Tuesday, 23 March 2010

JJ's Birthday Cupcakes

cupcakes 1
If you're anything like me, you have about 10 blog posts half finished lying around. Whether the pictures are on flikr but the words aren't typed up, or the post is waiting to go but the pics are still sitting on my camera, there's a bunch of lost and lonely dishes just sitting there, waiting, gathering dust and probably not long for this world... (one day I'll have a sort out... One day. About 20 years from now).

Normally, the reason I forget is because whilst they were good, they weren't great. But then yesterday, I spotted that I'd totally forgotten to post these babies! And the 'not great' descirption definitely doesn't fit here. These were stunning. So here it is! The ever so slightly late post on JJ's birthday cake part deux.
cupcakes 3
Hands down, the best thing about birthdays is cake. And if you're JJ you get two birthday cakes! (well, birthday cupcakes and a birthday cake). When I asked him what cake he'd like this year to take into work, it didn't take him long to settle on cupcakes. I did mention that maybe these weren't the most masculine of choices, but he reasoned that now he's engaged, he's free to confess his love of cupcakes without any question marks over his masculinity.

And I did try and make them as manly as possible! Apparently it's the cake-to-icing ratio, ie lots of icing! I thought it was just me who had the monster sweet tooth, but apparently not...

Now, I find that you have to have a great cake and a great icing. One without the other = a sub par cupcake. So to make these puppies I did a little research and mixed two recipes - the Hummingbird Bakery chocolate cake base and the Primrose Bakery icing (both FANTASTIC cake books - the Hummingbird cake method intrigued me but the icing used cocoa not chocolate*, hence using the Primrose icing).
cupcakes 2
This was a genius combo and one I highly reccomend. As for the second birthday cake? Oh it was good. SO good. Check it out over here...

Rosy xx

Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, makes about 12 English fairy cakes or 8 American cupcakes

100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g soft unsalted butter
120ml whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
So the method is very different to how you'd normally make a cake but follow it to the letter and it'll work, I promise!
Preheat your oven to 170C and line a tin with cupcake cases.
Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On a low speed, mix until it resembles sand. This took me a fair while, so have patience if it doesn't happen instantly! Of course, this could also be because my kitchen is currently freezing cold...
Whisk the egg, milk and vanilla extract together and mix half into the flour mixture. Beat on high speed until smooth. Then add the rest of the milk and give a quick mix to combine, trying not to overmix. (I've made these a few times now and I have to say, it works fine if you have the beater on, pour in the milk slowly and then give a quick beat for a few seconds to thoroughly combine)
And that's it! How easy is that?! Just fill your cases 2/3-3/4 full and pop them in the oven for 20-25 mins until springy and a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.
Chocolate Icing
Adapted from the Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery
175g dark chocolate, melted (go for a 70% cocoa solids one if you can)
225g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tbsp milk at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g icing sugar, sifted
Melt the chocolate - any way you like! I use a pan of simmering water with a glass bowl over the top, but that's because our microwave exploded. But microwaves are great for melting chocolate - I was actually melting chocolate when ours exploded (not the cause - crappy old rental house microwave was the cause!). Anyway, melt the chocolate and then leave it to cool.
Beat together the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar. Add the melted chocolate and beat. You'll probably have to beat it for a good 5 or so mins to get the mixture to thicken but don't panic if it's not yet spreadable, just keep beating!
Spread on your cooled cupcakes and decorate as appropriate for your audience. I just attacked a bar of white chocolate with a potato peeler to get the curls.
Eat! And try to stop at 1 - I dare you...

*I've since tried the Hummingbird cookbook icing and it's also very good - less ganache and more buttercream.


  1. They look amazing. I want some right now ... oh dear!

  2. He he, I know! It's terrible how many chocolate cupcakes I could eat...

  3. I think my favorite is chocolate cake (or cupcakes) with chocolate icing! Those look fabulous!

  4. Yep, made these last night, they are indeed awesome!