Monday, July 30, 2007

Some cupcakes

Last weekend a friend of ours had his thirtieth birthday. I thought it would be fun to give him 30 cupcakes instead of a regular cake. I figured as long as cupcakes come in batches of 12, I may as well try three different kinds. These were the ones I narrowed it down to, they are all from Nigella Lawson. She is totally my go-to-girl for any kind of cake. I love her recipes.

All of these were really easy to make, and really fast too. I made all of these on the morning of the party, and was ready to go at 10:00am, so any one batch could easily fit into anyone’s schedual.

The chocolate cherry cupcakes were interesting because they were incredibly rich, but the icing was actually kind of bitter because I used such dark chocolate. I thought that the slight bitter chocolate taste really took the edge off the richness nicely. And they look really pretty.

The Banana cherry chocolate cupcakes were really much more like muffins. Still very yummy, but the lack of frosting definitely makes them more muffin then cupcake.

The cappuccino muffins were hands down the best of the bunch. They were the favorite all around. The cupcake is espresso flavored, very much so in fact, and the frosting is white chocolate. They went together so perfectly. These were just so good, and with the dusting of chocolate on the top, they were gorgeous too.

Here are the recipes:

Chocolate cherry cupcakes
125g soft unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
300g morello cherry jam
150g caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten
150g self raising flour

For the icing:
100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
12 natural colored glace cherries

Preheat to 180c
Put the butter in a heavy bottomed pan on the heat to melt. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the cherry jam, sugar salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon, and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour.
Scrape and pour into the muffin papers in their tin and bake for 25 min. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 min before turning out.
When the cupcakes are cool, break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then whisk – by hand or electrically – till thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon, and stand a cherry in the center of each.
Makes 12

Cappuccino Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
125g self-raising flour
125g soft unsalted butter
125g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking powder
1 heaped tbsp instant espresso
2-3 tbsp milk
For the icing:
160g white chocolate
60g butter
120g sour cream
260g icing sugar, sieved
scant tsp cocoa powder
12-bun muffin tin with paper cases

Preheat to 200c
Put all the cupcake ingredients except for the milk in to the food processor and blitz to combine. Pulse again, adding milk down the funnel to form a batter with a soft, dropping consistency. Spoon into the papers in their tin and bake for about 20 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
When they are completely cold, get on with the icing. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler, and after it’s cooled a little, stir in the sour cream. Gradually beat in the sieved icing sugar, and if the consistency isn’t right for icing , add either hot water to thin or more sieved icing sugar to thicken. Spread roughly and generously over the top of each cupcake, and then dust sparingly with cocoa, by pressing a little through a tea strainer, so that they look like little cups of chocolate dusted cappuccino.
Makes 12

Banana Cherry and white chocolate cupcakes
125g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas
60ml (4tbsp) sour cream
2 large eggs
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp baking powder
300g plain flour
40g dried cherries, chopped
50g white chocolate, chopped, or buttons

Preheat to 180c
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then off the heat, add the sugar vanilla and soft bananas, mashing them with a fork in the pan. Stir in the sour cream and the eggs and – still using your fork or a wooden spoon if you prefer – beat to mix. Add the bicarb and the baking powder, and stir in as well, then finally, stir in the flour, cherries and chocolate.
When the mixture’s just blended, divide between the 12 muffin cases and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and springy on top. Remove the cupcakes in their papers to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Makes 12

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