Top o’ the mornin’ to ye all…..and a Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Help ye’selves to one of my wicked Irish Moss Cupcakes! Wash it down wit a pint of ale and be merry! Today we are all Irish!
What is tat ye all are sayin’? It’s not St. Patrick’s Day today? It’s the 18th already? How can tat be? I started workin’ on tis post so much earlier but……aaaw…ye all caught tis lazy Irish colleen nappin again. ‘Appens more and more these days. And it was all tat ‘orrible Murphy fault anyways I tell ye. He has been hangin’ around here for te better part of tree weeks now – messin’ wit me ‘puter! And messin’ someting bad wit me head too! Well tats my excuse for tat anyway. I am hopin’ tat now he will leave me be and go chat up some other milk maids…… honestly ye’d all think he’d kissed te blarney stone wit all his blabbering! I won’t miss him one little bit I tell ye!
So I’m late, well just a wee bit for St. Patrick’s Day anyway, but in some parts of the world it is STILL the 17th so let me get on with this post quickly so I can at least not hang my head too low in shame. I really have had endless problems with my computer and today was a very bad day! But I seem to have it going so while things are looking up….here goes!
Last year I came across some cupcakes called Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and I loved the sound of the ingredients although I felt that the name was rather offensive, even though there is a recognized alcoholic drink by the same name and many many links to cupcakes made from the same three alcohols used in the cocktail. So, I decided that I was going to bake the family some of these for St. Patrick’s Day this year (leaving the whiskey out of a bit of the ganache for the little boys). But, so as not to offend any readers all over the world who may have been affected in some way by the many acts of terrorism involving that despicable cowardly act, I decided to give my cupcakes a rather delightful name more suited to the day. I asked on facebook for ideas and one Irish friend came up with the name Dublin Moss Cupcakes. I rather liked that and decided to call mine Irish Moss Cupcakes…what do you think?
Now…..strictly speaking, there is absolutely nothing Irish about my cupcakes. My hubby could not find single cans of Guinness at our local bottle store and neither of us are ale drinkers so I decided to use a bottle of local Milk Stout that I had on the shelf in my pantry. Come to think of it now though I know a few leprechauns who would have relieved us of the other 5 cans! We did not have any Jameson Irish Whiskey in this house but we did have a bottle of J&B and of course there was no Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur either. There to save the day however was half a bottle of our delicious South Africa Amarula Cream liqueur in the cupboard So hey, these are a real twist on the original but let me tell you they are delicious! And because we are ALL Irish on St Patrick’s Day these are being passed on to you as my Irish Moss Cupcakes. Tell me that makes sense in an Irish kind of way please!
IRISH MOSS CUPCAKES
(inspired by and adapted from Sugar & Snapshots Blog)
Yield: 22 Cupcakes
Stout Chocolate Cupcakes
250ml Cocoa Powder
5ml Good Quality Instant Coffee Granules
250ml Stout beer or Guinness
625ml Cake or All-Purpose Flour
10ml Baking Powder
2 Extra Large Eggs
250ml Buttermilk or Greek Style Yoghurt (Sour cream could also be used)
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Line two muffin pans with paper cupcake liners
Melt the butter, stout and sifted cocoa powder together in a small saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave on high and whisk until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool while you make the batter
Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together, add the sugar and set aside
In the bowl of your electric mixer beat the eggs and buttermilk together until smooth
Add the vinegar and mix in
Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture with the mixer running on a low speed then turn up to medium until all combined
Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until just incorporated. Don’t over mix at this stage
Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling each one about ¾’s full
Bake for about 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean
Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting
Whiskey Chocolate Ganache
125 ml Cream
120g Dark Chocolate (I used 70% cocoa solids) roughly chopped
15ml butter at room temperature
Heat the cream in the microwave until just below boiling point
Place butter and chocolate in a small mixing bowl
Pour the hot cream over and leave to stand for 2 minutes before whisking together until shiny and smooth
Add the whiskey and whisk in. Set aside until needed, whisking every now and again. As it cools it will thicken in consistency
3 Egg whites
185 ml Vanilla Flavoured Castor Sugar ( I always have this – fill a Consol or Mason Jar with Castor Sugar, split a Vanilla Pod and stick it into the sugar and seal. Refill as needed with sugar)
375g Butter (at room temperature)
125ml Icing (Confectioners) Sugar – sieved
80 ml cream Liqueur (I used Amarula of course)
In the metal bowl of your mixer whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy
Add the sugar and whisk on medium speed until incorporated
Now place your mixer bowl over a smallish saucepan of barely simmering water – the base must not touch the water
Continue whisking with a balloon whisk by hand until the sugar has dissolved into the egg whites and it is starting to look like meringue – test by rubbing a bit of the whites between your fingers and it is ready if no grains are felt. It doesn’t take too long to reach this stage – maybe 5 minutes
Return the bowl to the mixer stand and whisk on high until the mixture has cooled and is almost tripled in volume. It needs to be glossy and at the stiff peak stage
Divide the butter into 4 and add one portion at a time, whisking well to incorporate between each addition – it will thin the frosting down a bit but will build up again to a fluffy consistency
Add the icing sugar and beat in well
Pour in the liqueur and whisk well
I added a bit of green food colouring gel to make it a soft green shade
Fit a piping bag with a star nozzle and fill with the frosting
To decorate the cupcakes:
It seems that most people make a filling of the ganache by removing a scoop of each cupcake and piping in a bit of ganache but I was running late so just spread a thin layer of the cooled thickened ganache onto each cupcake with a spatula, allowed it to stand for 10 minutes and then piped the buttercream on top.
I have to say, this was the most amazing buttercream and I will most definitely use it often!
Enjoy! And I will be back as soon as I can with a delicious exotic mushroom and blue cheese risotto!
Happy week everyone! Almost Easter holidays and my two young hooligans will be invading my space again! Where does the time go?
It is the season for cooking, baking and decorating with pumpkins…Firstly Halloween that has just happened and then the time leading up to Thanksgiving in the USA. So all over blogland recipes are popping up with pureed pumpkin as an ingredient. Halloween is a fairly new event in South Africa and not really big as yet. We, being a Christian family, do not celebrate Halloween at all but with the little grandsons it has been grand to buy some of the Trick or Treat sweeties (or candy as the Americans call it) and spoil them when they come to me for aftercare in the afternoons. When the folk over at ClemenGold asked if I could do something, using their product, for Halloween, I knew straight away that the wonderfully aromatic citrus flavour of ClemenGold would go very well indeed with pumpkin and the spices that pull it all together. The first recipe I chose to use my roasted and pureed pumpkin in were these gorgeous cupcakes. After much debating I decided to just go the easy route with decorating and used some of the aforementioned trick or treat sweeties…….
To get your pumpkin roasted – peel and cut it into wedges then place in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil, dust with cinnamon, a bit of brown sugar and the zest and juice of 1 ClemenGold then roast at 200 degrees Celcius until they are starting to caramelize around the edges and are tender. Cool then puree and set aside until needed. I made enough for this recipe and a delicious pumpkin cheesecake. Keep your eyes peeled for that recipe.
Talking of cupcakes and muffins – I wonder when Sylko Paper Company are going to up the ante and improve their paper liners? I don’t know about you but I am so tired of misshapen, horrible liners that you struggle with to get back into shape, the little corrugations have kind of stretched and lost their groove and, even using a muffin pan to support them, you still end up with odd shaped and uneven cupcakes. By the way, said paper liners do NOT look anything like they do on their website by the time we get to purchase them in the shops. A simple change to their packaging would change that! With the advent of better quality liners and fancy wrappers in SA Sylko had better get with the party I say. I found these awesome liners, when we were away recently, at a little spice wholesaler in Knysna (sorry can’t remember the name of it but it was in a side road between Fruit and Veg City and the Knysna Quays entrance). They are a much better quality paper, they hold their shape beautifully and are packaged in a way that does not let them go limp and out of shape. Big up to those guys. I could travel all the way back there and buy some more!!! After all these years Sylko have finally lost my custom, at least on the cupcake liner range!
PUMPKIN AND CLEMENGOLD CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Makes 18 muffin sized cupcakes
175 g Cake Flour
20g Cocoa Powder
5ml Baking Powder
2,5ml Ground Ginger
5ml Ground Cinnamon
1ml Ground Nutmeg
1ml Ground Cloves
115 g Butter – at room temperature
200 g White Sugar (granulated)
1 ClemenGold – finely grated zest only - feel free to use orange, clementine or mandarin or naartjies ( in SA) if you cannot find ClemenGold
2 XL Free Range Eggs – at room temperature
80grams Roasted Pumpkin – pureed
30ml Buttermilk or Plain Yoghurt
2,5ml Pure Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 180 oC (350oF) Make sure your rack is in the middle of the oven
Line 2 muffin trays with paper cups
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, ground spices, and salt into a bowl
Using a mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Beat in the eggs, zest and vanilla extract
Add the flour mixture and incorporate
Fold in the pumpkin puree and buttermilk
Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter (I use an ice cream scoop for this – perfect size for the paper liners as they need to be 3/4 filled)
Place in the oven, on the middle rack. and bake for about 15 minutes or until firm to the touch
Place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting and decorating
Cream Cheese Frosting:
125g Butter – at room temperature
500g icing sugar – sifted twice to remove any lumps
Powdered Food Coloring of choice (optional) (I used yellow and red to make orange)
2,5ml Vanilla Extract
125g Cream Cheese – at room temperature (Use a good quality firm cream cheese like Philadelphia or the local Lancewood Superior in the rectangular box)
Beat the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy
Beat in vanilla extract and desired coloring (if using) As I didn’t have any orange colour I mixed yellow and red powders together, testing by mixing a tiny bit in a little milk now and again until I was happy with the colour)
Add cream cheese and beat again just until fluffy once more. If you overbeat it at this stage the cream cheese tends to split and your frosting takes on a bit of a grainy texture, nice to taste but not nice to look at!)
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired
Well now, who can resist an open invitation to join a crazy bunch of baking bloggers to submit an entry for a cupcake competition? When food24.com posted about the cupcake competition they are running, the entries started flooding in immediately, delicious little mouthfuls of cake and frosting….they get wilder and more wonderful as the days wear on. It has been interesting to see what creative ideas people come up with. I am a plain jane type of girland was rather hesitant to submit my rendition. But here I am at the last minute, yet again hehe with my little offering for the food24.com cupcake competition.
I love cupcakes and I love traditional flavours. I have had a pretty successful little homebakes business going the past few years and cupcakes have always been popular. I have come a long way from those original cupcakes that I used to bake. Over the years I have perfected my recipe and it honestly is the easiest cake recipe that you can ever hope to find. I have blogged it before, many times. You can ring the changes so easily with it by changing the flavours, either of the cupcake, the frosting, or both!
Recently, when attending the Cape Town Good Food and Wine Show I was introduced to some amazing gourmet soft toffees, wrapped in different candy striped wrappers and created by a family run company called Sweet Temptations. What amazing toffees, and such an exciting range of 17 flavours, ranging from creamy vanilla all the way through to cinnamon swirl and turkish delight…with lots of other delights in between. There is so much you can do with them. I had quite a few (blush) of the flavours in the range and had great plans for baking with them but sadly, they have all mostly met an untimely end thanks to my love of sweet things! I did however rescue one of my favourite flavours and decided to use it in my cupcake recipe. Do make friends with these lovely folk on twitter They are running a competition where one of their followers will win a basket of their toffees when they get to 100 followers.
Anyway, on to my cupcakes…..
I used my trusted recipe yet again, but this time I added the zest of half a ClemenGold to the cupcake together with 2 Tbs of some fantastic NoMU drinking chocolate. If you are lucky enough to live in South Africa the awesome ClemenGold citrus has once again hit the shelves at Woolworths. Do yourselves a favour and go and buy some. I love them. And I love the NoMU drinking chocolate as well so combining these two flavours in my cupcakes worked really very well. I brought the liquorice flavour into play by melting my toffee (sob) with a little bit of cream in the microwave and I whipped it into my buttercream frosting. Pure genius!!
EASY CITRUS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH SALTED LIQUORICE FROSTING
250ml Milk (I use ratio ¾ milk ¼ water)
60ml Coconut Oil (or sunflower oil)
500ml Cake Flour – sifted twice
30ml NoMU Drinking Chocolate
4 Jumbo Free Range Eggs
500ml White Granulated Sugar
10ml Baking Powder
5ml Vanilla Essence (I used the seeds from ½ Vanilla Pod)
5ml Brown Vinegar
Finely grated zest of half a ClemenGold
Makes about 36 muffin sized cupcakes
SALTED LIQUORICE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
500ml Icing Sugar (confectioners sugar)
5ml Good quality Sea Salt Flakes (I use Maldon)
1 x 60g Liquorice Toffee bar – cut into small pieces
25ml Fresh Cream
Tiny drop of Black Gel Food Colouring
Place the toffee and cream into a glass bowl and microwave at short bursts until the toffee is melted and incorporated into the cream. It makes a thick paste. Stir in the salt flakes
Beat the butter until it is very pale and creamy.
Add the sugar (in two lots) beating well after each until the icing is thick and white
Add the liquorice mixture and beat all together.
Add a bit of milk to thin to a piping consistency
Add a tiny drop of Black Gel Food Colouring to get a good greeny black colour but not dark. I use a cocktail stick that I dip into the gel and what was on the tip of the stick was enough to colour the frosting.
Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.
YUM!!! Everyone loved these cupcakes. My most discerning testers are Ty and Jay and they definitely confirmed them as winners!
I will be away for awhile as I have to undergo some surgery but will be back as soon as I am able to. I thank the blogging community for their love and wonderful support! May God bless you all.