Recipe | Hawaiian-Inspired Chocolate Cupcakes


I volunteered to bake cupcakes for a friend’s baby shower and got instantly inspired when I found out her favorite flower is from her home state of Hawaii: the plumeria. Opportunities like these push me to try new recipes and it was also a chance for me to finally play with fondant. I know most people think it’s the most horrible thing ever but you’ve got admit that it can sure make a cake look pretty.

The fondant flowers were easier to make than I thought especially because plumerias have a very basic shape. I bought Wilton’s Flower Making kit and it is the secret to making your cakes look Martha Stewart good. I also purchased their ready-made fondant because really, why would I torture myself with trying to make one of my own? It’s only going to be decoration.

Once I started making the plumerias, you know what I discovered? This is exactly like playing with Play-Doh and it’s just as fun.¬†You can see step-by-step instructions here. I was doing some experimenting which explains the pink fondant. I ended up using the white flowers instead and painted the inside with yellow luster dust using a paintbrush.

As for the cupcakes, I knew I wanted to try some recipes from CupcakeBlog. I’ve always admired all her cupcakes and it was a sad day when she decided to take a break from it. I wanted to start simple and decided to make a basic chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting with just a hint of white chocolate. The cake is sweet on it’s own so I really didn’t want to pile on even more.

This can be labor intensive so I would suggest doing each on separate days if you can get as lazy as I do. You can make the flowers days or even weeks in advance. I made the frosting a couple of days early and stored it in Tupperware in the fridge. Ideally, the cake should be done the day you serve them if possible. In my case, since I was bringing them to the office in the morning I made the cake the night before and assembled everything that night. I placed the cupcakes in a box and tried my best to wrap it in plastic wrap and stored it in the fridge.

cakeChocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from CupcakeBlog
Makes about 16 cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Note: Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature!
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Sift the flour into a bowl and add baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Gently stir to combine.
3. In another bowl, stir the vanilla extract and milk together.
Now that you’ve finished the prep work, you’re ready to start mixing!
4. With an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat at medium speed for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
5. Add eggs one at a time until combined. I like to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each egg.
6. Add in 1/3 third of the dry ingredients and beat on low to medium speed. Then add in about half of the wet ingredients. Continue alternating the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry. Make sure not to over beat once the dry ingredients are in or you will have a tough cake! Because I get paranoid, I prefer to beat on low speed and stir by hand with a spatula at the end just to make sure everything is combined.
7. Scoop batter a little more than half-full into a muffin pan with cupcake liners. (Don’t fill it up too much or it will overflow! It happened to me and I had to start ALL over again.)
8. Place pan in oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for about 20-22 or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
9. When cupcakes are done, keep in pan for 10 minutes and then remove each cupcake and place on cooling rack.

Printable Recipe

frostingWhite Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from CupcakeBlog

1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Melt white chocolate chips in a bowl over a pot of simmering water (double-boiler method) or nuke in the microwave in 10-second bursts. Cool for about 10 minutes.
2. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.
3. Add the white chocolate and vanilla and beat until combined.
4. Carefully put in the powdered sugar and beat at low speed.
5. Turn off mixer and give it a good stir to make sure everything is combined.

While it’s not necessary, I like to chill my frosting in the fridge for about an hour. It holds its shape better when I pipe it on the cupcake. If the frosting is a little too cold, you can fluff up the frosting using a spatula. Once cupcakes have completely cooled, place a large star tip inside a piping bag or a freezer bag with one corner cut off and pipe the frosting in a swirl motion starting from the outside and working in. Don’t worry if the center looks bad because you will cover it with the flower. You can also spoon the frosting on with a knife if you don’t feel like being fancy. Top each cupcake with a flower and you’re done!

Printable Recipe

25 thoughts on “Recipe | Hawaiian-Inspired Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. These look great, I just posted daisy cupcakes for a bachelorette party. I’ll have to try this Wilton flower making kit. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks everyone! I have to tell you that the flower making kit has A LOT of cutters. Probably more than I need. I found smaller kits at Michael’s which is where I bought it.

  3. How do you make the cupcake cook so flat? Did you leave a well in the middle after you filled each case?

  4. oh those are SO cute! I love plumerias, love Hawaii and I love cupcakes… so it was only natural that I’d love this post!! :D

  5. I really appreciate your step by step fondant flowers :) im gonna give a try soon. I have a question, my cream cheese frosting always becomes runny what am i doing wrong?

    • Hmm, have you tried refrigerating your frosting for half an hour or so after you make it? That might help the frosting harden and set a bit. If that doesn’t work, you can also try adding a little more powdered sugar to the recipe.

  6. I am throwing a Luau themed birthday party for my 3 year old and 1 year old and I’m sooooo inspired by your cupcakes. I am attempting to make them … so far I’ve made the flowers out of fondant. Thanks for sharing instructions!

  7. Pingback: Chocolate Layer Cake and White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe | La Mia Vita Dolce

  8. Wish you were close by. These plumeria cupcakes are exactly what I am looking for to serve at my wedding reception. Unfortunately, I won’t have time to make them. Great job,

  9. Too bad you don’t live closer. I would hire you in a minute to make the plumeria cupcakes for my wedding. Exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately not enough time to make them.

    • I used regular, standard size liners and a 1M star tip. I don’t know what size the paint brush but it doesn’t matter too much as long as it’s smaller than the petals. Hope this helps!

  10. Great looking hawaiian cupcakes. I would like to try them but could you please tell me what a stick of butter weighs?
    I live in NZ and we buy our butter in 500gm blocks so I have no idea what a stick of butter is. Thanks so much.

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