Smarties Cupcakes

If you grew up in the UK you might remember Nestlé smarties cupcakes. They were essentially just chocolate cupcakes, that had a layer of chocolate and a smarties on top.

I recently saw a video of someone talking about how they were discontinued years ago.

Typically, I like to stay away from anything that might remind me of my childhood. But I liked these cupcakes a lot, so I wanted to make them.

9 of the smarties cupcakes in a cupcake tin.

Video Tutorial

Ingredient for the cupcakes

Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make these cupcakes:

  • Cocoa powder – unsweetened cocoa powder is always best to use.
  • Hot water mixed with coffee – the water is going to hydrate the cocoa powder, which will bring out the chocolate flavour. The coffee will also enhance the chocolate flavour.
  • Oil – any flavourless oil works, I used vegetable.
  • Buttermilk – this is going to give the cupcakes a lot of moisture.
  • Eggs
  • Plain flour – also known as all-purpose flour.
  • Sugar – I used a mixture of both white and brown sugar. The brown sugar is going to add moistness, as well as extra flavour.
  • Baking soda – to make the cupcakes rise.
  • Vinegar – this will react with the baking soda and give you fluffier, velvety cupcakes.
  • Milk chocolate – for the top. You could use any kind of chocolate.
  • Smarties – we also need smarties….of course. I only added one on top, because the Nestlé ones only had one. But you can add as many as you want.
1 of the smarties cupcakes with the cupcake

Ingredient substitutions

There are a few ingredients that I used for these cupcakes, that I always get asked if there are any substitutes for.

So here are a few substitutes:

The coffee

Adding coffee into chocolate cake batter helps enhance the chocolaty flavour. It doesn’t make it taste like coffee at all.

But if you wanted to leave it out, you could. Just make sure to still add the hot water though.

The oil

I like to use oil, instead of butter for these. The oil just adds extra moistness.

But you could use butter if you wanted too. Just get 100g of unsalted butter and melt it!

The buttermilk

Buttermilk also gives the cupcakes extra moistness. And also, the acidity from it reacts with the baking soda as the cupcakes bake. Which helps them rise more.

If you don’t have buttermilk, plain yoghurt is the best substitute. Sour cream works too.

Or you could also make a quick buttermilk substitute but mixing together 60ml of whole milk and 1/4 tablespoon of lemon juice. Leave this aside for 10 minutes and then it’s ready to use.

This is a last resort though, actual buttermilk or plain yoghurt work best.

The vinegar

The vinegar reacts with the baking soda, which gives the cupcakes extra fluffiness and also a nice velvety texture.

I used white vinegar, apple cider vinegar works great too.

If you don’t have these, or don’t want to use them, lemon juice can be used instead.

The cupcakes after being baked.

Filling the cupcake cases

The whole process of making these cupcakes is extremely simple. I just had one tip.

For a regular degular cupcake you would typically fill the cases until they’re around 3/4 of the way full. So that once they have baked, the cupcakes reach the top of the cases.

But for these, you want there to be some room in the cupcake cases, because this is where the melted chocolate is going to go.

So make sure to only fill them about halfway, or just a little under halfway.

How to get flat cupcakes

From my experience, every chocolate cake bakes with a dome.

These cupcakes did too.

To get them flat, after they had baked, I just got something that was round and had a flat surface. I used a 1/4 cup measurement.

I just gently pressed the top of the cupcakes down with this.

This is completely unnecessary, I just wanted a flat surface so that the chocolate layer would also be flat.

But I though I should mention it, just incase you’re looking at yours and are confused why they’re not as flat as mine! 

1 of the cupcakes after being baked.

I enjoy cupcakes so I’ve made quite a few cupcake recipes. Here are some others I think you might also like:

Smarties Cupcakes

5.0 from 1 vote

Makes: 9

  • For the cupcakes:
  • 25g cocoa powder

  • 40ml hot water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

  • 100ml oil

  • 60ml buttermilk

  • 2 eggs

  • 100g plain flour

  • 60g brown sugar

  • 60g granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

  • For the chocolate topping:
  • 250g milk chocolate

  • Plus some smarties


  • Making the cupcakes:
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180c/350f. Also add your cupcake cases into your cupcake tin.
  • In a large bowl, add the cocoa powder and hot water/coffee. Whisk this until smooth.
  • Whisk the oil, buttermilk and eggs into this. Then add both sugars and flour, whisk just until you get a smooth batter.
  • In a separate small bowl, add the baking soda, then pour the vinegar over it. This mixture will start bubbling, just give it a quick mix then pour it into your batter. Whisk until incorporated.
  • Pour your batter into your cupcake cases. Normally you would fill cupcake cases around 3/4 of the way full, but for these, fill them around halfway.
  • Bake for around 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once baked, leave to cool completely.
  • Decorating the cupcakes:
  • Once your cupcake have cooled, you can add the chocolate.
  • Just melt your chocolate in the microwave, then pour some of this on top of all the cupcakes.
  • Add smarties on top of each cupcake, then leave them in the fridge so that the chocolate can set. Once set, enjoy!