Friday, September 26, 2008
Sugar High Friday: White Mochaccino Cupcakes
My white mochaccino cupcakes were adapted from two almost identical recipes that I'd had my eye on for a while - Nigella's blonde mocha layer cake (Forever Summer), and a coffee-tea cake from a recent issue of Delicious. The fortuitous combination of my friend Markii's birthday, and Fanny Foodbeam's Sugar High Friday cupcake event gave me the opportunity to make a massive batch of them last weekend. Woo!
The base is a coffee-flavoured Victoria sponge, and the icing is a mixture of melted white chocolate, sour cream, melted butter and sugar. The finished cupcakes are dusted with cocoa powder.
Baking these cupcakes also meant I finally finished my stash of Lindt white chocolate piccoli...
Farewell my little hexagons of deliciousness....!
Funnily enough, some of the cupcakes turned out smooth, some were humped, and some rose on one side like a scone (see the one in the blue wrapper, on the back at the right?).
For the humpy ones, I had to slice off the tops to get a good surface for icing... and for the all-important taste tests!
Top of the muffin to you!
Oh wow, that sponge was a-mazing! But that's just what you'd expect from a Victoria sponge base, isn't it?
Next up is the icing. I actually let it sit in the fridge overnight before icing the cupcakes, as it is extremely soft and creamy. Even though the icing could have been more stiff (ooh, cheeky!), it was already very sweet, and I didn't want to add any extra sugar.
When making the cakes and icing, I followed the quantities for Nigella's blonde-mocha layer cake, making a few substitutions to the ingredients. For example, in the cake, I replaced the instant coffee and milk specified in Nigella's recipe with a short black espresso. In the icing, I substituted sour cream for Nigella's more expensive crème fraîche. When I got around to icing the cupcakes the next morning, I found that I had more than double the amount of icing I needed! I know Nigella recipes tend to be generous with the icing, but this was ridiculous. D'oh! Luckily that sponge recipe is so easy to make (all in the processor), so I whipped up another batch, using half the batter for cupcakes, and half as a 20cm cake. (In the recipe below, I've adjusted the icing to a more appropriate amount.)
Again, I have no explanation for why my 20cm golden coffee sponge rose so unevenly, or why they got those huge air bubbles in them!
We shared the grown-up sized cake for afternoon tea on Saturday, and despite not seeming very enthusiastic at first, my family loved the cake! We greedily wolfed down 2 slices each. Later that day I took the 28 cupcakes to Markii's birthday, where they were a runaway success! I was afraid they'd be too sweet, but indeed the sweet icing complemented the coffee sponge beautifully. This is my new favourite cake. I've already shared the recipe - my cousin requested it - and now I share it with you.
White Mochaccino Cupcakes
Golden Coffee Sponge
225g self-raising flour
225g very soft unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
3-4 tbsp freshly brewed espresso coffee, left to cool a little
White Chocolate Icing
125g white chocolate
45g soft unsalted butter
150ml sour cream (full fat)
125g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the flour, butter, caster sugar and eggs in a food processor, and mix until fully combined. With the motor running, add the coffee, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the batter is of a soft dropping consistency. Line a muffin tin with papers, and spoon the mixture the into papers. Only fill the cases halfway, as the mixture rises quite a lot, and you'll want a nice flat surface for your icing. Bake the cupcakes for approximately 20 minutes, until light golden and cooked through. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the icing, melt the white chocolate and butter in the microwave on medium for 1-2 minutes, until just over half melted. (Be careful not to overheat the white chocolate, as it burns more easily than regular chocolate). Stir gently until smoothly combined. Let cool slightly, then beat in the sour cream, followed by the sifted icing sugar. Beat until smooth. Store the icing in the fridge until needed.
If any of your cupcakes have very humped tops, slice them flat before icing. Spread the icing thickly onto the cupcakes, and dust lightly with cocoa. Ta-dah!!
Makes 18-24, depending on how much you fill the tins.
In baking these, I realised that I was recreating, in cupcake form, my beloved white mochas from Starbucks. (Is that a gasp I hear from my shocked readers?) I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Starbucks. The official Sarah Cooks position is that it's crap, or as my cousin elegantly put it, "water mixed with dirt", but of late I've found myself more and more drawn to them. I think I feel sorry that they had to close so many stores. And when I was doing a lot of travelling, often alone in foreign countries, I'd see Starbucks as little havens, where I could comfortably sit and take a break from a big day of sightseeing, sipping a reliably consistent beverage. Consistently average, I admit, but when it comes to coffee (or crappaccinos), I feel that consistency is often a virtue in itself. And if Starbucks is one thing, it is consistent. So therefore I approve. Promise you won't tell anyone? Good.
Let me assure you, however, that these white mochaccino cupcakes are so much nicer than anything that's come out of an actual Starbucks. But why take my word for it when you could make them yourself?