Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Swirl Cupcakes

Posted by Quinn at Thursday, January 07, 2010

I dare not promise this to be my last post of chocolate related baked goodies. The Christmas, the New Year celebration and more parties and more reason to bake and celebrate practically made me a walking zombie. If you remember and do read this post of mine, you'll remember I mention I went to a friend's house for a new year dinner.

A baker's rule, never never go to a party, an occasion or just a potluck (well...duh, potluck is different) empty handed. I never do! I always give myself a reason to bake. This cupcake, affectionately named so by Aaron is so yummy....The cupcake is moist, the icing is just right served at room temperature. I increased the cocoa powder content in the cupcake and reduce the sugar a fair bit. The cake when eaten with the icing together is just of appropriate sweetness. Well, unless you have a very sweet tooth or vice versa, you might not wanna modify the recipe I'm about to give you which is already modified to suit me.

The base is a very simple chocolate muffin at its core. It's got no real chocolate in it so use your best quality cocoa powder because I'm telling you now it's worth it and you do know it. The base is light and fluffy, not the dense and packed type of texture. These are really light and airy, you'll be surprised by the amount of flour it contains.

The icing, I made it up. But it's good and feel free to use any of your favourite base but please promise me you'll use my chocolate and vanilla swirl icing because they are so darn good. It might not be very healthy and buttery but an equal part of butter and shortening makes the texture of the icing so lovely. You know you can indulge and splurge once in a while on sugar high stuffs!

I like the name, TradeMe Cupcakes. It's how Sinner of The Waitakere Redneck's Kitchen differentiate this gorgeous light cuppies from millions of the other chocolate base out there. I would trade anything for these! Thanks Sinner!

Here's the recipe. You're welcome.

Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Swirl Cupcakes
(makes approximately 12 medium sized cuppies)

TradeMe Cupcakes
(heavily adapted from Sinner here)

Sift together 95 gm plain flour, pinch of salt, 1.5 tsp baking powder and 30g of good quality cocoa in a bowl and set aside.

Dissolve 1/2 tsp baking soda in 1/4 cup milk. Dissolve 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder in 1/4 cup hot water.

Cream together 50g softened butter with 5 tbsp vanilla castor sugar (original uses 8 tbsp!) until light and fluffy. Crack in one egg and mix into submission. Add in the rest of the ingredients (no worries about sequence!) and beat until a uniform batter is achieved.

Scoop it evenly into a 12 hole medium small muffin tray, generously buttered. You might wanna fill these just halfway and not three quarter since they rise a lot but still gives you a beautiful flat shape for your icing to crown it off.

Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven of 160°C for 15-17mins. Cool completely before piping over the icing.

Chocolate & Vanilla Bean Swirl Buttercream
(makes enough to ice more or less 12 cuppies)

2 tbsp Crisco shortening
2 tbsp softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1.5 tsp of milk

Mix all the above with a hand held mixer until well combined and lump free. Milk goes in last. Roughly eyeball the buttercream into two parts. Add 1-2 tbsp good quality dark cocoa powder (pass through a tea strainer) to one part and whisk until a uniform colour is obtained. Add in 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste to the remaining buttercream and whisk to combine well. Scoop both colour (side by side) into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe it over the cooled cuppies. Chill them a while to firm it up and serve them at room temperature.

Have fun messing around and practising your piping skills. These are yummy, rest assured!

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