It’s a given that if you like chocolate you’re going to think you’re in seventh heaven around Easter time. Chocolate galore and, thanks to Easter starting shortly after Christmas in supermarkets, plenty of time to enjoy it.
There’s always the usual favourites in this house – a large Cadbury rabbit for daughter (“it’s a tradition, Mum!”) and a cute little Lindt golden bunny bought for me, by me (no point in leaving yourself out of the equation is there?). And, if Bill’s been good, the Easter Bunny may just bring him something too. He has to eat his fast though – you snooze, you loose when I’m around chocolate.
In true form, I scoffed the first packet of Cadbury mini-eggs bought to decorate the cupcakes before I’d even got to weekend baking and had to buy another pack. These ones made it safely to the topping and they are rather cute with their speckled coating.
Thanks to Alessandra and Sweet NewZealand, I’d been given some Fresh As freeze-dried raspberry powder and used that to dust the icing. It gives a nice sharp tang to counteract the sweetness of the cupcake. I also had a Christmas gift of Vahlrona chocolate pearls. I originally thought these were pure chocolate balls ready for melting (well, there’s nothing on the pack to say otherwise!). Thankfully I Googled them before making the horrible mistake of melting what were actually crunchy little chocolate-coated biscuit bites. They added a nice crunchy texture and I was pretty pleased with the end result.
I’m always a bit apprehensive when it comes to icing cupcakes but after a couple of re-runs of the lovely Lydia Bakes' icing tutorial, I reckon I made an acceptable attempt even if I was lacking in consistency of style.
I made these cupcakes on a Saturday morning and, after sampling a couple over the weekend and giving most away, I popped two in the fridge. Happily, Bill didn’t notice his share (may have been the placing at the back of the fridge? J) and I was able to polish it off for morning tea on Tuesday – and it tasted good. Just to show I'm not completely selfish, I am sharing this post with We Should Cocoa for the chocolate and Easter special hosted by Rachel and also with Marnelli at Sweets and Brains who is hosting Sweet New Zealand.
Happy Easter everyone.
Easter Egg Cupcakes
100g standard flour
20g good quality cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
¼ tsp vanilla essence
Cream cheese icing
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
125g cream cheese
Food colouring of your choice
Food colouring of your choice
Decorate with chocolate sprinkles or easter themed decorations. I dusted the Fresh As freeze-dried raspberry powder on top of the icing and sprinkled on a few Vahlrona crunchy pearls (tiny beads of biscuit filled chocolate). To finish each cupcake, I decorated with Cadbury’s Mini Eggs, which resemble real eggs with their speckled candy shells, and a little fresh flower.
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Place some paper cupcake cases in a cupcake or muffin tin(s).
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a cake mixing bowl and add the sugar, salt and butter. Using the paddle attachment, beat on a slow speed until the ingredients are combined and resemble a sandy consistency.
In a jug, whisk the milk, egg and vanilla together. Slowly pour about half the liquid into the flour mixture with the mixer on a low speed then turn up high for a short burst to get rid of any lumps.
Slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture with the mixer on slow, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix until smooth (do not overmix).
Spoon into the paper cases about half to two-thirds full (this will depend on the size of your cases as there are so many variants).
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Leave for 5 minutes in the tin then transfer to a wired cake rack to cool.
Ice and decorate when cool.
Cream Cheese Icing
Place the icing sugar and butter in a cake mixing bowl with paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk). With the cake mixer on a slow to medium speed, beat until the mix comes together and is well mixed.
Add the cream cheese and beat until incorporated. Turn mixer up to medium-high and beat at least 5 minutes until icing is light and fluffy (do not overbeat).
Add your choice of food colouring and beat until incorporated. I split the mix into two equal parts then added tiny drops of food colouring to get a lemon and a pink shade.
Recipes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook