Today I really feel like quitting my PhD and just baking all day. Unfortunately it has gotten to the point where I've come so far that I really might as well finish. Yet at the same time, what is the point, when all I want to do is bake cakes? These cupcakes were made for a friend's birthday - I doubled the recipe and then tried to stretch it to make 30 instead of 24 cupcakes. Not a great idea, some of those cupcakes were more frosting then cake. Luckily the frosting was really good. I wanted to make my cupcakes glitter, like the ones that you see in cafe's these days, but the cake decorating shop that is here in Galway did not have proper cake glitter. I ended up with a shimmery gold dust that was not at all sprinkle-able. I have to find some real cake glitter for the next time. I already have a great idea for the next batch of cupcakes so now I just need somebody to have a birthday.
I also just found a little Etsy shop called Fakery Bakery that I absolutely have to buy stuff from when I'm not broke. It's cake shaped jewellery! Two of my favourite things combined! I think I will be asking for this for my next birthday:
But anyway, on to the recipe. The cupcakes are the same basic cupcake that I always make, but I will repeat the recipe anyway, to save anybody having to hunt through my extensive index that I really have to re-design at some point. If you want these cupcakes to have more of an orange kick, replace the vanilla essence with orange juice and add a teaspoon of orange zest.
125 grams butter (soft/room temperature)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon custard powder
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk
So cupcakes are actually very easy to make, and fast too. First you need to line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper liners, and turn the oven on to 180 degrees celsius.
Next, in a large bowl, beat together the butter and caster sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add the vanilla essence.
Sift in the cocoa powder, custard powder, flour and baking powder. Beat the mixture slowly (so that the flour doesn't fly out everywhere). When all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, add the milk and beat again.
Spoon the mixture into the lined muffin tin so that each paper liner is about 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, then take them from the oven and let them cool before frosting them.
Orange Chocolate Frosting
150 grams butter
1 cup cocoa powder
1 packet orange jelly (jell-o)
2-3 cups icing sugar
For this frosting I decided to use jelly for the flavouring mainly because here in Galway I cannot get orange flavoured instant pudding. The jelly here is not sold as a crystalline powder like it is back home, but instead it comes in concentrated jelly cubes, that you are supposed to melt in boiling water. For the frosting I simply put one packet of orange jelly in the microwave and melted it into a liquid. If you have jelly crystals, you could either dissolve them in a couple of tablespoons of boiling water or put them into the frosting as they are (in which case you will have slightly crunchy frosting). If you can get your hands on orange flavoured instant pudding, use that instead.
So now that I have explained the jelly issue, on to the frosting itself, which is really the point of this blog post. This frosting is prepared like all other frosting - beat the butter together with the cocoa and flavouring (jelly or pudding in this case). Then slowly sift in the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until you have the right consistency. Taste the frosting, and if you want a stronger orange flavour, try adding some orange juice or orange zest (or both, but don't add too much liquid or you will ruin the consistency of the frosting. Then pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes with your favourite tip.