Friday, March 12, 2010

Sydney plus more cupcakes

We just came back from a short holiday in Sydney.  This trip was a very nice change for us since being a big family, it is just too costly for us to go on trips regularly.  It was actually my first time to go interstate after nine years in Australia!

We stayed in a serviced apartment right in the heart of the city.  The view was great from our window on the 45th floor...

But what excited me more than the great view was that the apartment was situated right next to this shop.

I hardly ever go to shops like this so I was thrilled to just see all those gorgeous cupcakes!  All of the cupcakes were $2.50 AUD @ (roughly $2.29 USD).  They were small, only about 2/3 the standard size.  While there was a huge variety of flavours, most of the cupcakes were just either vanilla or chocolate.  The flavours were actually in the frosting.  My daughter and I bought a box of 6 to share with the rest of the family.  How were the cupcakes, you may ask?

They were just ok...nothing extra special about them.  Looked better than they actually tasted.  Even for the small size, I would not really crave for another one. Having said that, I really thought my home baked cupcakes were heaps tastier.

Before we left for Melbourne, my daughter wanted to buy one more cupcake, the chocolate with the peppermint frosting.  We ran out of time to pass by the shop though.

Yesterday, on my trip to the supermarket, I saw some Nestle chocolate blocks on sale.  I had a great idea.  I wanted to surprise my daughter when she came home from school today.

My recreation of the Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake!

These are chocolate cupcakes (again, my aunt's old recipe) topped with fluffy (or seven minute) peppermint frosting and crushed Nestle Aero Peppermint Chocolate.

My comment on my cupcakes? They were yummy, light and moist.  Personally, though, I would have preferred a richer chocolate taste as the peppermint flavour can be a bit overpowering.  Devil's Food cupcakes would have been more appropriate with this frosting. No complaints from the kids...they loved it as is.

How proud I am that I can bake. You can too, of course!  Here you go...enjoy this recipe!

CHOCO-PEPPERMINT CUPCAKES (Makes 18 standard sized cupcakes)

Chocolate Cupcake

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1 2/3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line your muffin tins with baking cups.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.

Dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water.  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Alternately add the flour and cooled cocoa mixture in three parts, beating only until ingredients are incorporated.  Do not overbeat.  Scrape down the batter in the bowl occasionally to make sure all the ingredients are well blended.

Divide the batter into baking cups, filling them to about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  Cool cupcakes in the tins for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cool, frost cupcakes with Fluffy Frosting and if desired, top with crushed peppermint flavoured chocolate.

Fluffy Peppermint Frosting

1 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon peppermint essence
green gel paste

Combine sugar and the water in small saucepan; stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Boil uncovered, without stirring, about 5 minutes or until syrup reaches 116C on a candy thermometer. Syrup should be thick but not coloured. Remove syrup from heat, allow bubbles to subside.

Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. While motor is operating, add hot syrup in a thin stream; beat on high speed about 10 minutes or until mixture is thick.  Add peppermint essence and enough green gel paste to achieve desired colour.

Makes 2 1/2 cups.  More than enough to make high swirly tops for your cupcakes!


    you've just awaken the desire within to try baking again... remember when you encouraged me and I tried it more than a decade ago. I even bought an electric oven and a mixer from the money I got from SM... somewhere along the way, the desire then just went PUFF... now my only regret is I should have pursued it and persisted regardless of the difficulty esp now that juandiego loves and always asks for birthday cakes.... I should have attended that cupcake workshop last summer....:(

  2. Oh those look yummy! We do not have Aero bars in the U.S. Are they similar to honeycomb candy? Which we also do not have here except in specialty shops. My daughter is attending school in Sydney. I will have to have her grab some before she returns home.
    I love your blog and thanks again for the wonderful tutorials.

  3. O Corinne,
    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe - I think I will Love it! Just my cup of tea! lol

    Also - the pictures were awesome! I could not believe the 45th floor. I could hardly believe my eyes! Truly awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Hi Corrine, I tried this recipe yesterday and they turned out well. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Do you use dutch processed cocoa for the cupcakes?

    1. No, for this recipe, I use natural cocoa powder.

  5. Hi Ms. Corrine! I tried this recipe several times and i love it. How can i make ube cupcakes with this recipe? By the way do you have chocolate mousse recipe like the one in Red Ribbon? Thank you for sharing your recipes.

    1. You might want to use a vanilla cupcake recipe instead, replacing the vanilla extract with ube flavouring and adding some grated ube in the mix.

  6. Hi maam wala po akong caster sugar. Granulated sugar ba pwede?thank you