Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Despite the long title these are simple, and quick to make and most of all sumptuous!

SONY DSC

Makes 12

4oz Unsalted butter – room temperature

4oz Sugar

1oz 80% cocoa chocolate

2 Large cold eggs

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

3 1/2 oz All purpose flour

1/2 Cocoa powder

1/2 tsp Baking soda

1/2 tsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

100ml (1/3 cup) Heavy cream

Pre heat the over to 330 degrees F. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with cupcake liners. I like the use the fluted brioche papers. I think  they provide some extra support to the batter in the oven.

Cut the butter into cubes and put in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add in the sugar and cream together on medium until fluffy.

Melt the chocolate, and mix into the butter and sugar.

Crack the 2 eggs into a cup and beat a little, measure the vanilla extract and mix in with the eggs. Add this to the main bowl and beat on high until smooth.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt. Sift these into the mixer bowl. With the mixer on low beat until the dry ingredients are only just combined.

Pour in the cream and mix until the batter has an even consistency.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the liners. Do not over fill the liners, a slightly heaped scoop is all you need. Ensure all the batter is out of the scoop and in the liner before moving on to the next cupcake.

Place on the bottom shelf of the oven and set the timer for 22 minutes, they may need a little longer, but keep a close eye on them

Leave to cool and then ice and decorate.

Cupcakes

Someone’s Happy. Nom nom nom.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 Eggs

8oz sugar

Pinch of salt

12oz unsalted butter room temperature

3oz White chocolate

Bring a small pan with a little water to a boil over medium heat.

In the meantime, separate the eggs very carefully. You need to measure 1/4 pint of egg whites. There may be some left over, don’t be tempted to just chuck this in with the rest. Save them or discard them.

Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer.

Place the bowl on top of the pan of boiling water and stir with a whip until the egg whites are ot and the sugar has dissolved. Scrape down any sugar around the side of the bowl. Keep stirring if you don’t  the egg whites will settle and start to cook like an omlette.

Remove and attach to the mixer. Beat on slow until cold.

When the meringue is cold add the butter a little at a time.  Beating until it’s incorporated.

Increase the speed a little and beat until smooth.

Melt the chocolate and steadily pour in, beating until incorporated.

You’ll have enough to cover about 24 cupcakes. The remainder of the icing will keep in the fridge for a while.

Enjoy, f.

Espresso Cake

When I first told Marie that she would be the judge at my coffee cake cake off she had no idea that I meant an espresso cake. That is because my idea of coffee cake and hers were different. Mine being the English idea; a cake flavoured and tasting of coffee and Marie’s, the American idea; cake you eat with coffee (I told her mine could also be eaten as an accompaniment to coffee) that has strusely bits on top.  Anyway, we’ve both been educated and now to the important part. If you like coffee and you like cake, then give this recipe a try.

For the cake part;Espresso cake

12 oz sugar

8 oz plus 4oz unsalted butter

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

4 Tbsp instant espresso powder

1/4 cup boiling water

1/2 cup butter milk

3 Tbsp  plus 3 Tbsp camp coffee

3 large eggs

12 oz all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

Espresso cake

These are my best friends when it comes to needing a caffeine fix in a pinch, if you can’t find camp coffee or its equivalent mix 1 tablespoon of instant espresso and 1 teaspoon of sugar with about 1½ tablespoons of boiling water, you want it the consistency of syrup.

Preheat the oven to 350°

Espresso cake

Beat together the sugar and 8 oz of butter until it is a glorious creamy emulsion

Time to put the kettle on

Espresso cake

Melt the other 4oz of butter in saucepan over a moderate heat

Espresso cakeEspresso cake

Sprinkle in the cocoa powder …                                                                                        …and whisk, whisk, whisk

Espresso cake

Dissolve your instant espresso and whisk into the melted butter mixture. Turn off the heat and put to one side.

Espresso cake

Into a jug, measure out the buttermilk, add in the camp coffee. Thick treacle like coffee concentrate

Espresso cake

Pretty swirls, to this add your eggs

Espresso cake

Yolky delight, with my reflection trapped inside

Mix this together well

Espresso cakeEspresso cake

Remember the melted butter mixture? Well grab that and pour it into the buttermilk mix, and then beat into the creamed butter and sugar

Espresso cake

The mix may separate, but fear not, once you add the dry ingredients it’ll work itself out. Speaking of which..

Espresso cake

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl

Espresso cake

Slowly incorporate the dry into the wet ingredients, don’t over mix them

Espresso cakeEspresso cakePrepare your pans; I grease and flour mine, but also line the bottom with parchment paper

Distribute the batter evenly, OK, so you don’t have to be as anal as me and measure it on a scale. I just like even halves that’s all

Bake in the oven, on the middle shelf for about 3o minutes, remember though that this is the baking time for my oven and yours will vary so keep an eye on the cake

When the cake is done, place on a baking rack, allow to cool for a few minutes and the remove from the pan and take the parchment off the bottom.

Espresso cake

While the cake is still warm drizzle the remaining camp coffee evenly over the two sponges.

Espresso cake

While they’re cooling completely, make the icing and ganache.

ICINNG

4 oz  Salted butter      Espresso cake

6 oz Icing (confectioners) sugar

3 tsp instant coffee

1 tbsp milk

Beat together the butter and icing sugar until smooth. If you beat to fast too soon you’ll end up with a sugar cloud like I did. Loosen with  a little milk until you have a spreadable consistency.

Sprinkle in the instant coffee and mix in, you don’t want the grounds to dissolve.

Espresso cake

Crunchy bitter coffee granules waiting to slowly dissolve into the sweet creamy icing

Espresso cake

Spread it generously

Espresso cake

Top with the other half and push down gently, If the butter cream oozes out scoop up with your fingers and lick off. You could do that, or you can smooth it back in the gap between the layers. It’s good enough to eat right here, but why not guild the lily? Here’s how…

GANACHE

4 Tbsp instant espresso

1 pint of heavy cream

1½ pounds of dark chocolate

Break the chocolate up  and put in a bowl, I use the one for my stand mixer. Set a pan with a little water in the bottom and the store to boil.

Take ¼ cup from the pint of cream and warm in the microwave for about a minute, dissolve the coffee in this.

Espresso cake

Mix back in  with the rest of the cream and pour onto the chocolate

Espresso cake

Put the bowl over the pan of simmering water and whisk the    chocolate and cream together until all the lumps are gone and you are left with a beautiful glossy velvet blanket of warm ganache.

Let this stand for 5 minutes and then whisk to remove any hidden lumps.Cool to room temperature, you shouldn’t try to rush the cooling by putting the ganache in the fridge as the outside will cool more quickly and set, then you’ll have lumps in the ganache.

Once cool, beat with a paddle on a medium speed until it has lightened. A word of caution, if you leave the ganache too long, it will seize up. If this should happen add some cream little by little beating slowly until it’s  spreadable.

Now cover the cake with it and cut yourself a slice, you deserve it. If like me you are a bowl and beater licker, you might have to wait.

Espresso cake

Hear what Marie had to say about it and more on the subject of coffee, listen to our third podcast ‘The love of the bean’.

Commander cupcakes

Cobra Commander here, proceed with Cupcake mission, that's an order!

Cobra Commander here, proceed with Cupcake mission, that's an order!

So this all week Cobra Commander is in the woods, executing “Operation Green Paper”.  At the request of several of his comrades I was set a mission; “Please bake something.”  I chose to accept my mission,so here are the results;

Mission Commander Cupcakes;  Makes about 18 cupcakes

White chocolate Swiss meringue butter cream – indulgence doesn’t go much deeper than this!!

1/4 pint of egg whites, about 4 eggs. Save to yolks for later

8 oz sugar

A pinch of salt

Oh so creamy

Oh so creamy

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature & cut into cubes

3 oz white chocolate, melted

Set a pan of water on the stove to simmer away gently.

Whisk, whisk, whisk

Whisk, whisk, whisk

Put the egg whites, sugar and salt into a bowl.

I use the mixing bowl of my

Sweet, frothy, slimy

Sweet, frothy, slimy

kitchen aid  because later this requires a lot of whipping. Put the bowl over the simmering water and whisk, with a hand whisk, until the sugar dissolves and the whites are hot. Keep whisking, the last thing you want is scrambles egg whites.

Only when the meringue is cold can you whip in the butter.  Add a little at a time, whipping on the second speed until all the butter is incorporated. Then increase to the third speed add the white chocolate and  beat until smooth.

Thick glossy white, can it get any better?

Thick glossy white, can it get any better?

Yes, it can.. add the butter and chocolate

Yes, it can.. add the butter and chocolate

An oven preheated to 325° is a very useful thing.

Chocolate coconut cupcakes;DSCF1383

6 oz unsalted butter, room temperature

6 oz sugar

125 ml coconut milk

1 tsp camp coffee

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 oz dark chocolate, melted (I use green and blacks 70% cocoa, because I love it)

8 oz flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

5 oz sweetened coconut flakes

Yes the list of ingredients is rather long, but it requires practically no effort. Let’s get started!

In a mixing bowl cream  together the butter and sugar, they are one. Combine all the liquid ingredients and add these to the mix. The batter may look curdled, but not to worry, increase the speed and beat it into a smooth submission.

Reduce the speed and add in the egg yolks and melted chocolate.

In a separate bowl whisk all the dry ingredients together. Add half of this to the wet ingredients, beating slowly, just until all the flour is mixed in. Still beating on a slow speed add in the coconut.

Rich chocolatey batter, sweet flaked coconut

Rich chocolatey batter, sweet flaked coconut

Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again.

Stir in the other half of the flour mix by hand. Make sure to dig deep and get to the bottom of the bowl.

Line a cupcake tin with papers, I found camouflage ones to give the men in uniform . Distribute the batter evenly between them.

Protect the papers men!

Protect the papers men!

OK, I was super anal and used a cookie dough scoop to do this, I put three scoops into each paper. If you wanted the cupcakes to be bigger you could do four scoops, but I had to make it  stretch a bit. I was making them for what felt like enough for a whole battalion!!

Sitting pretty, waiting for their date with the oven.

Sitting pretty, waiting for their date with the oven.

How make scoops would you like?

How make scoops would you like?

Throw them into the over and give them about 15 minutes, check with a skewer. If it comes out clean there ready. I never use a time and due to my terrible memory always forget to look at the clock when I put things into the oven. So I have to rely on the smell test. When I start smelling them I go have a peek.

Just your average days baking at The Croakery

Just your average days baking at The Croakery

Remove, cool, ice, indulge!!

OK men, brace yourselves........they will eat you alive

OK men, brace yourselves........they will eat you alive