Saturday, 22 October 2011
We Should Cocoa ~ Trick Or Treat Cupcakes
My oven is back ;0) I set straight to work last night when I got home, after all I did have a lot of time to think about this month's We Should Cocoa challenge. Choclette choose chillies, a classic flavour combo first used by those ingenious Mayan's ... or was it the Aztec's? In any case, the flavour pairing goes way back! As popular as chilli and chocolate is I have to admit to it not being my most favourite way to enjoy chocolate, my Sis In Law on the other hand loves it. So, with October also being the month for Halloween, I decided to combine the event into this month's challenge too and I present to you Trick or Treat Cupcakes.
The idea behind the Trick or Treat Cupcake is simple, with most of the cupcakes being 'normal' chocolate cupcakes. But beware ... some of them are not as they appear, they have finely minced chillies added to the mix for an added kick. In my batch of 18 cupcakes there are 6 tricksey ones to look out for, of course you won't know you have one of the tricky ones until you bite into it. Not all tricks are nasty ones though and so the chillies that I've added have been candied first, they still have all the heat of the chilli but they have a bit of a sweeter side to them too. I was hoping to be able to use my own home grown chillies but they are still ripening up on the plants so I had to resort to store bought chillies, to candy them check out my Chilli Lovers Hamper post (which also has a recipe for Lemongrass and Chilli White Chocolate Truffles!)
To keep the Halloween theme going a little bit further I decided to use some red cocoa powder in the cupcakes. I bought this packet from The Highland Chocolatier. I was hoping for more of a red velvet cupcake effect but even with the use of the buttermilk in the recipe the red colour has totally been lost. Oh well!
Trick Or Treat Cupcakes
200g good quality dark chocolate, about 60% cocoa solids (I used a mixture of milk and dark)
200g butter, cut into pieces
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
85g SR flour
85g plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g light muscovado sugar
200g golden caster sugar
25g red cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
3 candied chillies, chopped
Line a cupcake pan with cases. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C. Break the chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy based pan. Tip in the butter, then mix the coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted - don;t overheat. Or melt in the microwave on medium for about 5 mins, stirring half way through.
While the chocolate is melting, mix the two flours, bicarbonate of soda, sugars and cocoa in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat the eggs in another bowl with the buttermilk.
Now pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases using an ice cream scoop (2 scoops should 3/4 fill the cases). When there is only enough mixture left for the last few cupcakes stir in the chopped candied chillies and then continue to fill the rest of the cupcake cases.
Bake for 35-45 mins, r until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean and the tops of the cupcakes feel firm (don't worry if they crack a bit). Leave to cool in the tin and this time don't worry if they dip slightly! Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cold they are ready to be iced.
Makes 18 "devishly" good cupcakes!
Adapted from a recipe on the BBC Good Food Website
For the icing I used my basic buttercream recipe. For the chocolate icing, I doubled the batch and removed two tbsp of the icing sugar and replaced it with 2 tbsp of the red cocoa powder. This was then piped on to the cupcakes with a large rose nozzle. This was then sprinkled with some red glitter sprinkles.
To make the red icing I made a batch of the buttercream recipe and added some poppy food colouring powder to it and a touch of rose gel paste. Not quite the blood red colour I was after but the effect is still the same. This was then piped on top of the chocolate buttercream using a large star shaped nozzle. And for an added treat, I sprinkled some chocolate coated popping candy over the top of that.
So far I've tried two cupcakes, one of my own and a bite out of one of Hubby's selections. And guess what ... they've both been trick ones!! We've got Sis In Law and my Father In Law around for afternoon tea shortly so I can't wait to see their faces ... although I reckon mine looked a wee bit like the one below when I discovered the trick ...