Yesterday I attended a surprise baby shower organised by some of my friends from work for our pregnant co-worker. Her husband (also a co-worker) took her out for the morning and we went to their place and set everything up for when they came home. We somehow managed to keep it a complete surprise and she was so thrilled when she arrived home to find us all there ready to celebrate with her. We had a pot-luck lunch with lots of delicious food and I made cupcakes of two sorts - caramel mud and chocolate mud. By popular demand, here are the recipes I used.
Caramel Mud Cupcakes
Makes 12 regular-sized cupcakes
From Classic Cupcakes, in The Australian Women's Weekly Collection
125g butter, chopped coarsely
100g white eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
2/3C firmly packed light brown sugar (I used dark)
1/4C golden syrup or treacle (I used golden syrup)
1C plain flour
1/3C self-raising flour
Pre-heat oven to 170C. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
Stir butter, chocolate, sugar, syrup and milk in small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; cool 15 minutes.
Whisk sifted flours into chocolate mixture, then whisk in egg.
Drop 1/4C of mixture into paper cases. Bake about 30 minutes. Stand cakes in pan 5 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
Dark Chocolate Mud Cupcakes
Makes 8 regular-sized cupcakes (recipe is for 18 mini cupcakes)
Adapted from Classic Cupcakes, in The Australian Women's Weekly Collection
30g dark eating chocolate, chopped coarsely
45g butter, softened
1/2C firmly packed light brown sugar (I used dark)
1/3C self-raising flour
1tbsp cocoa powder
2tbsp ground almonds
Pre-heat oven to 170C. Line 8 holes of of a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases (or 18 holes of two 12-hole mini muffin pans).
Stir chocolate and the water in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth.
Beat butter, sugar and egg in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flour and cocoa, ground almonds, and warm chocolate mixture.
Drop 1/4C (if making regular-sized cupcakes) or tablespoons (if making mini cupcakes) of mixture into paper cases. Bake about 25 minutes for regular-sized cupcakes, or 15 minutes for mini cupcakes. Stand cakes in pan 5 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough for 24 cupcakes (according to the recipe; in my opinion, could be halved and still have enough!)
From The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook, by Jennifer Graham
200g butter, softened
1tbsp vanilla extract
8C icing sugar, sifted
few drops food colouring (I used blue)
Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and half the sifted icing sugar, and beat for at least 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy and of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if the mixture is too dry, or extra icing sugar if the mixture is too wet. Add the food colouring and beat until evenly mixed. A few drops goes a long way - add as much or as little as you like to get your chosen shade.
The decorating idea was taken from the same Classic Cupcakes book as the cupcake recipes. You will need jellybeans and writing icing in the same shade as your jellybeans. I just bought a bag of regular jellybeans and a mixed pack of writing icing in red, blue, green, and yellow, and picked out a few jellybeans of each colour, but you could buy specialty jellybeans that are all one colour and just one tube of writing icing if you prefer. Frost your cupcakes with the buttercream frosting - I simply used a butter knife and smeared on a big dab, I didn't worry about making it smooth and even, but you can smooth it out or pipe it on or whatever you wish. Cut the jellybeans in half and place a pair on each cupcake, then pipe on toes using the writing icing. Simple and very cute!
The caramel cupcakes were definitely a better recipe for decorating. The chocolate ones ended up with a brownie-style crusty top and some crumbs came off into the frosting. The chocolate ones are also much sweeter, so with a mound of buttercream frosting on the top they were almost too sweet. The caramel ones were moist and dense and delicious and perfect for decorating. This buttercream frosting is the best recipe I've ever found but it makes a HUGE amount. I could have easily frosted another 20 cupcakes, or a whole cake, and I was pretty generous with the frosting on each cake. You could easily halve the recipe for 2 batches of cupcakes and have plenty, although if you are wanting to do something more fancy like piping or sculpting or something like that, you might need a bit more.