Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Cake'n'Bake Wednesday: Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

It was a fairly obvious choice of a theme for December 2011, but the only one we ever could really use: "Fabulously Festive" - and so Christmas month at The Princess and the Cake continues on Cake'n'Bake Wednesday, too! I chose to make some festive cupcake selection boxes which included three types of cupcakes: Chocolate Peppermint, Gingerbread and Christmas Cake. Here's the first recipe in the trio of delights I created - the Chocolate Peppermint variety!

I was a bit cheeky this time round, and decided to do a whole bunch of baking all in one go for Cake'n'Bake Club, but also for friends, family and colleagues' Christmas pressies! I ended up making 24 of each variety, so I've halved the quantities below, however don't be surprised if you end up with slightly more mixture than required for 12 cupcakes (as I recall I had a little bit left over for each!)

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Baking time 12-15 minutes
Makes around 12-14 cupcakes 

65g cocoa powder
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
60ml water
60ml milk (plus up to 60ml more for the filling/frosting, if required)
75g butter or margarine
150g granulated sugar
1 medium egg
100g box of "peppermint thins" (After Eights)
150g vegetable shortening
250g icing sugar
Peppermint flavouring, to taste
Sprinkles to decorate

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together into a bowl and put to one side. In a second bowl or jug, mix together the water and 60ml of the milk. In a third (and final - I promise!) bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and beat until combined to form a smooth batter.
  3. Fold half of the dry ingredients mixture into the batter, then add the milk and water, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, stirring until combined between each addition.
  4. Spoon a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into each cupcake case and bake for 12 - 15 mins until firm and spongy. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Whilst the cupcakes are cooling begin to prepare your filling. Bring a pan of water to the boil, then reduce the heat as low as it will go. Put the peppermint thins into a glass bowl and rest this in the pan of boiling water, being careful not to get any water into the bowl. Stir this continuously until the mints have melted. They will probably form a gloopy ball at this stage, don't worry! Keeping the bowl in the hot water, stir milk into the chocolate a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency (it should be a ganache-like mixture, smooth enough to pipe but not too runny). Place this into a piping bag and put to one side to cool slightly.
  6. Cut a well into the centre of each cupcake, pipe a generous amount of the chocolate peppermint ganache into the well, then replace the top of the cupcake. (Don't worry if these stick up a little, that will be hidden by the frosting!)
  7. Once the cakes are completely cool, make your frosting by mixing the icing sugar into the shortening a little at a time. If your frosting is too stiff, add a little milk until it reaches the desire consistency, then add a few drops of peppermint flavouring. Spread or pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes, then finish with sprinkles.
  8. Take a big bite of one of them, just to make sure they are super tasty ;-)

Happy Thoughts

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