RECIPE: Kokuto Butter Cream Cupcakes

  • 3 min read

RECIPE: Kokuto Butter Cream Cupcakes

Put a Japanese twist on a classic buttercream cupcake with Kokuto (Japanese black sugar) and Black Sesame Jam! Kokuto is a special Japanese black sugar known for its rich and smoky caramel flavour. Black sesame is an oilseed known for its buttery and nutty taste. Put these two together and you'll have a rich, nutty, caramelized-flavoured buttercream cupcake that will impress any house guest!

What is Kokuto?

Kokuto is a black sugar that originates from Okinawa, Japan. This sugar boasts a deep and complex flavour palate. It balances richness, smoky caramelization, with notes of maple and licorice. The word kokuto refers to a slow cooking technique used for sugarcane crops. Unlike brown sugar, that consists of adding molasses to refined white sugar, kokuto is made by slowly boiling down natural sugarcane juice. This cooking style maintains the high nutrient profile found in natural sugarcanes. As such, this special sugar is actually considered a super health food!

What is Black Sesame?

Black sesame is a black coloured oil-seed. It boasts a rich, nutty flavour, with a full-tasting buttery mouthfeel. Across Asia, you can find black sesame in both sweet and savoury dishes. Some examples are salads, noodle dishes, filling for steam buns, and even ice cream! 

Black sesame is also considered a health food! This oilseed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin E, and zinc. These nutrients are essential for healthy hair and skin. Research has found black sesame to improve completion and aging skin!

The nutty, caramelized flavours of Kokuto and Black Sesame Jam will melt in your mouth when combined with the buttery goodness of buttercream cupcakes. You may even enjoy some of its health benefits, too!


Servings: 24 small cupcakes or 8 large cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
  • 70g softened unsalted butter
  • 70g powdered sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda (optional)
  • A little milk (about 50ml)
  1. In a bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar until it's thick and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and continue beating.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda, beating well.
  4. Gradually add the milk and mix until you get a smooth batter.
  5. Pour batter into lined muffin tins (24 for the mini cupcakes and 8 for the large ones), filling 2/3 full.
  6. In a preheated oven at 200C°, bake for 8-12 minutes for the mini cupcakes and 12-15 minutes for the large ones.


For the Kokuto Butter Cream:

  1. In a bowl, beat together the softened butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder and Kokuto and Black Sesame Jam until thick and fluffy.
  2. Add the black sesame seeds, mix well.
  3. Place the icing on the cooled cupcakes using a pastry bag.
  4. Add sesame seeds to garnish

Note: You can keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days.


Recipe courtesy of Sarah Gindroz:

Swiss born professional photographer, I’m passionate about Japan and food. I created my @loulou_ginsarah account in 2017 in order to share my love of this country with other enthusiasts. Through my account, it is important to me to discover and make people discover places, brands and products related to Japanese culture. Website:

Introduction courtesy of Tiffany Furukawa

Tiffany Furukawa

Tiffany spent her childhood exploring Japanese food in the suburbs of Tokyo and helping her Obaachan (grandmother) in the kitchen. These experiences nurtured her passion for food and she is now studying environmental sustainability and food sciences at university. In her free time, Tiffany loves discovering hidden restaurants in Japan, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and going on runs!

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