How to: Double Swirl Chocolate Cupcakes

October 22, 2008 at 7:33 PM | Posted in cupcakes, how-to | 22 Comments

T and I are both involved with his school alot. We go to the football and basketball games, winter formal, prom, club activities etc etc and of course I always come bearing cupcakes. There’s nothing like cupcakes to make any loss feel like a victory right?

Since I have a bit of a “cupcake lady” reputation at his school now, I am getting more and more orders for cupcakes. I love baking for school events and it totally rocks if I can get paid too! Score!

My most recent cupcake order were simple chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for the water polo team ordered by the assistant coach to surprise the team. The cupcakes were served at a rally a couple days before the big game against our rivals. I guess we don’t have the greatest record against them so she thought some custom cupcakes would raise the team’s school spirit. Of course I was happy to oblige!

I decided to bust out some dual color frosting (scroll down for how-to pictures and instructions) to resemble the school colors and also made some custom toppers of the school logo and mascot.

… and guess what?

Our team won! ::doing the robot-chicken dance::

It’s the power of the cupcake. Did you really have any doubts? HAHA

(Recipe adapted from Beantown Baker | photos from me!)

Makes about 12-15 cupcakes (I doubled and got 25)


1-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vinegar

For “school colors” buttercream
2 sticks butter
7 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

blue and yellow food coloring gel (I used Wilton royal blue and golden yellow)


To make cupcakes—
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cupcake tin with foil or paper liners and set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a 2-cup measuring cup, measure and mix together the oil, water, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix the batter with a fork or a small whisk. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and the vinegar are reacting. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Working quickly, distribute the batter into the foil- or paper-lined 12-cupcake tin. If you have leftover batter (depending on how high you fill the liners) you can make a few extra cupcakes by using a few foil liners on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes. Set the cupcakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool in pan, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

To make buttercream—
Beat butter until creamy, scrape bowl. Add 5 cups of sifted powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, beat until combined. Add more powdered sugar until you get to the consistency you want (not too stiff so that its hard to pipe)

Take out half of the buttercream and using blue food coloring, tint to desired shade.

Add yellow food coloring, tint to desired shade, to the remaining buttercream.

To assemble cupcakes—
Frost cupcakes using 1M star tip and the Saran method.

Saran Wrap Method: Special thanks to Andrea for sharing her saran wrap instructions and pics!
Take a piece of plastic wrap about 8″-10″ long. With a spatula, take a bit of frosting and place it in the center 1″ away from the edge.

Take one side of the plastic wrap and fold it over to the next side matching up the edge – your frosting will now be enclosed on the side of the plastic wrap.

Roll the plastic from where the frosting is to the edges. Twist the free end of the wrap. Tie off in a knot.

Insert the plastic “tube” of icing into the decorating bag.

Repeat Saran method for multiple frosting colors.


Husband rating: N/A

Wifey rating: N/A

Other rating: A
The team liked the cupcakes alot. I think the coach told me their exact words were “These cupcakes are tight!” HAHA. Some cupcake eaters mentioned they preferred my usual go-to chocolate recipe over this new one but overall I got raves from the team, coaches and parents.



  1. That’s a great idea for piping different colours

  2. Perhaps it’s because I’m reading this post before my morning coffee, or perhaps I’m just really thick…but after you put the plastic tube of icing in the decorating bag do you then fill the bag with the other color icing? I’m guessing so. But for the first five minutes I was thinking “how does putting a bag in another bag give you two colors, must be some kind of magic!”

    They look really great by the way!

  3. MINKO, I think so too! I’d never heard of the saran method until Andrea emailed me about it. But it totally helps keep the colors from mixing and you get separate distinct colors that way.

    JOELI, HAHA. You’re exactly right. If you want to pipe multiple colors you can repeat the steps with other colors or just do one color in the saran wrap and put the other color directly in the piping bag. Sorry I didn’t make that more clear. I think I was 1/2 falling asleep when I wrote it last night ;) Next time I do the multi color swirl I’ll take pics to make it more clear.

  4. HA HA! I was super confused about that too Joeli. I thought it was some sort of Clara magic!

  5. Ok I knew what you meant because I can read your mind, but having only one color in the pics makes it super confusing.

    I still prefer the put one color in one side of the bag and the other color in the other side of the bag method. It’s less work and it’s more swirly if that makes sense

  6. APRIL, Ok yeah. I like that better. Its Clara magic.

    NIKKI, Speaking of lazy. I would have use my own pictures doing the multicolor saran frosting but… I was lazy. It happens.

  7. hehe crabs hehe

  8. I had seen you do the swirl method before, but I came across the swirl method my accident with my Halloween cupcakes, because we only had one icing bag, so the colors got mixed and swirled when I added a different color to the bag.

    Love it though! :D

  9. GO TEAM, GO!!! Good job! I’m positive it was the dual colored frosting and DELISH cupcakes! Thanks for the frosting “how to photos”!!!!!

  10. They look great! I’ll have to try your method of swirling frosting. I’ve never managed to get that one right…

  11. JULIE, Thats how I do it too – put 2 colors in the bag at the same time. I love dual swirls. I usually don’t mind if the colors mix but when I need it to stay 2 distinct colors I use the saran method to keep them separate. Can I just tell you that I am psyched you entered my contest?? :)

    INGRID, No problem! I am a visual learner so I appreciate lots and lots of pictures too.

    JEN, Definitely give it a try. It does take time but I love that the saran method gives you very distinct colors instead of mixing at the end. No blue+yellow=green for me! HAHA

  12. Fantastic method! I always wondered how the pro’s did that! Thanks for making it so clear, will have to try it out soon as I have a birthday boy turning 9 next week.

  13. I also do what I consider the ‘lazy ass’ way where I just scoop one color down the side of the bag and then the other color down the other side of the bag. It doesn’t make for ‘perfect’ 1/2 and 1/2 but it is also more fun that way since each is unique..!

  14. That’s a great method!! Love how they turned out, very nice!

  15. ROBINSUE, So glad the process pictures help. Happy early birthday to your boy! They grow up so fast…

    MARA, I do that too. I get lazy. Alot. HAHA.

    NIKITA, Thanks! I love me some swirls…

  16. oh kewl! i nvr knew the saran wrap method before!

  17. DOROTHY, I hadn’t heard of it either so I figured I’d share on my blog for anyone else who was interested. :)

  18. Thank you!! I will be trying your method this weekend and next for a couple birthday parties. :)

  19. Thank you for all your ideas and pictures!! I just discovered your blog and bookmarked it right away!! :) Question, did you use a 1M tip for this frosting? Or something larger? :) You may check out my flickr here:

  20. JENNIFER, Thank you for sweet compliments. Let me know how it goes for your upcoming birthday/party events! Answer: I believe it was my 1M tip for this cupcake. But I’ve also been using my Magic Tip 7ST too if I want a larger swirl. Will check out flickr link :)

  21. where do you get those cupcake liners?

  22. Hello Jenn, I buy the “Party Nut Cups” from Smart & Final. I’m not sure where you live but you can go to their website and see if they have a location near you. It comes in a package of 500 for $5. What a deal! Hope that helps!

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