Chocolate and Strawberry Battenburg Cake

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As an (almost) Canadian and an avid baker, I was incredibly excited when I heard that Canada was hosting a version of the Great British Bake off. Eagerly I hopped on the website and started reading the application, only to find the eligibility criteria stated that contestants must be “Canadian citizens or permanent residents.” At the time I was only on a work permit (#americanproblems so I did not qualify. Crestfallen, I resolved to watching the show with a mixture of admiration and envy, wishing that I was in that glorious baking tent.

But, if there’s a season 2, you can bet your bonnet I will put my name into the hat as I now am a permanent resident! And what better way to prepare than to attempt the challenges on the show. Cake week’s technical challenge was a Battenburg Cake, which I had never heard of before. So obviously, I decided to recreate my own version in my kitchen.

This is not an easy cake, as you may have guessed. It made a complete ridiculous mess of my kitchen. Gooey marshmallow was everywhere. (They say marshmallow fondant is easier than making the regular fondant… if that’s true, heaven help us). Honestly, I think I should get credit for making my own marshmallow fondant and marzipan, because I’m pretty sure the contestants didn’t have to do that. This cake is legitimately from scratch.

I also didn’t feel like scouring the grocery store to find pistachio paste, and I had strawberry flavouring and jam, so I switched up the flavours for my version. Chocolate and strawberry is a bit more appealing than pistachio and cherry, in my very humble opinion.

I sincerely apologize to my British readers (if they exist?) if changing the flavours of this cake is a disrespectful bastardization of a true Battenburg. But if there’s anything us Americans are good at, it’s taking a perfectly good thing and ruining it, like this horrific combination of donuts and burgers.

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Long instructions:

Alright, so let’s start with the cake. Easy peasy. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Cream together 1 1/3 cup room temperature butter and 1 1/8 cup white sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 5 eggs one by one until combined. Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. (Sorry for the weird quantities, I converted from grams to volume because that’s how I bake).

In a separate bowl combine 1 7/8 cups flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and combine.

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Think KitchenAid would sponsor me for this product placement??

Split your batter evenly into 2 bowls. To one bowl, add 1/8 cup of cocoa powder. To the other bowl, add a couple drops of strawberry flavouring and red food colouring. Mix both well.

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Mmm two delicious flavours, strawberry and chocolate!!! So much better than pistachio and cherry ūüėČ

Prepare your pan by greasing the bottom and sides. I apparently do not own a 9×9 pan because I am a poor student, so I jerry-rigged a 9×13 to do the trick by implementing a false tinfoil wall. I suggest you make life easier and find a 9×9 pan. Take a piece of parchment paper and fold it up in the middle to make a little barrier between the two sides.

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Yep. I did that. And it worked. Surprised even myself.

Then fill one side with the strawberry and other with the chocolate batter.

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And bake! It should take approximately 25-30 minutes.

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After they cool for 5 or so minutes, turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

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Clearly some trimming needs to be done here. You can see all the parchment paper grooves.

And now the fun part – marzipan and fondant! Let’s start with the marzipan. Now I will warn you that the only time I had heard of marzipan before this recipe was the character Marzipan from Homestarrunner.com, so I had absolutely no idea what I was making while I was making it, but it seemed to turn out ok.

Either get some whole almonds and grind them in a food processor, or buy ground almonds. I ground my own. You want 1 3/4 cup of ground almonds chilling in a food processor.

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Stir together 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 tablespoons water in a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and sugar has dissolved.

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Pour this sugar mixture into the food processor with the almonds while it’s running, until it’s one big goopy mess. Add 1 teaspoon almond extract.

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Does this seem right? I honestly had no clue.

Pour the goop onto some plastic wrap, shape it into a log, and let cool at room temperature.

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Not too shabby!

And now the marshmallow fondant. Good luck. Deceptively simple looking because of how few ingredients it requires, but working with melted marshmallows is a level of sticky hell.

Melt 1 bag of mini marshmallows by microwaving for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between.

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Once melted, combine the marshmallow with 3 cups of powdered sugar. I tried to use my¬† hand mixer but it really did not work too well, sticky marshmallow all over my hands, the beaters, my counter…… so I think it might be easier just to get in there with your hands. There are not many pictures of this process as I was a sticky mess.

Knead this mixture until soft and shiny, adding the last cup of sugar bit by bit and adding a little water at a time if it feels dry. Eventually you’ll have a ball of edible model magic (grade school, anyone?). If you want you could knead in some food colouring at this point, but I chose to leave it white. Wrap in plastic wrap until you’re ready to work with it.

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This lump of fondant is probably your sugar quota for the year. Or decade. 

And now… the assembly!!! Where you discover whether your hard work will pay off with a technically inspiring masterpiece, or look like a wonky sad cake that looks like it’s had better days.

Prepare the jam by putting 3/4 cup of strawberry jam in a small saucepan and warming on the stove.

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Then press the jam through a sieve to strain out any lumps or seeds. You should have a bowl of smooth jam.

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Take the cake and stack on top of each other. Trip the edges until you have 2 identically sized rectangles. If you need to, trim the top so it’s level as well. This will create many delicious cake pieces for you to snack on while trying to conquer this challenge.

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My favourite part of baking:  snacking as you go

Then, cut the rectangles in half so you have 4 rectangles.

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Little cake bricks waiting to be assembled!

Coat the inside long edges of two of the opposite coloured rectangles with jam and stick together horizontally. Do the same with the other two. Then, coat the top of two rectangles with jam and place the other two cake rectangles on top, alternating the colour of the rectangles. You should get a checkerboard. Essentially, you want the 4 pieces of cake together with jam lining all the seems to glue them together.

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The jam is the glue, so be generous, unless you want your cake to fall apart. Which you don’t.

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So pretty! Starting to look like a Battenburg

Sprinkle your counter generously with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan into a thin rectangle.

battenburg (38)Make sure it’s 4 times as wide as your cake is wide, as it’ll need to wrap around all 4 sides. Coat the top of the cake with jam and then invert, jam side down, onto the middle of the marzipan. Then, coat both long sides and top with jam and wrap with marzipan, like you would a present. Don’t worry about the checkerboard ends, as you’re trimming them off anyway.

I had a horrible time with this step, as you can see below, because my marizpan was not rolled out big enough. Make sure you roll it out big – you can always trim the excess. Thankfully, you can cover this layer with fondant, so all is not lost.

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Yep. This was really sad… who knows what the judges would say if they saw this sorry mess.

Do the same with the fondant – roll out into a thin rectangle on a counter dusted with icing sugar.

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Brush the marzipan with water, then place in the middle of the fondant and wrap. Trim as needed so that the ends meet perfectly in the middle. Then place seem side down on  your serving dish.

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Nicely recovered, you can’t tell the marzipan is in pieces! Looking good. I never thought I’d say this, but thank goodness for fondant!

Trim off the edges so that you have a nice clean open face cake and let that checkerboard show!

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You may notice the sides are gaping a bit. That’s because I forgot to coat all sides with jam. So learn from this and coat every freaking side with jam.

And lastly, garnish the top. I topped with a dusting of cocoa powder, a strawberry rose, and some strawberry slices, but feel free to be creative!

And voila! A yummy chocolate strawberry Battenburg that is sure to impress your friends and family.

Ingredients:

  • Cake
    • 1 1/3 cup room temperature butter
    • 1 1/8 cup white sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • 1 7/8 cup flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 drops strawberry flavouring
    • red food colouring
    • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • Marzipan
    • 1 3/4 cup ground almonds (you can grind yourself in a food processor)
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 Tablespoons water
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Marshmallow fondant
    • 4 cups icing sugar
    • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • For assembly:
    • 3/4 cup strawberry jam
    • cocoa powder
    • 2-3 strawberries

Short instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Cream together 1 1/3 cup room temperature butter and 1 1/8 cup white sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 5 eggs one by one until combined. Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine 1 7/8 cups flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and combine.

Split your batter evenly into 2 bowls. To one bowl, add 1/8 cup of cocoa powder. To the other bowl, add a couple drops of strawberry flavouring and red food colouring. Mix both well.

Prepare your pan by greasing the bottom and sides. Take a piece of parchment paper and fold it up in the middle to make a little barrier between the two sides.

Then fill one side with the strawberry and other with the chocolate batter.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.

Let the cake cool for 5 or so minutes, turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Marzipan:

Place 1 3/4 cup of ground almonds in a food processor.

Stir together 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 tablespoons water in a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and sugar has dissolved.

Pour this sugar mixture into the food processor with the almonds while it’s running until combined. Add 1 teaspoon almond extract.

Pour the mixture onto some plastic wrap, shape it into a log, and let cool at room temperature.

Marshmallow fondant:

Melt 1 bag of mini marshmallows in the microwave by nuking for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between.

Once melted, combine the marshmallow with 3 cups of powdered sugar.

Knead this mixture until soft and shiny, adding the last cup of sugar bit by bit and adding a little water at a time if it feels dry.¬†Wrap in plastic wrap until you’re ready to work with it.

Assembly:

Prepare the jam by putting 3/4 cup of strawberry jam in a small saucepan and warming on the stove. Then press the jam through a sieve to strain out any lumps or seeds.

Take the cake and stack on top of each other. Trip the edges until you have 2 identically sized rectangles. If you need to, trim the top so it’s level as well.

Then, cut the rectangles in half so you have 4 rectangles.

Coat the inside long edges of two of the opposite coloured rectangles with jam and stick together horizontally. Do the same with the other two. Then, coat the top of two rectangles with jam and place the other two cake rectangles on top, alternating the colour of the rectangles. You should get a checkerboard. Essentially, you want the 4 pieces of cake together with jam lining all the seems to glue them together.

Sprinkle your counter generously with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan into a thin rectangle.

Make sure it’s 4 times as wide as your cake is wide, as it’ll need to wrap around all 4 sides. Coat the top of the cake with jam and then invert, jam side down, onto the middle of the marzipan. Then, coat both long sides and top with jam and wrap with marzipan.

Do the same with the fondant – roll out into a thin rectangle on a counter dusted with icing sugar.

Brush the marzipan with water, then place the cake in the middle of the fondant and wrap with the fondant Trim as needed so that the ends meet perfectly in the middle. Then place seem side down on  your serving dish.

Trim off the edges so that you have a nice clean open face cake.

And lastly, garnish the top. I topped with a dusting of cocoa powder, a strawberry rose, and some strawberry slices, but feel free to be creative!

Recipe adapted from:

http://www.cbc.ca/food/recipes/recipe-battenberg-cake

http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipe/homemade-marzipan/16562/

https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/how-to-make-marshmallow-fondant/

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Blood Red Velvet Cupcakes

Blood Red Velvet Cupcakes: A rich red velvet cupcake, filled with caramel flavoured sweetened condensed milk, topped with white chocolate cream cheese icing, caramel flavoured candy glass, and drizzled with more sweetened condensed milk.

Mood: Did something just make you so angry that you want to stab an inanimate object with a sharp piece of glass? Take your aggression out on this cupcake, stabbing it with candy glass until delicious red goo oozes out. Red to match the rage you feel inside.

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I am an employed human now. I have a job, I go to work, I come home and veg out. But that can get kind of boring, and I like hanging out with people that aren’t on a television show. Also, I love to bake, but I don’t share groceries with anyone in my house. So I don’t bake much at home, because I never feel like finishing a whole batch of cupcakes by myself.

How do I solve these two problems you ask? Why, by invading my friends homes and baking them delicious treats and distracting them from their studies. Ah yes, a delicious distraction. The way to your friends’ hearts is always through their tummies.

I had wanted to make “Blood Red Velvet Cupcakes” for a while now, but hadn’t really had the right occasion to do so. Now was my chance! My friends already know I’m a slightly crazy person, and won’t be weirded out by the fact that I’m stabbing my cupcakes with shards of glass and making them ooze sweet, edible blood. Perfect.

And thus began the creation of one intense cupcake. I realize this cupcake would have been seasonally appropriate in Halloween, but tough cupcakes¬†cookies. I make¬†what I feel like making when I feel like making it. That’s the entire point of this “Eat Your Feelings” recipe series.

Also I feel like I should warn you, these are sweet cupcakes. Not sweet as in awesome, but sweet as in your dentist would cringe if he even so much as looked at one. The sweetened condensed milk with frosting and basically pure sugar glass on top? So if you don’t like super sweet cupcakes, maybe only drizzle the condensed milk on top and don’t fill it. Or add less sugar to the frosting. But if you have a crazy sweet tooth, then go to town!

Instructions: 

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners. My friends had little silicone cupcake molds which were super cool and reusable! First time using them. I liked it.

Sift together 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. In another bowl, beat the 1/4 cup of butter until soft. Then add the 3/4 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat together.

Then, in a glass measuring cup or a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar (or buttermilk if you prefer). Let sit for a few minutes, then add red food colouring. I used “Christmas Red,” which by the way I think is extremely absurd. How can a holiday claim an entire colour? Christmas doesn’t get a monopoly on red. There’s plenty of other things that are red. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Freaking Christmas, thinking everything is about it. Well it’s not. What an egotistical holiday, supposing¬†it can have a whole colour to itself. Christmas.

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Bright pink milk. So appetizing. Reminds me of the time my brother and I put food dye in the milk for April Fools day. We had to drink blue milk for a few days.

Anyway. I just added enough to make this bright pink colour. It doesn’t need to be super red because when added with the brown cocoa powder it’ll make a nice dark red.

Now time to mix it all together. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour (so flour milk flour milk flour).

In another small cup, combine 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and let it fizz. Fold it into the cake batter.

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See, told you it would get darker with the cocoa powder. The lighting isn’t the best but this is a classic red velvet dark red colour.

Divide the batter into your 12 lined muffin cups and bake for 18-23 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of your biggest cupcake comes out clean.

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Let’s put some buns in the oven!

While those cupcakes are baking, it’s time to start on the glass. Prepare a pan by taking wax paper and placing it over a pan, or use a silicone no stick baking matt. Spray it will cooking spray.

Take 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons¬†cup light corn syrup, 1 tablespoon of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of flavouring (I used caramel flavouring, but you can use something else if you wish) and bring to boil in a small saucepan. I made twice that much so it’ll look like I have a lot more candy glass, but it was completely unnecessary.

I also did not realize why you would want light corn syrup and used regular, so my glass had an amber tint. Not the worst thing, but if you want clear glass use light corn syrup.This amount should be plenty. Stir until the sugar has dissolved but then don’t stir; just let bubble for 5-7 minutes. I didn’t let mine boil for quite long enough, so my glass wasn’t as hard as it should have been. You want to let it boil for as long as possible before caramelizing basically.

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Just like making caramel, just don’t let it boil as long and caramelize!

When it’s done, immediately poor the sugar onto the prepared pan. Smooth out with a spatula or spoon, and FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY do not touch the hot sugar. I accidentally did and burned my fingers. Sugar sticks to you so it burns pretty badly. I had a gross blister for a week. Don’t. Touch. The. Sugar.

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Sooo shiny! Looks like real glass almost ūüôā

Let that cool on the counter, and then stick in the fridge.

Next, the blood. Take a can of sweetened condensed milk and dump about 1/2-3/4 into a bowl- I didn’t end up using the whole can so you probably won’t either, and it’ll save food colouring if you don’t colour some unnecessarily. Mix in a teaspoon of flavouring (again, I used caramel. It would make more sense to use something associated with red like cherry, strawberry, or raspberry, but they do not carry that at my local Zehrs. Go figure).

Then comes the tricky part; making it look like blood colour. I kept forgetting what blood looked like, so I would drizzle it on my hand to see if it looked convincing. I ended up doing a bunch of red colouring, with a touch of blue and a bit of brown. But really just a smidge of blue so it doesn’t turn all purple. Mine ended up a bit more purple than I would have liked but it was pretty ok. A good way to start is take a bit of milk and put it in a separate dish, and experiment with colour. Just red and black together would also look great, I just don’t have black food colouring.

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These are the colours I used. Gel food colouring is good to use because it’s so concentrated.

When you get it to look like what you want, then do that to the larger bowl, trying to recreate the proportions of colour you did with the little sample. That way if you screw it up you don’t screw up the whole bowl.

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My bowl of blood. Mwahaha. So gruesome!

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I’m bleeding!!!!

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Ah yes, sorry doctor, I stuck my hand into a blender while it was on. Got cuts all over my fingers.

Anyway. After you’re done playing with the blood (which I had a lot of fun doing), make the icing. Beat together 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup of butter, pinch¬†of salt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat in 4 cups of powdered sugar (or to tasted, depending on how sweet you like your icing. Lastly melt a cup of white chocolate on the stove over medium low heat, and beat into the frosting. I debated making the frosting black because white isn’t exactly an angry colour, but though then there wouldn’t be much contrast to see the blood. If you feel like black rage then by all means colour it black. This cupcake would also look stunning with black cupcake wrappers if you know where to find them. I do not- let me know if you know the secrets to black food colouring and black wrappers.

Our favourite, assembly time! Cut a small cone out the top of each cupcake and fill with the sweetened condensed milk blood.

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So deliciously goopy!

Put the cone back on top, and pipe on the white icing. Then get your glass out of the fridge, peel off the wax paper, and snap off pieces. If you have a bit of a hard time peeling off the wax paper, you can run them under water for a bit and try to scrub the paper off with your fingers.

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Careful! Broken glass- you could cut someone with that.

When you get some shards you like, stick them in the icing. If you’re feeling particularly angry, you can stab them vehemently. With vengeance.

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The cupcakes have just been stabbed! Quick, swab the glass for fingerprints.

Then drizzle the sweetened condensed milk blood over top. And there you go! Blood red velvet cupcakes.

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All done! How fantastically gory.

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Also, if you’re anything like me, your kitchen will look like this when you’re done.

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I may have slightly dyed part of their counter with food dye… oops… thank goodness it’s not a white counter!

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, or 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • red food colouring (I prefer gel)

Candy Glass

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavouring (I used caramel, you can use whatever you want. Cherry, raspberry, or strawberry might work nice with the red theme)

Fake Blood Filling

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • Red, brown, and blue gel food colouring (or red and black food colouring)
  • 1 teaspoon flavouring (probably the same you used for the glass)

Frosting

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips or baking chocolate
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar

Brief Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Sift together 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. In another bowl, beat the 1/4 cup of butter until soft. Then add the 3/4 cup sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat together.

Then, in a glass measuring cup or a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar (or buttermilk if you prefer). Let sit for a few minutes, then add red food colouring.

Add¬†enough to make this bright pink colour. It doesn’t need to be super red because when added with the brown cocoa powder it’ll make a nice dark red.

Alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour (so flour milk flour milk flour).

In another small cup, combine 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and let it fizz. Fold it into the cake batter.

Divide the batter into your 12 lined muffin cups and bake for 18-23 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of your biggest cupcake comes out clean.

While those cupcakes are baking, it’s time to start on the glass. Prepare a pan by taking wax paper and placing it over a pan, or use a silicone no stick baking matt. Spray it will cooking spray.

Take 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons¬†cup light corn syrup, 1 tablespoon of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of flavouring and bring to boil in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved but then don’t stir; just let bubble for 5-7 minutes.

When it’s done, immediately poor the sugar onto the prepared pan. Smooth out with a spatula or spoon. Let that cool on the counter, and then stick in the fridge.

Next, the blood. Take a can of sweetened condensed milk and dump about 1/2-3/4 into a bowl. Mix in a teaspoon of flavouring. Then mix in red, brown, and a tiny bit of blue food colouring to make a dark blood colour.

Make the icing. Beat together 8 oz cream cheese, 1/2 cup of butter, pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat in 4 cups of powdered sugar (or to tasted, depending on how sweet you like your icing. Lastly melt a cup of white chocolate on the stove over medium low heat, and beat into the frosting.

Cut a small cone out the top of each cupcake and fill with the sweetened condensed milk blood. Put the cone back on top, and pipe on the white icing. Then get your glass out of the fridge, peel off the wax paper, and snap off pieces.

When you get some shards you like, stick them in the icing. Then drizzle the sweetened condensed milk blood over top. And there you go! Blood red velvet cupcakes.

Sources:

Sweetly Surprised Cupcakes

Sweetly Surprised Cupcakes: A rich, dark chocolate cupcake filled with colourful M&Ms, topped with refreshing mint icing and chocolate drizzle.

Mood:¬†¬†This cupcake is for the mood when you’re feeling spontaneous, and want to¬†explore¬†the new and unexpected. Tired of the conventional, you’re ready to be pleasantly surprised!

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Cupcakes that look ordinary (and delicious) enough, but little do you know they are not what they seem! Appearing to the naked eye as chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing, as you bite in you realize the frosting is not vanilla, or even white chocolate- it is mint! As you ponder this new flavour in your mouth, M&M’s spill out from the bite mark, for they are filling the inside! Yes, this is the cupcake version… of a Pi√Īata.

I should make these for Cinco de Mayo.

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But no, these cupcakes came about as I was preparing to visit my brother in Michigan for Canadian Thanksgiving. Yes, I do realize they do not celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving in Michigan, but it coincides with Columbus day so that meant that my brother, my parents, and I all had the Monday off and could convene for some family time! How lovely. Well, it just so ¬†happens that Canadian Thanksgiving is shortly after my brother’s birthday, and what better birthday gift than to surprise him with surprise cupcakes!

So, when my brother said he’d be out of the house Saturday night and I’d have to entertain myself, I knew what I had to do. I had to bake him cupcakes while he was out as a surprise! And surprise him I did. With seriously delicious cupcakes.

Instructions: 

Now, I made this a bit differently because I had to mix the ingredients prior to traveling via Greyhound to Michigan. I mixed the wet together, mixed the dry together, and put them in separate baggies, to be assembled in America.

First, mix together 1/4 cup of room temperature butter with 1 cup of white sugar.

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Butter and sugar. The key to everything delicious.

Melt 2 ounces of dark chocolate either in the microwave or on the stove (you can use semisweet if you prefer. Depends on your preference). Then mix in the 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, one at a time until combined. Lastly, add the 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Greek yogurt because I had some. Original recipe calls for sour cream. Use whatever is in your fridge).

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And brown chocolate sludge. Awesome.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 cup cocoa powder. At this point, I put them both into bags.

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Whoever invented ziplock bags is my hero. Seriously. Love this person.

To transport these ingredients to Michigan, I used this handy dandy lunchbox that has built in ice pack walls! Kept the butter hard the entire 10 hour trip. No food spoilage here!

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The awesome lunchbox of awesome. I feel like Packit should be giving me money for this endorsement.

When you are ready to combine the wet and the dry, alternate, adding the dry ingredients to the wet in 3 additions, mixing until just combined. Then mix in the 1/2 cup of water.

Pour the batter into 12 cupcake wells, lined with papers.Bake at 350 for approximately 18 minutes. Take them out, let them cool on wire racks and voila! Deliciousness.

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Baaakkkiiinnnngggg time

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Looking good already.

Now for the deceivingly plain looking icing that is actually minty! So fun. Take 1 stick of room temperature butter and whip it with a mixer until nice and fluffy. Mix in 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream and 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract. Check the consistency- if it’s not stiff enough, add more powdered sugar.

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Look at this mint extract. Is it not the most legit bottle you have ever seen? So classy.

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My batch of icing ready to go!

I then loaded up my icing in an icing bag and threw it in another plastic bag. Wet, dry, and icing, all ready to come into action once I reached my destination.

Now assembly. As per all my filled cupcakes, you must cut a cone out of the middle. Then, cut off the tip of the cone so that you just have a thin slice of cupcake to cover the hole back up. The cut off tips you can just eat, and you will want to because they are hella tasty.

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A hole in a cupcake? Emily you’ve never done that before!! /sarcasm

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Just cut off the tip!

Then you fill the hole with M&Ms! I wish I had found mini M&M’s but I couldn’t find any in the Canadian grocery stores (you sucks Zehrs). So we had to settle with large M&M’s. Which were fine, but for this purpose I think mini would have worked better. If you’re American or can find them in your Canadian grocery store then get mini. Also mint M&M’s would also be fun, and coordinate with the flavour of the icing. How fancy. Put the cap back on and you’re ready to ice!

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I see you hiding in there M&Ms!

Pipe on that icing like with normal cupcakes. Then, melt a bit of chocolate, put it in a plastic bag, cut off the tiniest hole in the tip of the bag, and add some of that chocolate drizzle that everyone loves.

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You think they look good now? Wait for it…

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BOOM! Drizzled.

And you are done! Now go surprise some people with your awesome baking skills and deliciously fun cupcakes ūüôā

Now I know you see these pictures and probably think wow, Emily must be the best baker ever. Although this is probably true, I though I should show you some of my… mistakes. To reassure you that I am human and yes, it’s totally fine if you have a few flops. Everyone does. Just only photograph the pretty ones.

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Someone cut the drizzle hole too big… That’s just… not very pretty.

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And a large glob of chocolate decimated the side of this cupcake. Like a landslide.

There, you see? I am also human. So don’t be afraid to screw up! Close your eyes and the screw ups usually taste just as good!

Ingredients: Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (or whatever kind of chocolate you love)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup room temperature water

Icing

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint extract

Filling

  • 1-1.5 cups M&M’s (preferably mini, though any kind will do. Or heck throw in Skittles if you’re a crazy person)

Drizzle (optional)

  • 1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Short Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together the 1/4 cup butter with 1 cup sugar until it resembles sand. Then, melt 2 ounces of  chocolate and add it in. Add the 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks one at a time, mixing until combined. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt.

In another bown combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt,  1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 cup cocoa powder. Add to the wet ingredients, 1/3 at a time. Lastly add the 1/2 cup of room temperature water and combine.

Bake for approximately 18 minutes. Remove from muffin wells and let cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, whip up 1 cup of butter with a beater. Mix in 3 cups of powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Mix well.

Cut a cone in the middle of each cupcake (see photos for instructions). Cut off the tip of the cone so that you have a think cap to place overtop the hole. Fill the hole with M&M’s. Place the lid on. Ice the cupcakes with the mint icing. Melt 1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips and put in a ziplock bag. Cut a tiny, tiny hole in the corner of the bag and drizzle on top of your cupcakes.

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