As I write this, it’s a glorious 20 degrees with golden sunlight streaming through the windows of the Apple Chapel, on a lazy Saturday here in Sheffield. It’s perfect weather for a little al fresco eating and so today I’m sharing a really fun little sweet treat that would be perfect if you too are enjoying such wonderful weather – BBQ Cupcakes!

What we have here are rich and fudgy chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream but with a few simple additions, including a piped chocolate grill and a cocktail stick with little pieces of Jelly Babies to look like veggie kebabs and boom, BBQ cupcakes are on the menu!

The first time I made these and took them in for my nurses at work to test for me, they were gone by mid-morning and there was one glorious moment when I wished I’d brought my camera as I rounded the corner into the break room and there they where, four of them with cupcake raised to mouth, about to take their first bites simultaneously lol!

It was picture perfect and even better for how much they loved them and in fact, said they were in the Top Five of all my bakes! (They keep an unofficial scorecard).

BBQ cupcakes

The thing is, these cupcakes aren’t actually my own recipe. They belong to a blogger pal of mine, Meaghan of Cook Craft Blog. Meaghan is an American lass who has a beautiful wee blog full of technicolour baking delights.

These immediately caught my eye, as my family are absolute fiends for a BBQ and I know they will go down swimmingly now we’re heading rapidly into BBQ season which traditionally kicks off proper with Hungry Hubby’s birthday mid-April.

I will let you know when I have made these gluten free so Daddums, aka the BBQ King, can join in the sweet treat fun but for now, I have Anglicized Meaghan’s recipe for you.  And by that I mean I’ve cut the sugar in half and scaled the recipe down to make only 12 cupcakes as per English standards anyway. The original makes 24 very large cupcakes.

BBQ cupcakes

In taste, these cupcakes remind me of Ina Garten’s rather famous chocolate cake that so many bloggers have written about and I make on a very regular basis for cake decorating.  I love using Callebaut chocolate for piping with as it is much thicker and spreads far less than cheaper brands (I buy it in bulk off Amazon and use it for all my chocolate baking).

Adding a little boiled water to buttercream is my top tip to make American buttercream super soft, smooth and silky (as well as really good for piping). I didn’t have any Red Extra Sugarflair Food Colouring Gel in when I shot these but if you want to have a more “flame-like” appearance to the buttercream then this is the one you need as it is über über concentrated. They keep very well in a cake tin for a few days so you can make them ahead and not have to worry about eating into your valuable ice cold beer or cider drinking time, as the actual BBQ grill fires up 😉

BBQ Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream and decorated with a chocolate "grill" and Jelly Baby "kebabs"! Cocktail umbrella optional but encouraged 😉 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 cupcakes
: 338 kcal
Author: Just Jo
For the cupcakes:
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 90 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 1 large egg white
For the frosting:
  • 100 g soft butter
  • 200 g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 20 ml recently boiled water
  • 1/4 tsp each of yellow and red food colouring gels
For the decoration:
  • 50 g dark chocolate chips
  • 5-6 Jelly Babies (or similar colourful jelly sweets)
  • 12 cocktail sticks
Helpful kit:
  • 1 star shaped nozzle
  • 2 disposable piping bagg
  • Sheet of baking parchment
  • Chilled baking tray
  1. Start by lining a muffin pan with cupcake cases or muffin papers like I've used. Preheat oven to 180C. Pop a baking tray in the fridge to chill to pipe your chocolate grills on later. 

  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. 

  3. Whisk the remaining wet ingredients in a large jug then combine the two - don't over stir. Divide between the cupcake cases/muffin papers and bake for 18-20minutes until well risen and bounces back when lightly pressed in the middle. Cool in the tin for 5 mins then transfer to a rack to cool fully. 

  4. Draw 12 circles about 3 inches in diameter on some parchment paper. I used a Sharpie marker pen and a cookie cutter as my guide, then flipped it over - the pen shows through so it's easy to see. Pop it on your chilled baking tray

  5. Melt the chocolate, pour into a disposable piping bag then snip off the tip about 2-3mm across. Pipe out circles first (I go over them twice for strength) then pipe lines across like the grill on a BBQ. Allow to set in the fridge for about 30 minutes before using.  

  6. To make the kebabs, snip up little pieces of Jelly Baby (I know, it feels so wrong!) with clean kitchen scissors and thread 5 or 6 little bits onto each cocktail stick. 

  7. To make the buttercream, beat the butter and icing sugar together until lighter and starting to get fluffy. Turn down the speed on your stand/hand mixer and beat in the vanilla then enough of the boiled water to loosen the texture and make it extra creamy and smooth. Just be sure to go very slowly with the water. 

  8. Divide the buttercream in two and colour one yellow and one red - note I prefer not to add tons of food colouring so I made do with pink. If you want red you'll need approx 1/4-1/2 tsp Extra Red Sugarflair Food Colouring Gel. 

  9. Pop your nozzle in the second piping bag and spoon in the two colours of buttercream, one on either side and give it a little squeeze to get both colours coming through before piping swirls on each cupcake. 

  10. Pop a chocolate grill and a kebab on each and serve! Do warn your guests the cocktail sticks aren't edible!!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn a little commission if you chose to buy items I’ve advertised, helping me to bring you all these recipes for free!

Like this post? Then why not try these related recipes: