CH#4: Minty Chocolate CupcakesDecember 17, 2007 at 10:02 pm | Posted in cupcakes, events, sweet things | 19 Comments
Mint is a really friendly herb. It gets along with so many things…coconut, almond, citrus, berries, melon, blah blah blah. So when Laurie of Quirky Cupcake announced that this month’s Cupcake Hero theme is mint, I really had a hard time deciding what to pair it with. In the end, I maybe went with the most predictable thing–chocolate– but only because I love it so.
The combination of chocolate and mint around the holidays makes me think of Andes mints. My mum rarley bought us candy, but for some reason every Thanksgiving and Christmas, she’d bring out Andes with dessert. My brother and I would go nuts and eat them by the dozen, accumulating a huge mound of the shiny green wrappers next to our plates. I haven’t had them in at least a decade…I wonder if they would taste so good to me today. They probably would.
I made a plain chocolate cupcake, from a recipe (called “Peerless Chocolate Cake”) in The Fannie Farmer Baking Book that I have made a zillion times. I worked the mint flavoring into both a white chocolate whipped ganache frosting and a pudding filling. For the ganache, I infused a bunch of fresh mint into the cream. I swirled a couple drops of red gel coloring gently through the finished frosting before putting it into a piping bag in hopes that it would look a little candy cane-like.
For the pudding, I’m not embarrassed to admit to taking a shortcut (hey–cupcakes should be easy, right?). I have this giant tub of Bird’s custard powder in my pantry from when I made Nanaimo bars. I followed instructions on the package to make what I needed for filling, and then mixed in some melted bittersweet chocolate and a couple drops of mint extract. At that point, it tasted pretty good on its own. You could use any brand of packaged mix, or make homemade if you can’t stand the thought of it.
This cake recipe makes a great cupcake. And mint and chocolate really are perfect together. The frosting had an earthy mint flavor from the fresh herbs, while the pudding had a snappy mintiness to it.
Natalie from Bake and Destroy! is co-hosting with Laurie this month. Thanks Natalie and Laurie…I’m looking forward to the round-up!
Minty Chocolate Cupcakes– makes 12 regular-size cupcakes
-Make and chill some minty chocolate pudding, using your favorite chocolate pudding recipe with mint extract added to taste, or prepare custard powder according to package instructions, flavoring with melted chocolate and mint extract.
-Bake and cool a batch of chocolate cupcakes (recipe below).
-Make the minty white chocolate whipped ganache frosting (recipe below).
-To fill the cupcakes, use a small knife or round cookie cutter to cut a plug out of the center of each (going in from the top). Save the top bit of each plug. Fill each cavity with minty chocolate pudding. Cover with the top bit so the filling is not exposed.
-Top with whipped ganache and decorate as you see fit.
Chocolate Cupcakes– makes 12 regular-sized cupcakes
adapted from Marion Cunningham’s The Fannie Farmer Baking Book
1.5 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/4 c water
1 c plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 c buttermilk
-Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line a muffin tin with paper cups.
-Combine the chocolate and water in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
-Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
-Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth and well-blended. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well. Add the vanilla and chocolate mixture and beat until blended. Add the sifted dry ingredients and buttermilk in three parts, alternating and beating smooth after each addition.
-In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Gently stir one-third of the beaten whites into the batter. Fold in the remaining whites.
-Divide the batter among the paper cups, and cook for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the tins for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Minty White Chocolate Whipped Ganache– makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes
1 cup heavy cream
couple handfuls of fresh mint leaves, picked from stems
7.5 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
7 T butter, very soft
-Put mint leaves in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepot. Pour hot cream over the mint leaves and let stand until room temperature to infuse.
-Strain the cream into a measuring cup, pressing gently on the leaves to extract as much cream as possible. Discard the leaves. Measure the infused cream…if you have less than 1 cup, add cold cream to make up the difference.
-Put chopped white chocolate in a medium bowl. Reheat the cream to a simmer in a small saucepot. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes to begin to melt. Gently whisk chocolate and cream together to form a perfectly smooth ganache. If the taste of mint is not strong enough for your tastes, you can boost it with a couple drops of mint extract.
-Cover and refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until the ganache is cool and begins to firm up, but is still soft enough to whip.
-By hand with a whisk or with an electric mixer, whip until fluffy frosting consistency. Whip in the soft butter, piece by piece. If it starts to look split (mine did), chill it a couple more minutes and it should come together with a bit more persistent beating.