First things first. It's national cupcake week. So obviously you know what that means. Cupcakes. Cupcakes, and more cupcakes. They've been everywhere this week. On Twitter, on TV, and online - even more than they already were before.
So as we near the end of cupcake week I figured it was only right that I provide you all with some cupcakes for your viewing (and baking!) pleasure.
But I do have a confession to make. I actually made these cupcakes for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. I just never managed to post them until now.
Both the recipe and the decorating idea for these chocolate cupcakes comes from Peggy Porschen's latest book Boutique Baking. I'm a huge fan of this book - it's got a load of great recipes and decorating ideas, and it's one of the prettiest books I've come across lately. If you're interested, you can read my review of Boutique Baking here.
As is the case with every recipe of Peggy's that I've tried, these cupcakes were delicious. The chocolate cake was so soft and fluffy, and the chocolate cream cheese icing was as well.
I've found that all of the icings on the cupcakes I've purchased from Peggy's parlour are so soft and fluffy that they don't fair that well in the heat or while being transported home on the train. While the icing is absolutely delicious, it is very soft and tends to slide off the cupcakes while I carry them around London in their box.
The icing on these cupcakes was so yummy, but it was very soft. You can see it in my pictures here - the icing started out stiffer, but softened up and started "drooping" a bit while I was taking the pictures because it was so hot in our living room. But don't let that detour you from making these - they're really delicious, so just make sure you keep them in a cool place and don't bounce them around if you need to transport them anywhere. Besides, you'll probably want to keep them all to yourself anyway!
The other thing I loved about these cupcakes was their little decorations. Aren't they cute! And guess what - I made them! Well, kind of. They're made out of sheets of candy paper (rice paper) which is widely available here in the UK. I picked up a big package of multi coloured sheets in Top Shop of all places.
I sprayed the candy sheets with a coating of silver lustre spray, and then used a craft punch to punch out the little crowns (in honour of the Diamond Jubilee - although I've always been a big fan of crowns in general which is why I had the punch).
I do have a few words of caution before you make these cupcakes - see my notes at the bottom of the recipe.
Peggy Porschen's Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes
For the Frosting:
140ml whipping cream
160g plain chocolate, chopped (min. 53% cocoa)
1 tbsp glucose
200g full-fat cream cheese (I used the new Cadbury Chocolate Cream Cheese instead)
200g salted butter, softened
450g icing sugar, sifted
For the Cake:
125g plain chocolate, chopped (min. 53% cocoa)
285g light brown sugar
105g unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
180g plain flour
pinch of salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking of soda
8g cocoa powder
For the Decorations:
2-3 Sheets of rice paper
Edible Pearlised Lustre Spray
Pre-heat the oven 320ºF (160ºC) and prepare your cupcake pans. Set aside and make the icing.
To Make the Icing:
1. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until barely simmering. Place the chocolate and glucose into a bowl and pour the hot cream over the top. Whisk carefully until smooth, shiny, and all the chocolate is melted. Leave to set at room temp. The ganache should have the consistency of soft chocolate butter.
2. Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy, set aside.
3. Cream the butter and icing sugar together until very pale and fluffy. Add the ganache, a little at a time, to the buttercream mixture, and mix on medium-high speed until combined. Gently stir 1/3 of the chocolate buttercream into the cream cheese. Slowly whisk the remainder of the buttercream, and add the chocolate cream cheese in two batches. Make sure not to overwork the frosting, or it will split. Chill until set!
To Make the Cake:
1. Place the chocolate, milk, and half the sugar in a saucepan and gently bring to a boil while stirring.
2. Cream the butter and the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy (at least 5 minutes). Lightly beat the eggs together then slowly mix into the butter mixture, making sure they don't curdle.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa together, and then add them to the butter mixture in two batches. Mix slowly until just combined.
4. Slowly add the hot chocolate mixture into the batter and mix. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula to make sure it’s well combined. The batter should be liquidy.
Pour into the cases so they're 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes fully cool before icing and decorating.
1. Spay the smooth side of your rice paper sheets with a thin, but even coating of lustre spray. It might help to weigh the ends of your paper sheets down with butter knives so they don't curl up because of the moisture.
2. Let the rice paper sheets dry, and then use your craft punch (mine was from Martha Stewart) to punch out shapes from the edible paper like you would a normal piece of paper. Set your punched decorations aside.
3. Pipe the chilled frosting onto your cupcakes using a piping bag and a large star tip, or simply spread it on top with a knife or off set spatula. Place your edible paper decorations on top.
These decorations are the funnest, and easiest things to make. What a clever idea - I love that you can make so many different designs!
** A few notes: The book says this recipe will make approximately 24 cupcakes, but I only got 16, and I made them the exact same size I make all of my cupcakes. I can also confirm they were almost identical in size to the ones sold in Peggy's Parlour, so I'm not sure why the recipe estimated they make 24.
Also, I'm pretty sure I had to bake my cupcakes for closer to 20 minutes before they were fully cooked.
Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing. They're delicious, and I highly recommend making them.
If you do make Peggy's Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes and decorate them with a rice paper punch out, I'd love to see a picture of them. Feel free to leave a comment below with the link, or you can also post them onto my Facebook page here so I can see them!