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Lily Vanilli Fairtrade Devil's Food Ale Cakes

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“With Fairtrade Fortnight right around the corner, what better time to try out some delicious and unusual baked treats created especially for the occasion by cupcake queen Lily Vanilli. These are so delicious that you'll want to bake them all year round, but I think they taste even better during Fairtrade Fortnight! The FAIRTRADE Mark is the only independent consumer label that ensures farmers in developing countries receive an agreed and stable price for the crops they grow. Choosing Fairtrade versions of everyday staples such as tea, coffee and sugar needn't cost you much more (and in the case of the Tate & Lyle cane sugars I've specified, there is no price premium), but will make a massive difference to the lives of the farmers and their families!”
8-10 cupcakes

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 115 g unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)
  • 45 g divine fairtrade cocoa
  • 155 g fairtrade ale (Honey Ale)
  • 170 g organic plain flour (sifted)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 23 teaspoon baking soda
  • 225 g tate & lyle fairtrade caster sugar
  • 1 large free-range organic egg (at room temperature)
  • 100 ml organic buttermilk
  • 12 paper, cupcake cases
  • Frosting
  • 85 g/ 3 fl.ozs. Fairtrade honey ale (3/8 cup)
  • 15 g fairtrade cocoa
  • 115 g unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)
  • 340 g tate & lyle fairtrade icing sugar
  • 12 teaspoon fairtrade vanilla essence
  • handful toasted fairtrade brazil nut (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Bring ale to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa.
  3. Leave to cool until it reaches room temperature.
  4. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixture until very light and fluffy (about 5 mins).
  6. Add the egg and beat until just incorporated.
  7. Beat in the cooled ale/cocoa mixture.
  8. Add the sifted dry mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk in two parts - beginning and ending with the dry and beating after each addition.
  9. Spoon the batter into a baking tray lined with cupcake cases (2/3 of the way full).
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  11. Cool briefly in the pans and then transfer to a wire rack until cooled completely.
  12. Frosting.
  13. Boil ale in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa.
  14. Allow to cool completely - transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge if necessary.
  15. Beat the butter until smooth Add the vanilla, ale/cocoa mixture and half the icing sugar and continue to beat.
  16. Gradually add all of the sugar - beating continuously until you reach a consistency you like.
  17. Spread onto cooled cupcakes and top with shavings of Fairtrade.
  18. chocolate and Brazil nuts.

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