Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

mint chocolate cupcakes recipe how to fondant flower and leaf cutter decorations with edible glitter and chocolate sprinkles

By the wonder that is Facebook, I found out a couple of weeks ago, that there was a charity bake sale taking place in Toton, mere minutes drive away from us. I’m not really that great at giving money to charity, but am always happy to give my time or skills (Christmas present wrapping I just love!) for a worthy cause. This particular cause was Little Hearts Matter, and the event the brilliantly titled Big Hearted Bake, raising money for children born with heart conditions.

I wanted to bake something fun and family friendly, chocolate was definitely on the menu! I’d initially planned to make a big show-stopping cake to serve slices of, but time really wasn’t on my side last week, so I stuck with what I knew would work best – cute little cupcakes.

These lovely little cases jumped right out of my baking box, pretty black and white ivy designs from The Cake Decorating Company, based right here in Nottingham (more on this amazing shop to come in due course, I’m sure).

floral vine black and white cupcake cases cake decorating company nottingham

The recipe I used was a simple chocolate sponge from my Be-Ro book. It occurred to me that we used to make these exact cakes at home when I was little, but back then (about 20 years ago, eek!), we would never have called them cupcakes, they would have been chocolate buns through and through, as the book calls them. Funny how even baking has its trends that change!

chocolate victoria sponge cupcakes oven tray freshly baked white and black cases

When the cakes were cool, I topped them with a big swirl of mint buttercream – just butter and icing sugar, with a few drops of peppermint essence, and a tiny dab of green gel food colouring.

chocolate cupcake with mint swirl butter cream icing frosting light turquoise looks like ice cream

To decorate the tops, I followed the ivy theme from the cases, and used a flower and leaf plunger cutter, to cut shapes out of chocolate fondant. I worked a little tylose powder into the fondant before rolling it out, so the shapes would set nice and firm.

chocolate fondant flower and leaf shapes press cutters tylose powder to harden cupcake decorating

Then, it was simply a case of squishing the fondant topper straight onto the top of the mint buttercream…

chocolate and mint cupcake with flower and leaf fondant topper

… before finishing with some chocolate chunk sprinkles and some iridescent edible glitter (they’re for children, excess of glitter is a necessity, honest!)

mint chocolate cupcakes with edible glitter and chocolate sprinkle chunks swirl icing

The finished cupcakes – it took every inch of willpower not to eat one before they got dropped off at the bake sale.

mint chocolate cupcakes with fondant leaf and flower toppers edible hologram glitter

And the best news by far – the event raised nearly £1,800 for this lovely charity. If you want to see more details on Facebook, or follow their page so you can be a part next year, you can find the Toton bake here.

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Autumnal Golden Ginger and Chocolate Cupcakes

My second bake for National Cupcake Week – well, it does only come round once  year! You can view my first batch of cupcakes here.

Inspired by a big piece of root ginger that’s been in the kitchen for sometime, I wanted to make something tasty but beautiful!

The cupcakes were a basic sponge mix with a few additions for flavour and texture. I wanted the ginger to really a have a kick and contrast against the sweetness of the icing, so it was added in three ways – root ginger, ground ginger, and the jam filling.

Ingredients (makes 8-10 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:
60g butter or margarine
20g light brown sugar
40g golden caster sugar
1 egg
75g self raising flour (sieved)
1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
Approx. 1 cm of root ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon of ground ginger

To fill:
ginger jam

Icing: (this makes quite a stiff  piping consistency, add a teaspoon of milk or water if you’d prefer it more spreadable)
50g butter or margarine
90g sieved icing sugar
20g cocoa powder

To decorate:
Sugar sprinkles, fondant shapes and shimmer spray

Method:

Cupcakes:
– beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy
– add the egg, yoghurt, gingers and approx. 1/3 of the flour, beating together
– fold in the rest of the flour
– spoon or pipe into cupcake cases
– bake at 180 degrees for approx 12 minutes, until lightly golden on the top

To make way for the jam centre, I simply cored the top of the cupcakes with a sharp knife:

The jam I already had in the fridge from my continual quest to find the perfect rhubarb jam (I’m certain I will end up making some before too long). This wasn’t what I was looking for in the rhubarb sense – the taste of ginger is so overpowering that it really is just ginger jam. Still, perfect for these cakes!

It was simply spooned into the centre of the cakes, and smoothed down slightly to give a flat base for the buttercream to sit on.

To make the buttercream, simply beat all the ingredients until smooth. Try and keep it as cold as possible if you’re going to pipe swirls, or they will melt into a chocolate-y mess!

I chose to pipe a thick, ridged swirl, using a wide star nozzle.

For the toppings, I coloured a small piece of fondant and cut out tiny hearts using my new plunger cutters (another great ebay purchase!)

Before the buttercream set I quickly added the hearts and sugar sprinkles – the orange colours giving a clue to the firey ginger kick contained in the cupcake.

Finally, I finished the cupcakes with a generous spray of golden shimmer spray (mine is Dr Oetker, you can buy it easily in the supermarkets).

Quite simply they were yummy – and very seasonal with the ginger flavour and autumn colours on the topping.  They went down a treat at home and at work – another good deed in the Cupcake Week one-a-day!