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Tropical Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes by Star-Spangled Baker 4.03 Bonus Dish!

“Of course it's the cake. You think I would go to a birthday party without a cake?” “What kind of cake is it, Sookie?” “Chocolate. With a rum-raisin, tropical-fruit ganache.”

I had so much fun collaborating with Laura from Star-Spangled Baker for 4.03 The Hobbit, The Sofa, and Digger Stiles. Here is her recipe for her cupcake version of the birthday cake Sookie made.


  • Sugar - 200g

  • Flour - 130g

  • Cocoa powder - 38g

  • Baking powder - 1 tsp

  • Baking soda - 3/4 tsp

  • Salt - 1/2 tsp

  • Rapeseed oil - 70g

  • Milk - 120g

  • Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

  • Eggs - 1 (room temperature)

  • Hot water - 120ml (boiled in a kettle/on a stove)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F / 160C fan oven.

  2. Whisk together dry ingredients.

  3. Stir in rapeseed oil, milk and vanilla.

  4. Add eggs and stir to combine.

  5. Add hot water and stir until all combined into a thin mixture.

  6. Fill cupcake liners to about 2/3 full.

  7. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tins around at the 10 minute mark, until you can pull a toothpick out of the cake cleanly.

  8. Remove immediately from cupcake tins to a cooling rack.

Tropical Fruit White Chocolate Ganache

Makes way too much to fill 12 cupcakes, but you can make a fraction of it, or make it all and either eat it straight from the piping bag, or save the rest :)


  • Sugar - 225g

  • Light syrup - 115g

  • Heavy cream - 350g

  • Banana - 1 banana (about 100g), mashed

  • Passion fruit pump - 9 passion fruits (about 250g)

  • White chocolate - 175g (it was a 200g bar but I ate some bits of it)

  • Unsalted butter - 115g (room temperature)


  1. Mix sugar and light syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar crystals are dissolved and begin to caramelize.

  2. Slowly add the heavy cream and mix until combined and bubbling.

  3. Add mashed banana and passion fruit pulp into the saucepan, stir until mixed thoroughly and bubbling.

  4. Remove from heat and run through a sieve to get all the pulp bits and passion fruit seeds out.

  5. Mix in chopped up bits of white chocolate (or chips) until all the chocolate is melted completely.

  6. Cool in the refrigerator or wait until mixture is room temperature.

  7. Once cooled, use a hand or stand mixer to beat unsalted butter for a few minutes in a medium bowl.

  8. Add in room temperature sugar/fruit/chocolate mixture and mix until combined.

  9. Put in a piping bag for cupcake filling!

Rum Chocolate Buttercream

This recipe makes enough for 12 cupcakes with generous piped frosting. If you want to smear the frosting with a knife instead for less frosting, you can probably halve the recipe.


  • Unsalted butter - 230g

  • Powdered sugar - 400g

  • Cocoa powder - 120g (yes, that much!)

  • Vanilla - 1/4 tsp

  • Salt / 1/2 tsp

  • Rum - 6 tbsp (you can also use milk instead to make this kid-friendly)


  1. Beat butter until fluffy.

  2. Add in powdered sugar and cocoa powder in about 100g increments (this keeps the frosting fluffy as you make it!).

  3. Add in vanilla and salt, mix until combined.

  4. Add the rum! I used a Ron Zacapa Solera 23 rum, but any kind of rum will do. Add it 1 tbsp at a time to adjust the frosting to the consistency that you want.

  5. Put in a piping bag for frosting!

These cupcakes are inspired by Sookie’s Lord of the Rings birthday party cake. Lorelai is surprised to find out that Sookie has *totally* misunderstood the assignment with the brie, the chafing dish on the white tablecloths, the carrots that taste like diapers and, of course, the birthday cake too.

Sookie makes a chocolate cake. With a rum raisin, tropical fruit ganache! I decided to make some slight adjustments and landed on my favorite chocolate cupcakes filled with tropical fruit white chocolate ganache and topped with rum chocolate buttercream frosting.

Unlike Sookie, I didn’t make four different versions before choosing this particular one, BUT, just like Sookie’s, these cupcakes are INCREDIBLE! And kids probably won’t eat them because of the rum…

Hope you enjoy!

Cupcakes and photo by Laura @starspangledbaker


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