Friday, July 1, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Marbled Cupcakes!

TGIF! I am so glad it is Friday. Not only is it the end of the week but this particular Friday featured cupcakes! The thought of baking something yummy at the end of the week is what gets me through the drudgery of each day, and feeding sweet treats to various friends and colleagues is a nice way to end the week. Since last Friday's cookies I have been looking forward to baking cupcakes (you see, I must try to limit myself to baking once a week or I would bake every day and end up the size of a house) - chocolate marbled cupcakes in fact. On Monday I decided to make them coconutty. On Tuesday I decided to make them pink. On Wednesday I decided to get out my frosting tips to decorate them pretty. Finally Thursday came around and I spent the evening baking! So while technically coconut is a fruit and thus it is good for you, these cupcakes are really just a huge pile of calories (delicious chocolatey calories). Which is why I take them to work and share them around. Of course, I had to give them a good sample first. So for anybody wishing to make delicious soft coconutty cupcakes, lets proceed immediately with the recipe and I will ramble on another day. For now I will just say that for cakes and frosting you really do need to use real butter and not margerine. Trust me, they will be so much more delicious.

Marbled Cupcakes

300 grams butter, softened but not melted
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup milk
6 T cocoa
1 C coconut
Red food colouring

Preheat the oven to 180 ° celsius and line muffin pans (this recipe makes 18 cupcakes or so). The texture of these cakes is really soft and moist so it is best to use paper cases and not just grease the muffin holes.

Cream the butter and the sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.

Sift in the flour alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition.

Divide the mixture into two bowls. To make coconute-chocolate cupcakes, sift in 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder into one half of the mixture and mix well and in the other, add 1 cup of coconut and mix well. If you want them pink, add some drops of red food colouring. Of course, this is where you can get inventive though. It doesn't have to be chocolate and coconut. You could flavour and colour the divided mixture in any way that you like. If you don't like coconut just leave one half as plain vanilla, or try orange zest or orange juice for jaffa cupcakes. You could use rasberry or strawberry essences or puree, or apple. You could even divide it three ways if you wanted. Which of course makes me want to immediately whip up another batch of cupcakes!

To create the marble effect, place small spoonfuls of the mixtures alternately in each cupcake form, layering them unevenly on top of each other. Only fill the pans up half-way, or three-quarters at the most. If they are smaller and flatter there is more room for frosting and they are so much easier to decorate.

Bake for 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If they have been baked in paper cases of course you can remove them immediately to cool but if you have not used paper you will need to wait for about 10 minutes before removing them from the tin, otherwise they might crumble somewhat as they come out. But not to worry, it is that softness that makes them so good and if a couple break to pieces that is okay, it just means more for the chef to sample!

So lastly, as for frosting, you can of course frost them in anyway that you like. I chose chocolate and sprinkled the top with coconut. I used to have a great recipe for chocolate butter frosting but I must have left it in New Zealand. Not only that but I ran out of butter last night so I had to make a very basic frosting. It was still good, but I think it could have been better. Nevertheless, for those of you that are in need of a frosting recipe I will follow with my own chocolate frosting, it is very simple but tastes pretty good.

Chocolate Frosting

2 cups icing sugar
*2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
70 grams melted dark chocolate
50 grams butter, softened
1/4 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients together. Add the melted chocolate, softened butter and vanilla essence. Beat well.

Add the milk one teaspoon at a time until you have a good consistency - stiff for piping, softer for spreading or more liquid for a glaze effect.

My recipe calls for both cocoa powder and chocolate. This is of course optional. I use both because I generally cook with plain chocolate, about 50% cocoa solids, and for the frosting I find this is not rich enough. If you have darker chocolate, may you will not want more cocoa. If you have no chocolate, increase the cocoa to 1/2 cup. Also, for more of a butter cream double the butter. This made just enough frosting for 18 cupcakes.

So that is it and I hope that somebody out there is inspired to make delicious cupcakes! They made the perfect end to a week of hard work and suffering through an awful cold - in fact it is only now that I really feel better so it must be the cupcakes that finally did it.

On another note, this week also began with foodie goodness, in the terms of getting my first blog follower! Somebody found my chocolate self-saucing pudding and linked to me on her own food blog - looks like the first step towards what will clearly be stardom. Not only that but it turns out June the 26th is chocolate pudding day! How did I never hear of this before?! I must mark it in my diary and do my part to transform and American national tradition into something more international - because chocolate pudding deserves a day of celebration. Or perhaps several days. Would once a week be too much?

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