Serves: Makes about 50 mini cupcakes
Preparation and cooking time: ~50 minutes
Calories: ~110 per cupcake
I heard recently that, apparently, cupcakes are “out”. Macarons are the new big thing apparently, unless I missed the memo and those fickle cake eaters of the world have since moved on to something else again. What I want to know is who’s deciding this… and why? (or rather how?) – what makes something which is perfectly delicious suddenly become so reviled and “oh my God, so last year!”? It’s a conspiracy I tell you. Celebrity chefs and food critics, in the pockets of whichever bakery or restaurant happens to be waving a cheque at that moment and boom – all of a sudden their dessert is riding the wave of global popularity.
Well screw that I say. I like cupcakes (though I also like macarons). They’re little sweet mouthfuls of heaven, with, hopefully, a delicious frosting on top. There is nothing about these things not to like. I’m not going to let some clown dictate to me what I should and should not eat, based on some silly trend. For the record, I also like prawn cocktail, and I don’t give a hoot if my dinner table might look like some 1980s throwback festival when I eat it!
It’s a great shame; businesses wither and die every year. Businesses which might be owned by some incredibly talented people, and why? Because their “crime” was to specialise in cupcakes instead of macarons? Of course, it’s a volatile market – I don’t think I’d have the courage to establish a business selling one thing, and one thing only. There’s a place in the mall near my place which sells mini cupcakes. They’re pretty good too (the creamcheese frosted ones at least. The “butter”-cream ones taste like the frosting is made with cheap margarine) but I notice that even they have branched out into sandwiches and cheesecake since opening so as to diversify a little.
In any event, in case it’s not apparent, I was moved to make some miniature cupcakes myself. I got online and ordered some mini cupcake cases (they got terrible reviews but I can’t imagine why – they’re great!) and once they arrived I set to work. I wasn’t really sure what flavour to make, and since variety is the spice of life I went for three different types. Besides – who wants 50 identically flavoured cupcakes?!
In the end, raspberry, blueberry, and mint-choc-chip were the flavours of the day. I had brought back some food colouring and peppermint essence from England was eager to give them a try. The food colouring was, according to the bottles, “all natural”. Apparently this means it’s rubbish and doesn’t really work because despite using almost half a bottle between the cake batter and the icing I never really achieved the colours I was hoping for. Deep blues, rich reds, and minty greens. Oh well. It was enough that the colours were slightly different, but there’s a lesson for you: if you want rich colours you’ll probably need to reach for that bottle of something-sulphate or E-something-something. Vegetable and spice-based colourings don’t really, ahem, “cut the mustard”.
I hope you all have a good weekend everyone. I’ll be back in a few days with something new, and since someone asked for it in a previous comment, here’s a picture of my happy little guy!
Raspberry, Blueberry, and Mint-Choc-Chip Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 170g Butter, softened
- 170g Caster Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 180g Self-Raising Flour
- 1tbsp each of Red, Blue, and Green Food Colouring
- 1 handful each of Raspberries and Blueberries
- ~50g Plain Chocolate
For the frosting
- ~500g Cream Cheese
- ~100g Icing Sugar
- 2tsps each of Red and Blue Food Colouring
- 2tsps of Peppermint Essence
- 1 handful each of Raspberries and Blueberries
- ~80g Plain Chocolate
You’ll also need
- ~50 mini Cupcake Cases
- Start off by making the cupcakes themselves. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and then cream together the butter and sugar until pale. Whisk together the eggs in a bowl and beat into the butter and sugar mixture bit by bit until completely combined. Finally, sift in the flour and fold in with a metal spoon.
- Divide the cake batter equally between three bowls and add the red food colouring to one, the blue to another, and the green to the last one. Stir well to combine. Set out your cupcake cases and in about 18 of them, place a blueberry in the bottom. Place a raspberry in another 18, and then crumble up the chocolate and place a small piece of chocolate into the remaining cases. Divide the mixture between the cases – the blue for the blueberries, the red on the raspberries, and the green on the chocolate. My cupcake cases were large enough to contain a heaped teaspoon of batter. You may need to adjust, but the batter should come to roughly halfway up the case.
- Place the cases into the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, until well risen, and springy to the touch. Remove and allow to cool while you prepare the frosting.
- In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar and then divide equally among three bowls. Chop the chocolate as finely as possible and then place into one of the bowls with the peppermint essence. In the other bowls add in the blue colouring and the red colouring to the other two bowls and then mix all three bowls well. Spread, or pipe, the frosting over the respectively coloured cake, top the fruit ones with a blueberry or raspberry accordingly and enjoy! Store in a refrigerated place when not eating and allow to come up to room temperature before enjoying!