These cavolo nero cupcakes have hidden veg, making them a wonderful bright green colour, but they taste like vanilla! The rich chocolate frosting complements the vanilla-tasting sponge and is a great contrast to the green cake. Cavolo nero is a brassica that is closely related to kale, and while originally from Italy is now grown in Lincolnshire.
Recipe commissioned by Discover Great Veg.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I’m obsessed with creating vegetable cakes, vegetable cupcakes and vegetable desserts. I’ve spent the last four years tinkering with recipes in my kitchen, trying to get the maximum veg into cakes without the flavour overpowering. It’s a fine balancing act that takes a lot of testing, and I love it.
I started with beetroot chocolate cake, moving to chocolate butternut squash cake. That led to me creating this blog and eventually writing my cookbook, Veggie Desserts + Cakes. Today, I bring you cavolo nero cupcakes with chocolate frosting!
The flavour of the cavolo nero fades away, leaving a bright green soft sponge that tastes of vanilla.
Cavolo Nero Cupcakes
Cavolo nero is lightly cooked, chopped and then pureed before adding to the cake batter. It adds moistness and that vibrant green colour to these cupcakes, and leaves a bit of its green goodness behind.
Cavolo nero is also known as black kale, Tuscan kale, lacinato kale, or dinosaur kale, and it’s closely related to typical curly kale. It’s versatile, healthy and nutritious. I love it in hot salads, stews and hearty Italian soups. It’s easy to cook with and great to throw into many dishes.
The rich chocolate frosting perfectly decorates these cupcakes and the colour contrasts with the green cakes well. The flavour of the chocolate works beautifully with the the plain sponge. My children (my official taste testers) loved these cupcakes and gave them some very enthusiastic thumbs up. Although there’s quite a lot of cavolo nero in them, the flavour completely fades away.
How to make Cavolo Nero Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
You will need:
Briefly steam or simmer the cavolo nero, then drain, rinse under cold water, chop finely and puree with the milk
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in pureed cavolo nero. Sift in the dry ingredients and gently mix.
Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake.
Discover Great Veg
Discover Great Veg are passionate about celebrating the best British veg – including kale, cavolo nero, spinach and leeks.
Cavolo nero can be used in the same way as it’s cousin kale. It has a pleasant earthy green taste that works well in many dishes. You can steam, bake, stir fry, puree, sautee, boil or microwave it and it cooks quickly. It doesn’t wilt right down like spinach, instead, like kale, it retains a lovely texture that works well in casseroles, soups and stews. It’s also great added to slow cooker meals at the end.
Cavolo nero can play an important part in a healthy balanced diet, and is a tasty and easy way to enjoy one of your five-a-day. Like kale, it’s a good source of lutein, vitamins K, A and C, and a significant source of the B vitamins. It is also a source of fibre and calcium, as well as containing manganese, copper, iron and many other elements. – Discover Great Veg
Get the Cavolo Nero Cupcake Recipe
Cavolo Nero Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
- 50 g (1 cup) cavolo nero leaves (thick stalks discarded)
- 4 tbsp milk
- 150 g (2/3 cup) butter (at room temperature)
- 150 g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 175 g (1 1/3 cups) self-raising flour (or plain/all purpose flour with 2 tsp baking powder)
For the chocolate frosting
- 100 g (1/3 cup) butter (at room temperature)
- 250 g (2 cups) icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- 6 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 170C/325F/(gas mark 3) and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cases.
- Tear the cavolo nero leaves into bite sized pieces and boil or steam them for a few minutes until tender. Refresh by running under cold water to cool, then drain, squeeze out any excess moisture, chop up very finely.
- Add the kale and milk to a tall container, then puree until smooth with a hand blender.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in pureed cavolo nero.
- Sift in the flour and stir gently to combine.
- Fill the muffin cups ¾ full with the batter and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting
- Beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then sift in the icing sugar and cocoa and add the milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add another tablespoon of milk. If it’s too thin, add a little powdered sugar, sparingly, until it reaches a thick frosting consistency.
- Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and pipe over the cooled cupcakes.
Thanks for checking out my recipe! I love hearing from my readers. You all allow me to do what I love and write this UK food blog, sharing vegetarian and vegan recipes, vegetable cake recipes and also easy vegan desserts.
Disclosure: This recipe for cavolo nero cupcakes was commissioned by Discover Great Veg. All opinions are my own.