Thursday, 30 January 2014

Burns Night Themed Chocolate Cupcakes

Well readers, I’ve been getting bake-a-licious again.   Last weekend was a fundraiser for a local children’s cancer charity, which I closely support.  So I offered up six boxes of my finest (!) cupcakes for the tombola. As a side point, I’d like to add that the event was in aid of TCCL and that over £2,000 was raised on the night, so I guess the cakes must have been ok!!!

I’m normally a vanilla kind of girl (no sniggering at the back please…) and I’ve found a foolproof recipe for vanilla cupcakes, which I’ve posted here.  It’s never let me down so far, so I’ve stuck with it.

However, seeing as I planned to gift these cakes, I figured I better make an attempt to impress the crowd and roll out a chocolate cupcake recipe.  Thank you so much to the lovely person at All Recipes UK, who posted this fab recipe, which you will find here.

I made some minor adjustments, relating to temperature and cooking time, according to my oven, which I’ve noted below, but pretty much worked with the original recipe, which was fantastic.

I ended up making a batch of vanilla and a batch of chocolate (just in case one went wrong) but ended up with 30 edible cakes, which I boxed up and gifted.

I used my usual buttercream recipe (it’s here) but also adapted it to create a chocolate version which I’ve posted below.  Oh and to finish, used some printed rice paper Scottish motifs which I got online.  

I may not be “Chieftan of the puddin’ race” – Scottish joke – look it up – but I may have ended up the “Chieftan of the Chocolate Cake” this time round.  New title perhaps?!

And today's hints and tips...
  • Don't underestimate the power of a hand mixer when making buttercream.  Softened butter + mixer = easy to cream!  Be cautious when adding icing sugar to start - you may end up with snowstorm.
  • Keep an eye on your cakes in the oven - it's not always easy to see when chocolate cake mix is burning
  • Use the chocolate recipe as a basis for a chocolate birthday cake - just scale up according to your tin size, keeping everything in proportion. 

Chocolate Cupcakes adapted from All Recipes 

Makes 18 cakes (in large cases)
Cake Ingredients
60g Cadbury Bourneville cocoa powder
7 dessert spoons boiling hot water
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
120g self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients
Approximate ingredients to pipe 18 cakes
100g unsalted butter
280g icing sugar
100g good quality chocolate
1 x disposable piping bag
1 x Wilton 1M nozzle (my favourite)

Cake Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ Fan 180c / Gas Mark 4. Line 2 - 12 hole bun trays with colourful cupcake cases.
  2. Sift the cocoa into a large bowl; add 7 dessert spoons of boiling water and mix into a thick chocolate syrup, adding more water if you need to. Add the softened butter, sugar, self-raising flour, baking powder and eggs. Mix with electric beaters until smooth and evenly mixed.

    Seriously fluffy mixture! Possibly my best batter ever!
  3. Spoon ½ dessert spoons of the mixture into the paper cases, filling them 3/4 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the sponge mixture has risen and the cupcakes spring back when you touch them. Insert a metal skewer – if it comes out clean, cakes are ready.
  4. Remove from the oven; cool on a wire rack before decorating.

Chocolate Buttercream Method
  1. Melt 100g of good quality chocolate in a glass bowl, over a pan of barely simmering water, ensuring the water does not touch the bowl.
  2. Stir until melted, then remove from heat and do not use until it’s no longer hot to the touch.
  3. Beat the butter until smooth, using an electric mixer and slowly add in the icing sugar, creaming into the mix as you go, using the mixer.  I tend to taste as I go, to make sure it’s not too buttery.  You can add more icing sugar, to your taste, but make sure it’s still smooth enough to be piped (not too thick).
  4. Pour in the cooled, melted chocolate and using your mixer, combine all ingredients together, until you have a smooth chocolate buttercream. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of milk, to loosen it.
  5. Spoon the mix into a disposable piping bag, fitted with a nozzle. 
  6. Make sure cakes are cool, then pipe swirls over each cake, in a circular motion.
  7. Decorate with further cake d├ęcor if required.
  8. Pop in an airtight container (or eat immediately)
Vanilla and blue buttercream icing

All ready to box up (sorry - not the best styled photo!)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

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