Monday, 13 September 2010

Baking Sunday: Double chocolate and raspberry cupcakes

It is National Cupcake Week! I love that National Cupcake Week exists. My boyfriend wonders who decides which food group gets specified a particular week to be celebrated but that's not really getting into the spirit of things. The spirit being - yay, cupcakes! Let's eat lots of 'em! Cupcakes are one of my favourite things to bake, there are so many flavour combinations and decoration possibilities all in one little portable treat to enjoy all by yourself.

Here's some I made earlier (for a school fete!)

Bakeries specialising in cupcakes seem to have swept off in the past few years, with originals such as Hummingbird Bakery now with a best-selling recipe book and newcomers such as Cox, Cookies & Cakes, launched by designer Patrick Cox adding serious glamour. There are a number of cupcake ordering services in Edinburgh(notably Ever So Sweet), but whilst there are some excellent bakeries that sell cupcakes, the only cupcake focused bakery I've been to is the Cupcake Caffe (which is not so much bakery as part of the Scottish Cafe) though I am more than happy to be corrected!

Chocolate and raspberry is a classic flavour combination and happens to be my boyfriend's favourite too. These are chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate raspberry icing, filled with chocolate and raspberry ganache and topped with a chocolate filled raspberry. They were pretty yummy.

Can you tell I iced them in a hurry?

The cupcake recipe is a basic chocolate one from the aforementioned Hummingbird Bakery book. It is a high sugar recipe and works well every time. I always fill the cases only halfway as they do rise quite a lot.

The icing is a basic cream cheese buttercream with raspberry puree, and I had some extra ganache so filled some spare raspberries with this and popped them on top. These are very easy to do and always seem to impress people too so worth doing if you have some ganache handy (you can store unused ganache in the freezer, I always seem to use only half the mixture every time).

Chocolate cupcakes (makes 12)

Ingredients
:
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

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
2. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and butter in a large bowl and beat on a slow speed with an electric hand mixer until well combined and a sandy consistency.
3. Whisk the egg, milk and vanilla extract together in a jug and add half to the dry mixture. Beat slowly to combine and then more quickly to beat out any lumps.
4. Add the remaining liquid mixture and beat slowly to combine. Do not overmix.
5. Transfer the mixture into the cake cases until 2/3 full (I always do half) and bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven until they spring back to the touch. A skewer inserted should come out clean.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before frosting.

White Chocolate Raspberry Icing

Ingredients:
85g white chocolate, melted and then cooled
115g cream cheese
50g butter (softened)
1 teaspoon raspberry puree (mash up a few raspberries in a bowl and then push through a sieve)
1.5 cups icing sugar

Method:
Beat cream cheese and butter in a mixer or with an electric mixer until well blended. Add cooled white chocolate and raspberry, mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Putting it all together!

1. Using a small sharp knife, cut a cone from the top of the cupcake, to halfway - important: not so it reaches the bottom. Cut off the pointy end of the cone to make a little "hat" for it.
2. Spoon a small amount of ganache inside each cupcake. Do not overfill! Put the ganache in the fridge (if you are making the chocolate filled raspberries. Replace the top of the cupcake.
3. Ice your cupcakes however you please.
4. The ganache should be less runny now - put some chocolate ganache into a piping bag and pipe directly into raspberries. Place on top of the cupcakes, admire your pretty work and then eat!

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