Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Ever decided to bake from your own blog? I sure have. Result? Frustration! Why, oh why, did I not list the amount of each ingredient in the step-by-step instructions, as well as in the list at the beginning. WHY?! Because I wanted people to spend all their time scrolling up and down???? *ahem* Apologies all round. I am going to fix all previous posts as soon as this one is published! Klepto’s honour ūüėÄ

Rant done. Onto the matter at hand: OMG DE-FREAKING-LICIOUS CUPCAKES

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What was that a photo of? Oh, only THE BEST caramel frosting I have had in my life, lovingly settled in a swirly fashion atop those indescribably delightful chocolate cupcakes I wrote about in my VERY FIRST BLOG POST.

As such, I won’t be reposting the chocolate cupcake process. Refer back to my previous chocolate cupcake recipe, but cut the cook time to 16 minutes if you are making mini cupcakes like I decided to do. I also put a secret treat in the centre of these mini ones. So, once you’ve mixed up your batter, jump back here before you start spooning them into your muffin tray!

MMmmm. I’m having flavour flashbacks. They were just so light and so fluffy and definitely delectable enough to lure Hansel and Gretel right into my oven.

Caramel Frosting Ingredients:
114 g salted butter
220 g dark brown sugar
80 ml milk
360 g confectioner’s sugar
an extra few tablespoons of milk

With one batch of frosting, I had enough to decorate 80 mini cupcakes!

Melt the butter (114 g) in a small saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar (220 g) and milk (80 ml). Stir continuously over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved then allow to bubble for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

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Pour your caramel into a large bowl and allow to cool. Using an electrical mixer, beat in the confectioners sugar (360 g total) in three equal parts. Before turning the hand mixer on, I stirred in the icing sugar a bit, then covered both the bowl and the mixer with a towel for beating. This, combined with turning on my extractor fan, helped me avoid the light coating of icing sugar that so often covers my kitchen and my lungs.

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Once your confectioner’s sugar is all beat in, tightly cover the frosting with cling film until you are ready to decorate, as contact with air quickly dries it out.

Just before you are ready to use it, beat in some milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it is soft enough to pipe but still firm enough to hold its shape. (I used 3 tbsp, but this will vary.)

Now back to CUPCAKES!

You’ve just finished mixing up your cupcake batter and are ready to spoon it into adorable mini muffin trays. But first, these little scrumpties (I tried to make scrumptious into a noun… Def: scrumptious and adorable baked goods) were filled with a tiny secret:¬†Cadbury Nibbles hidden in the centre!

One batch of batter makes 40 mini cupcakes, so cut 40 Nibbles in half.

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The first method I tried just led to sunken Nibbles at the bottom of my cupcakes, but as I found out in my second batch¬†(I was making 80 cupcakes and one batch is only 40, hence the second. Sadly, by then, I wasn’t being as vigilant with my photo-documentation) the best thing to do is to put two teaspoons of batter into each cup, then press the two half Nibbles together, side by side, and push them gently into the top of the batter. You want to be able to see the tops of the Nibbles.

The following picture doesn’t showcase the peeking out Nibbles, but it does show how much room the cupcakes need to expand. These little babies rise, so give them a good 1/3 of growing room!

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Pop them in the oven (160 C fan) for 16 minutes and the Nibbles-ified cupcakes will look like:

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Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and leave them until they are completely cool.

Now, as mentioned before, make your icing soft enough to pipe, transfer it to a piping bag, select your preferred nib, and get piping!

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Chocolate Irish Cream Trifle

As promised in my recent Chocolate Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream¬†post, I used the sawed off cupcake tops for a higher purpose: Chocolate Irish Cream Trifle. (I’d love to call it Chocolate Baileys Trifle, but let’s face it, Carolans was half the price :P) Being the contradictory person that I am, as soon as I decided to proclaim myself an unabashed recipe thief, I got the urge to make up a trifle recipe on my own.

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First off, you’ll need chocolate cake. As I said, I used my previous chocolate cupcake¬†recipe. I also needed to make a chocolate mousse, so we’ll deal with that first.

Chocolate Mousse Ingredients:
120 g dark chocolate
4 eggs
1 shot espresso (or 1 tbsp instant coffee in 2 tbsp boiling water)

Before you begin, separate your 4 eggs. Put the egg whites in a good bowl for whipping and the yolks in whatever you like. Next you’re going to melt the chocolate. You might be tempted to use a microwave *insert expression of shock and horror* but the ideal method is to set a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water — don’t let it actually touch the water! Dump in your chocolate (120 g) and be sure to stir.

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Just as the chocolate is melted, stir in the espresso shot (or coffee).

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Then take it off the heat and stir in your egg yolks. Now to deal with the egg whites — they need to be whipped until they are barely stiff. You can do this before melting the chocolate if you want, it doesn’t really matter. Mix the barely stiffened egg whites into the chocolate. Fold them in carefully, but thoroughly enough that you don’t have streaks or lumps of white.

(This would have been really good for me to photograph — but I completely forgot about the camera for a bit! If you’ve not folded egg whites before, please google it now!)

For the time being, stick your newly created mousse in the fridge to cool down. Onto the trifle assembly! At this point I went frantically running out of the house to buy whipping cream and raspberries, so that’s probably why my mousse had ample cooling time without my having to wait around.

Trifle Ingredients:
Chocolate cake bits
Irish Cream Liqueur (Carolans/Baileys)
Chocolate mousse
Raspberries
Whipping cream
Sugar

I wanted to make 4 mini trifles, but probably had enough to make 7-8 minis or a good ol’ giant one.

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Whatever the size you choose, line the bottom of your dish(es) with chocolate cakey goodness. I poured 1 tbsp of irish cream liqueur over the cake in each dish (so if you used a big bowl for 8 people, I guess go wild with 8 tbsp :P)

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The next step was to spoon the now cool, but not set, chocolate mousse over the layer of cake and liqueur.

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I’m have delicious-osity flashbacks while writing this… Right, back on track. Cover the chocolate mousse with raspberries. Use however many you want.

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The last step is to cover the whole thing in the irish cream infused whipped cream (which incidently, I could just eat by the spoonful). For the best results, if you are not serving these within the next few hours, I would cover them with cling film right after the raspberry stage and make the whipped cream just before serving them.

I used about 240 mL whipping cream, 2 tbsp irish cream liqueur, and 2 tsp caster sugar. It’s nice for the whipped cream to be a bit on the sweeter side to offset the more bitter dark chocolate mousse. If you used sweetened chocolate, I’d adjust the amount of sugar in the whipped cream.

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Finished! But what to do with the extras. Like I said, I had too much stuff for just 4 single trifles. The only answer was to make more trifle!!!

A wee assembly gif of said extra trifle. Tacky? Maybe. AWESOME? Obv.