that he was able to fund a hospital for sick children back in Switzerland, and he donated his house and grounds to the people of Birmingham as a park. After finding that out, we just had to have a go at reinventing them vegan-style for this year's Easter bake; but this is NOT a healthy recipe, so if you were looking for wholefood cakes, click away now and try one of our other cake recipes! (See Sugar Free Recipes page for the links.)


Apologies for the hasty piping- there was a hungry family waiting...!

Surprisingly, these cakes are not too difficult to make; just a bit fiddly- and you have to be patient and let the chocolate set and the cakes cool. But then this is an Easter holiday bake, so we're assuming you have some time on your hands. The snap of the chocolate as you eat them, the light sponge cake and the fluffy buttercream are an experience well worth the time they take- about 2 hours from start to finish. You will need either 2 sets of identical silicone cupcake moulds like we used or paper muffin cases and a smaller fairy cake tin. We made 12 cakes from this recipe.

We used glace cherry pieces and chocolate leaves for decoration, but you can use whatever takes your fancy.
For the shells:
350-400g vegan dark chocolate. If it's not cooking chocolate you may need to temper it. (Heat it and cool again before using.)

For the cakes:
200g self-raising flour
100g soft light brown sugar
2 tsps baking powder
200ml soya (or other plant) milk
75ml peanut/ ricebran/ sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the buttercream:
200g unhydrogenated vegan margarine- one that is labelled as suitable for baking (low fat spreads have too high a water content)
300g icing sugar (aka confectioners' sugar if you're in the States)
some food colouring of your choice

For the decorations:
12  glace cherry halves
12  chocolate leaves- see here for how to make these; it's easy and fun!


  • Melt your chocolate in a bain marie or microwave, 1/3 at a time.
  • Paint a layer inside each of the first 12 silicone moulds.
  • Repeat this two more times, allowing the previous layer to set each time. Make the second layer thicker than the first and third layer, and try to ensure that the thickness is maintained right up to the top edges for a neat and tidy finished result. If you are making chocolate leaves, do this now as well.
  • Between painting on the layers, make the cakes in the other set of silicone moulds: combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another, then beat the wet into the dry. Half fill each mould and put them in an oven preheated to 180C for about 15 minutes, or until a thin skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • While the cakes are cooling and the chocolate cases are setting, make up the buttercream by creaming the ingredients together. We chose two colours so we split our mixture equally into two bowls.
  • When the chocolate cases have completely set hard (which they probably will have by now unless you live somewhere really hot) and the cakes have cooled, take the cakes out of their moulds and cut them down to fit the cases with a large, sharp knife. You will probably have to cut the tops off as we did, because the idea is that the cake only comes part of the way up the shell, leaving room for a generous layer of piped buttercream. Any leftover pieces can be mixed with leftover buttercream and eaten up ;)
  • Once the cakes and shells are assembled, it's time for the real fun bit: the decorating. We used a star nozzle to pipe the buttercream, and placed a cherry piece and a chocolate leaf in the centre of each cake.
...And for a real Seventies feel, why not try a Black Forest version of these cakes? Make a chocolate sponge and decorate with whipped cream/ vegan cream, black cherries and chocolate flakes/ curls.

Happy Easter everyone!

3 comments:

  1. These look amazing, I love the chocolate case idea :)

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I should've done them for the school bake off- that beetroot cake was a bit too strange:)

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    2. yeah I bet lol
      I think my favourite is just boring old chocolate :)

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