Tuesday 26 February 2013

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes for a Little Party Girl

When did small girls' parties become such a big old deal? I'm not sure I know the answer to that question; but I can tell you that the food for Little Miss nearly -4s party is shaping up to be quite a big deal indeed. She is so excited that we have had to keep playing it down.
"Is it my birthday tomorrow Mummy?"
"No, not tomorrow; not for a long time yet. Don't worry we will remind you when it arrives"
"We will have party hats wont we Mummy?"
"Sure will"
"And all my Buddies will come to my party"
"Sure will"

This is the second part of my food auditioning exercise. It's one thing to bring out all the old favs, but I don't want to be making the same old thing as last year. The Man-of-the-house got me this recipe from one of his Baking Colleagues after we were lucky enough to sample them. The had intended them to be much smaller, but the mixture rose and rose. Its a great recipe for a crowd as it will makes at lease two dozen smaller cup cakes. Not sure how many actual cupcakes will be eaten, as icing licking is often the order of the day!

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Meringue Frosting

250g butter
250g dark chocolate
1 double shot of espresso coffee topped up to 185ml hot water

290g flour
10g baking powder
60g cocoa powder
2g baking soda
500g caster sugar

3 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
30ml oil
125g sour cream

Preheat the oven to 160deg. C
Combine the hot water and coffee in a double boiler; add the butter and chocolate. Melt over a low heat until smooth. Allow to cool a little.

Whisk eggs, oil and sour cream to combine - be sure to beat the lumps of sour cream out or they will show up as white spots in the mixture.

Yes that's my little kitchen helper on whisk duty!

Add sieved dry ingredients to the egg mixture with a spatula.
Lastly stir in the chocolate mixture.

Pour into the cupcake cases and bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Don't over bake or the cupcakes will be dry.

 Chocolate Butter Meringue Frosting

4 egg whites
2 cups sugar
a splash of water
4 tablespoons cocoa
500g butter

Yes this recipe is huge! But you will need it all to decorate all those cupcakes.

Beat the egg white with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Don't over beat; they shouldn't look dry.
Put the sugar into a large pot and add the water. Melt over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is melted. Stop stirring once the sugar is dissolved or the syrup will turn grainy.
Boil the sugar until it reaches 120 deg C on a sweet thermometer.
With the mixer running, gradually pour the sugar syrup onto the beaten egg whites to form an Italian meringue. Once all the syrup is added, beat for a few minutes longer until the mix starts to cool. Add the cocoa to the mix and beat again. Be careful not to start the beater too fast or the cocoa powder will fly everywhere.
Lastly add the cubed, softened butter, and beat into a soft, light butter cream.
I used a piping bag to pipe rosettes onto each cupcake. You can just spread the mixture on with a knife, but I find piping quicker and easier to get a professional finish.

Little Miss nearly-4 helped to decorate them by adding the sprinkles, and we served them to our friends for an all important taste test. I will definitely make them smaller for the party; with less mixture in each case so they don't rise over the edges.
They have made great lunch box treats this week, with plenty of icing licking opportunities. 

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