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A very good use for Matchmakers...

Xanthe Milton, also known as the Cookie Girl, shares one of her favourite Bonfire night recipes...

These look wonderfully dramatic, and although it may seem extravagant to use four boxes of Matchmakers, the wow factor will be worth it. The easiest way to deal with these is to eat the Matchmakers before moving on to the cake. Makes 12.


  • 1⁄2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • 110ml full-fat milk
  • 110g plain flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 55g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg

For the icing:

  • 110g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 110g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp red food colouring paste
  • 4 packets of Matchmakers


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a 12-hole non-stick muffin tin with paper cake cases. Add the lemon juice or vinegar to the milk and set it to one side to allow the milk to curdle. Sift the flour, bicarbonate and cocoa in a bowl and set aside.

2. Cream the butter and half the sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the egg, followed by the rest of the sugar. Follow this with a third of the cocoa mixture, then a third of the soured milk; keep alternating until you have used up all the mixtures.

3. Divide the mixture between the cases. Place in the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until firm and springy to the touch. Remove to a wire rack and leave to cool.

4. Beat together the butter and cream cheese for the icing until smooth. Add the icing sugar a third at a time and continue to mix, adding the vanilla and then the red food colouring to achieve a strong red colour.

5. Turn the cupcakes upside down and remove their paper cases. Using a butter knife or spatula, cover the cakes (still upside down) in red icing. Build up the icing on the cakes and create high peaks.

6. While the icing is still soft, press in the ‘logs’ (Matchmakers) which you can break to fit. Some should be higher than the cake and you can use the shorter pieces to fill in the gaps. The iced peak should show just over the top of the logs to give the impression of a flame.

:: This recipe is taken from Xanthe Milton's book, Eat Me: The Stupendous Self-Raising World of Cupcakes and Bakes, According to the Cookie Girl