Millionaire’s Cupcakes

When one dessert transforms into another, you know you’re onto a winner. I’ve long been a lover of millionaire’s shortbread, the triple layered confectionery of buttery biscuit, gooey caramel and rich chocolate, a true masterpiece of delight. As a child, I didn’t think anything could compare to that winning combination but, as of late, I’ve developed a real thing for cupcakes. Their playful essence and charming appearance has captivated my attention and forced other less decorated treats out of the lime light. But, the wonderful thing about cupcakes is that they have the ability to take on whatever, shape, form or flavour you desire and so I saw no reason why I couldn’t fuse my old favourite with my new and create these beautiful millionaire’s cupcakes that capture the brilliance of both.

Millionaire's Cupcakes

Millionaire's Cupcakes

These millionaire’s cupcakes are both smart, like their shortbread parent, yet full of fun and flair as every cupcake should be. With a rich chocolate sponge, crumbly shortbread topping and sweet surprise caramel centre, they epitomise indulgence.

Millionaire's Cupcakes



Makes 12 large cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons date syrup (sub maple syrup or honey)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 50g coursely grated 70% dark chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons of chia seeds whisked with 9 tablespoons of almond milk (allow to thicken for 10 minutes)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

For the shortbread

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 heaped tablespoon buckwheat flour or oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (solid but soft)
  • 1 teaspoon water

For the caramel

  • 6 medjool dates (soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of cashew butter or peanut butter
  • Salt to taste


Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.

For the cupcakes

Begin by blending together the chia seed mixture, date syrup, and coconut oil. Place to one side.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the almond flour, buckwheat flour, rice flour, cacao powder, dark chocolate and salt. Then, add the blended mixture and stir in, gradually pouring in the additional almond milk as you mix to form a thick chocolatey batter that should drip slowly from the spoon. Add extra almond milk if too dry.

Add the baking powder and soda in one spot on top and pour the apple cider vinegar directly over it. Allow to fizz for 30 seconds before stirring into the batter.

Line or grease a muffin tin, then distribute the batter evenly into the holes. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until you can insert a knife in the centre and it comes out clean. Make your shortbread in the meantime.

For the shortbread

Simply sift together the flours into a bowl and add the maple syrup and coconut oil. Use your fingers to crumble the mixture together and add the water to help it hold together. Shape into a ball.

Roll out a little grease-proof paper onto a clean surface and sprinkle a little extra buckwheat flour on top. Place the shortbread ball in the centre and press down to flatter. Use a rolling pin to roll out the shortbread dough until around 2mm thick. Then, either with a small square-shaped biscuit cutter or a sharp knife, cut out small shortbread squares. Roll and repeat until you have used up all the dough.

Prick four small holes into the centre of shortbread (don’t go all the way through) then place on a lined baking tray and place in the oven for 8 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges and hardened.

Allow both your cupcakes and shortbread to cool completely while you make the caramel.

For the caramel

Simply place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth (continue tasting and adding salt until it reaches your preferred flavour).

Assemble the cupcakes

To assemble, take a small round object (I used a canape cutter) and push down a hollow around 1/2 way deep into the centre of the cake. Fill the hole with some of the caramel, allowing it to overflow just slightly, then stick one of the shortbread squares on top. Drizzle some extra caramel over the top. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Take the leftover shortbread squares and place them in a small plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to crush the shortbread into crumbs, then sprinkle these over the top of your cupcakes.


Millionaire's Cupcakes


Maxine Ali