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Lily’s Fairtrade Devil’s Food Ale Cakes

Fairtrade Devils Food Ale Cakes recipe

Fairtrade Fortnight starts on Monday (22 Feb-7 March), so I’ve brought you an additional treat in the shape of these delicious and unusual cupcakes created especially for the occasion by cupcake queen Lily Vanilli. These are so tasty that you’ll want to bake them all year round, but I think they taste even better during Fairtrade Fortnight! Choosing Fairtrade over regular versions makes a massive difference to the lives of developing world farmers and their families!

Fairtrade ingredients can be found in the majority of supermarkets. Some, like the Tate & Lyle Fairtrade that sugar I specify, don’t even cost any more than regular sugar…no excuse not to switch!

Serves 6

  • 155g Fairtrade ale (Honey Ale)
  • 45g Divine Fairtrade cocoa
  • 170g organic plain flour, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 tsp baking soda
  • 115g unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)
  • 225g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade caster sugar
  • 1 large free-range, organic egg (at room temperature)
  • 3 fl oz (3/8 cup) organic buttermilk
  • 12 paper cupcake cases


  • 85g/3 fl oz (3/8 cup) – Fairtrade honey ale
  • 15g Fairtrade cocoa
  • 115g Unsalted organic butter (at room temperature)
  • 340g Tate & Lyle Fairtrade icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Fairtrade vanilla essence
  • Small bar Fairtrade chocolate to decorate
  • Handful toasted Fairtrade Brazil nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180c

Bring the ale to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa. Leave to cool until it reaches room temperature.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy (about 5 mins). Add the egg and beat until just incorporated.

Beat in the cooled ale/cocoa mixture.

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.

Spoon the batter into a baking tray lined with cupcake cases (2/3 full) and bake in a preheated oven for 15 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cool briefly in the pans and then transfer to a wire rack until cooled completely.


Boil the ale in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa. Allow to cool completely – transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge if necessary.

Beat the butter until smooth. Add the vanilla, ale/cocoa mixture and half the icing sugar and continue to beat. Gradually add all of the sugar – beating continuously until you reach a consistency you like.

Spread onto cooled cupcakes and top with shavings of Fairtrade chocolate and Brazil nuts.

About Recipe

Emma Burnaby has written 2 posts on this blog.

Fairtrade fanatic, mother of two, avid kitchenista!

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for this recipe and delicious photo. Looking forward to Fairtrade fortnight!

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