Monday, 4 August 2008

Crazy Cupcake Sunday: Dinosaur Rock Cupcakes

With all the cupcakes I have been making recently, DD has requested that I make a chocolate cupcake for him. I chose a recipe from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook which the author says is her favourite chocolate cupcake recipe.

It was so much fun to make. The science of cupcakes is starting to make sense to me now, and I understand the process so much more than I did a little while ago. The chocolate flavour was lovely and deep. It wasn't too rich but it was definately chocolatey. I swirled some small chocolate bits through the mixture before baking to give it a little bit of an extra chocolate hit.

They were delicious un-iced and straight from the oven.

I wanted to give them a nice and light icing. The recipe book suggests a vanilla buttercream with food colouring, but I loved the Swiss meringue buttercream used on the creme brulee cupcakes so much that I didn't really want to go with the standard buttercream icing. Luckily, How to Eat a Cupcake came to my rescue (again) with her Swiss Meringue Buttercream instructional post found here.

They were amazing. So very very good. I think they are now my favourite cupcakes of all the ones I've made. Yum!

Dinosaur Rock Cupcakes
from Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook by Jennifer Graham p27

(I halved this recipe and ended up with 24 small cupcakes and 4 muffin-sized ones)

3 cups plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tbs instant coffee granules
1 cup hot water
1 cup cocoa
1 cup cold water
200g softened unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups castor sugar
4 eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract

Preheat ovent to 170 degrees C. Line your trays with cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the coffee, hot water and cocoa until smooth. Add the cold water and whisk until evenly combined.

In another bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the castor sugar a third at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all the sugar is added, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addtion until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combine.

Add a quarter of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add a third of the cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Repeat this process twice more. Add the remaining quarter of the flour and beat until thoroughly combined; do not overbeat as this will toughen the mixture.

Fill the cupcake liners approximately three quarters full. To prevent the cupcakes cracking on top, allow the mixture to sit in the papers for 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the trays immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
from How to Eat a Cupcake

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup melted and cooled dark chocolate
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put egg whites and sugar into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 70 degrees C).
Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high and continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add chocolate, cocoa and vanilla extract and continue beating 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles.

This buttercream was the first time I was using my new candy thermometer. While I was whisking the egg whites and sugar over the double boiler, I whisked too close to the thermometer and knocked it off the pan and onto the stovetop, where it shattered. My newest toy lasted me about 5 minutes. Oh well, I ended up trying to convince my meat thermometer to tell me how hot my mixture was. It was quite funny.

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