For the cupcakes

  • 1tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • 240ml full-fat milk
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 55g cocoa powder
  • 110g Unsalted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For the icing

  • 110g Unsalted butter room temperature
  • 110g cream cheese
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp red colouring paste
  • 4 boxes/packs Matchmakers


  • STEP 1

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a 12-hole nonstick muffin tray with paper cake cases. Add the lemon or vinegar to the milk and set it to one side to allow the milk to curdle. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa in a bowl and set aside.

  • STEP 2

    Cream the butter and half the sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one by one, followed by the rest of the sugar. Follow this with a third of the cocoa mixture then a third of the soured milk; keep alternating till you have used up all the mixtures.

  • STEP 3

    Divide the mixture between the cases. Place in the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until firm and springy to the touch. Remove to a wire rack and leave to cool.

  • STEP 4

    Beat together the butter and cream cheese for the frosting until smooth. Add the icing sugar a third at a time and continue to mix, adding the vanilla and then the red food colouring to achieve a strong red colour.

  • STEP 5

    Turn the cupcakes upside and remove their paper cases. Using a butter knife or spatula, cover the cakes (still upside down) in red icing. Build up the icing on the cakes and create high peaks.

  • STEP 6

    While the icing is still soft, press in the ‘logs’ (Matchmakers) which you can break to fit. Some should be higher than the cake and you can use the shorter pieces to fill in the gaps. The iced peak should show just over the top of the logs to give the impression of a flame.