Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A happy accident which gave birth to these downright tasty, if somewhat radioactive-looking, beauties.

Mint Choc Chip Cupcakes

So in my first foray into food blogging, my initial plans were to make THIS recipe for buttercream filled cupcakes which I came across on google. I have to confess I generally find cupcakes, despite their recent revival, to the extent that any trendy vintage teashop worth their Royal Albert would not open their doors without several platters of them on display, generally taste quite dull. However, this recipe’s initial description, along with enticing picture, pushed all my sugar-coated buttons. A cupcake filled with buttercream AND coated in chocolate is, without a doubt, the kind of jazz my cupcakes would be playing. However, on further reading it swiftly transpired that if you actually followed this recipe word for word then you would just end up with buttercream iced cupcakes with no creamy filling whatsoever. I could have sobbed. However, I had toddlers who needed entertaining so we pressed on. 

Cooking with toddlers is a real skill that doesn’t come easily to me. So I spend a lot of time scouring around for recipes that are really simple. If all the ingredients can all be shoved into one bowl, that I can pass to one of my little assistants to stir and splatter as they please, before swiftly decanting into cake tin then it's a winner. Generally if I’ve managed to hold their attention this long then I am happy, although ordinarily they will have moved onto greater things elsewhere in the house, involving lego, superglue and curtains.

This recipe, despite not fitting it’s own description, ticked the simplicity boxes. However, whilst my eldest and I merrily chucked the ingredients into a bowl for him to set about mixing, I proceeded to have a little mishap which involved mistaking peppermint essence for vanilla.  

I feel like most of my baking projects tend to become salvage operations and the realisation that this was no exception, hit me at the same time as the aroma of my now mint flavoured cupcake mix. However, I take pride in my silver lining approach to cooking and have managed to turn round some potentially horrendous creations. Of course, I could just have very dishonest family members committed to giving me lip service about the inaccurate greatness of my food, but if that’s my bubble then please may it remain intact, for now. 

So after a quick rethink, some additions and an overhaul of the icing process please find the re-born cupcake recipe below:

If I had more time I would tweak the ingredients as this makes a whopping 36 cupcakes which not only fed my kids and their friends but also everyone at my partner's poker night

Preparation time:15min. Cooking time: 20min  

  • 375g plain flour
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 30g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 250ml water
  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Approx 50g dark chocolate chips
Icing ingredients.
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint essence
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • Green food colouring (I use the gel but you need hardly any at all unless, like me, you like a halloween-esque cupcake)
  • 50g Dark Chocolate roughly broken into pieces
  • Couple of drops of olive oil 

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C/Gas 5. 
  2. Line 36 cake tin holes with paper cases.(Or cook in batches if, like me, your biggest cake tin only fits 24)
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt. 
  4. Then make a well in the centre of your mixture and pour in the eggs, milk, water, oil and peppermint essence and mix well.
  5. Fill each cupcake case half-full of cake mix.
  6. Once they are all filled then sprinkle a few chocolate drops into each individual case of cake mix. As the mix is quite runny if you do this before hand, they will all just sink to the bottom. 
  7. Bake in preheated oven for around 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool completely
Instructions for icing
  1. Put the kettle on and while it boils sift your icing sugar into a bowl 
  2. Add 3 tbsp of your freshly boiled water, the peppermint essence and the food colouring to the icing sugar and mix until it forms a thick green paste
  3. Using either a spoon or a pallet knife place a large blob of your green icing on top of your cooled cupcake and smooth it gently to the edge.
  4. Next place a saucepan of water on the hob with a glass bowl sitting on top on the pan. Make sure your bowl isn’t touching the water beneath. Add your chocolate pieces and then heat the water until it’s gently simmering. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in a couple of drops of oil to stop it from congealing and remove from the heat. 
  5. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the tops of your iced cupcakes and leave them in a cool place to set.   

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